Crepey skin, or thin skin, is one of the telltale signs of ageing, and also one of the most frustrating. Thin skin can be easily torn and not so easy to repair, but there are ways to make your skin thicker.
Age, chronic sun damage and even excessive movement can contribute to thinning. Crepey skin tends to appear in older, fair-skinned people who smoke or have dry skin. This is because fair skinned people have the most sun damage and collagen breakdown, which thins skin. But even people without fair skin can develop the creping.
To understand skin ageing, you need to know the three layers of skin:
1. The epidermis — the layer we can see and feel
2. The dermis — the thicker second layer underneath the epidermis that contains hair follicles, sweat glands and nerves
3. The subcutaneous tissue — the fatty layer that provides cushioning and protection
There is a membrane between the epidermis and dermis which both separates and attaches the epidermis and the dermis to provide structural support and allow for the exchange of fluid and cells between the skin layers.
The epidermis and dermis fit together like a puzzle with the membrane between to prevent the dermis from sliding back and forth, but as we enter our 60s, these pieces flatten and can slide much easier, causing the epidermis to detach from the dermis, leading to tearing of the skin – especially if it’s crepey.
The best thing you can do is try to be aware of yourself and surroundings, as well as wearing long sleeves and pants where possible.
Sometimes no matter what you do, you can still have tearing of the skin. So next time you or your friend/partner hurts themselves, these are the three steps to follow:
There are many products that that can help alleviate the discomfort of skin tears while protecting the area to allow healing. It is also important to look at your dressing choices and choose products that allow you to avoid adhesives, decrease dressing changes and maintain an optimally moist wound healing environment.