A Holistic Plastic Surgeon Recommends These 3 Treatments For Crepey Skin
Anthony Youn, M.D., may be a board-certified plastic surgeon, but his goal is to ultimately keep patients out of the operating room. That’s not to say he outright refuses to ever perform surgery—he just prefers to exhaust all lifestyle interventions before recommending someone go under the knife (that’s why he adds “holistic” to his plastic surgeon title). Long-term skin longevity habits will always trump quick fixes, he believes, and we would certainly agree with that modus operandi.
So when it comes to treating crepey skin, Youn has a few tips to consider before resorting to more invasive methods. Find his must-have advice ahead.
Take a collagen supplement
That’s why Youn is quick to sing the praises of collagen supplements for skin health: “Studies show that taking a daily hydrolyzed collagen supplement can thicken the collagen in your skin,1” he notes in a recent TikTok video. They do so by promoting the body's natural production of collagen2 and other molecules that make up the skin, like elastin and fibrillin.
Not to mention, collagen supplements have been shown to support your skin's hydration levels with regular use; one double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial even found that participants' moisture levels in the skin were seven times higher3 than those who did not take collagen supplements. Why do we bring this up? Well, lack of moisture only exacerbates a crepey skin appearance, which is why experts advise prioritizing internal and external hydration.
Now, Youn’s hydrolyzed distinction is important, as hydrolyzed collagen peptides are absorbed more easily4 by your bloodstream and body than normal sized collagen molecules. Make sure you choose the right formula for your skin goals—we did the legwork for you with this curated list of collagen powders.
“Retinol or prescription-strength Tretinoin has been shown to thicken the dermis, or the deeper layer of the skin,” says Youn. Specifically, retinol can increase collagen production in the skin5, thereby reducing the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and crepiness. It does this by accelerating your skin's natural turnover cycle, welcoming more youthful, healthy skin cells that can better produce collagen. (Here, you can find our all-time favorite retinol serums.)
Of course, retinol isn’t for everyone, and it can cause irritation on more sensitive areas like the neck and chest. In that case, “You can also try applying bakuchiol and hyaluronic acid serums or creams to your skin,” Youn suggests. “Bakuchiol works similarly to retinol to thicken the skin, and hyaluronic acid powerfully hydrates the skin and reduces crepiness.”
Studies show bakuchiol has similar benefits to retinol without the negative side effects6, making it a worthy alternative. Hyaluronic acid, the beloved humectant, ushers water into the top layer of your skin—and again, moisture is crucial for combating crepiness. Just make sure you seal everything in with a high-quality face cream or body lotion.
Opt for noninvasive treatments
If you have the means, Youn recommends considering in-office treatments like Morheus8 or fractional lasers. The former procedure involves microneedling, where a device inserts tiny sterilized needles into the skin to encourage healing and spark collagen production, along with radiofrequency to speed up healing and further stimulate collagen; the latter involves removing upper layers of your skin with special lasers and replacing it with healthy tissue.
Both, as you can imagine, require some level of pain tolerance and downtime. But if you’ve tried the above methods and still find your crepey skin persists, it can’t hurt to assess your professional-grade options. Of course, you should make sure to seek out a professional you trust and opt for a consultation before diving right into the treatment.
“If you do these things consistently, you should see your crepey skin improve within just a few months,” Youn declares. Ultimately, everyone’s skin may respond differently to various treatments, so keep an eye on what works best for your complexion. Here, you can find even more targeted tips for crepey, fragile skin, including the best products to splurge on.
Jamie Schneider is the Beauty Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and more. In her role at mbg, she reports on everything from the top beauty industry trends, to the gut-skin connection and the microbiome, to the latest expert makeup hacks. She currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.