Photo of younger skin gradually aging

Crepey Skin. Who, What, Where, When & How?


What is crepey skin? Is it wrinkles? Thinning skin? A combination?

Crepiness is a term used to describe the changes in skin noted with aging. Skin becomes thinner, more fragile, and wrinkles more easily. We can see this first occurring on the backs of hands, décolleté, and around the eyes. What causes crepey skin – sun damage? Aging? Dr. Kally Papantoniou is a NYC board certified dermatologist. She explains that, “Crepey skin occurs with age and the process is accelerated by photo-aging (frequent sun exposure without protection) which leads to the break down of collagen and elastin fibers, causing skin to lose its elasticity and become thinner.” For those of us who already dabble in Botox, filler, and facials, what can be done about this additional “evil?”

Prevention for crepey skin.

Dr. Papantoniou says that, “The most important way to prevent creepiness is to protect skin from sun exposure, the UVA and UVB rays are the leading cause for crepey skin, thus daily photo-protection is key in preventing creepiness.”

Which over-the-counter products and solutions does Dr. Papantoniou  recommend to specifically treat crepey skin?

For face – SkinCeuticals A.G.E. interrupter

For eyes – For crepiness around eyes, Revision makes a cream – DEJ repair, that is for the delicate area around the eyes to address crepiness.

For neck – Revision Nectifirm

For chest – SkinCeuticals Neck, Chest & Hand Repair

For arms – SkinCeuticals Body Tightening Concentrate

For legs – Excipial 10% lotion, or Amlactin


What is the ideal way to apply products?

For best results it is recommended that you make sure to cleanse the affected area prior to applying creams to treat skin. Applying the creams twice daily will provide the best results.

What can you expect from a crepey skin cream? Temporary or long-term?

Depending on the types of creams being used, you can expect in the short –term, reduction of the appearance of crepey skin, and the long-term benefits from keeping skin hydrated and applying certain ingredients which can help to heal and repair skin and may induce new growth.

What ingredients make these products work?

Dr. Papantoniou explains that, “Creams often will contain proteins called peptides such as Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5 which act on the cellular level to help prevent the degradation of collagen, and can help promote synthesis. Hyaluronic acid will help plump and hydrate skin which improves the immediate appearance of crepey skin. The addition of antioxidants such as Vitamin C, E have the effect of reducing oxidative stress and damage to skin and can stimulate new collagen growth. Certain plant extracts can also be found as ingredients in tightening creams for their natural properties. Using a retinol containing product can also have great effect on rebuilding collagen and rejuvenating skin.”

Which crepey skin products are gimmicky/ don’t work? What should we watch out for?

Watch out for creams that don’t contain any active ingredients, and are essentially just moisturizers.

Is there any evidence that higher-priced products are better?

Dr. Papantoniou says that, “I would not base the effectiveness on the price tag of a product. Research instead what ingredients it contains and read reviews, this can help guide your selection.”

Are all OTC products limited in what they can achieve?

OTC products can    actually be very helpful in this instance, the only prescription medication that will perform better is retinoic acid, but retinol can still be very effective is used regularly.

What are Dr. Papantoniou’s in-office treatments for crepey skin? 

Her favorite treatments for crepey skin are the Thermismooth 250, which feels like a hot stone massage, it can be used under the eyes, neck area, and almost anywhere on the body. Thermismooth 250 works by stimulating skin to produce collagen and rejuvenate. It tightens and can even help the appearance of cellulite. The Ulthera is also a powerful energy based machine, using ultrasound energy to stimulate tightening and new collagen as well, See photo above. “Ulthera is great for the face, neck and chest area especially. For even more of a lift there is the ThermiTight, which is a minimally invasive procedure in which radiofrequency energy is placed under the surface of the skin, and stimulates skin remodeling with results that are very impressive,” says Dr. Papantoniou.

Dr. Kally Papantoniou

Dr. Kally Papantoniou is a Cosmetic Dermatologist, Board Certified by the American Board of Dermatology. She specializes in Injectables, Lasers, Body Contouring, Surgical and Medical Dermatology. Dr. Papantoniou is also a clinical professor at Mount Sinai Health Center in New York City. She applies expert techniques and the newest technologies to treat her patients. Dr. Papantoniou focuses on providing her patients with the highest level of care, with special interests in natural and healthy alternatives to treatments and disease prevention. Connect with Dr. Papantoniou via twitter @DrPapantoniou or her website

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