Crepey skin can appear on your eyes, neck, inner thighs, upper arms, and hands – basically anywhere where the skin is thin.
Though there are some effective albeit expensive treatments (such as lasers and fillers), lots of people tend to migrate towards home remedies that improve the appearance of crepey skin such as massaging, exfoliating, eating healthy, and using natural oils.
One such natural remedy is applying coconut oil for crepey skin. Coconut oil is a cult favorite, often touted to be the best among moisturizing oils for the body.
However, using coconut oil to treat crepey skin may not fix the whole problem. Here is what you need to know.
What Is Crepey Skin?
Crepey skin means when the skin becomes thin and finely wrinkled, resembling crepe paper1.
It can appear anywhere on the body, from under-eyes to neck. It looks aesthetically similar to crepe paper, due to epidermal thinning and loss of collagen2. Since the affected area is fragile, it is more prone to itching, tearing, and bleeding.
The key difference between crepey skin and wrinkled skin is that crepey skin usually appears in larger areas of the body, as compared to wrinkles3.
Crepey skin is caused by aging, sun damage, environmental factors, etc. and the best way to prevent it is by keeping your skin happy (good moisturizer, sun protection, a healthy lifestyle) and using skincare products that slow the aging process: retinol, hyaluronic acid vitamin C, vitamin E, etc.
What Causes Crepey Skin?
Here are the most common causes of crepey skin4:
- UV radiation
This is the leading cause of crepey skin, but also being the most preventable one to avoid premature skin damage. UV radiations from the sun and tanning beds can bring about premature aging as it diminishes skin elasticity with prolonged exposure.
It hinders the skin’s healing capabilities and as a result, when the skin stretches out, it stays loose and lax5.
The two proteins collagen and elastin help keep the skin plump and firm. With aging, there is a depletion of these, which leads to sagging and the appearance of wrinkled skin.
Aging skin has increased sensitivity to UV damage6.
- Environmental factors
Certain environmental aspects such as pollution, heat, and sun exposure lead to the breakdown of elastin, which is closely linked to crepey skin.
The reduced skin elasticity and cell wear & tear decline the skin health, ultimately leading to crepey skin.
We all know how important hydration is for our skin. When your skin is not moisturized from within, it leads to dullness, wrinkles, and dry skin, which weakens the skin’s protective barrier.
Stress signals the release of the stress hormone called cortisol. High levels of cortisol hinder the repair of skin damage, leading to crepey skin.
- Smoking and alcohol consumption
Tobacco and alcohol both are detrimental to our health, including our skin. Alcohol leads to decreased elasticity and dehydration, whereas smoking produces the enzyme responsible for collagen depletion.
With reduced collagen and elastin, the skin becomes crepey and fragile.
- Poor diet and sleeping habits
An unbalanced diet and poor sleep can contribute to crepey skin in the long run.
With the necessary rest and nutrients missing from your diet, your body has a lesser chance of fighting free radical damage and restoring skin health.
- Unhealthy weight loss
Drastic weight loss (fad diets) can often leave you with loose and crepey skin.
Poor nutrition reduces the skin’s ability to spring back, keeping the skin laxer and stretched out after weight fluctuations.
- Hormonal changes
Various hormonal changes e.g. less estrogen can lead to paper-thin wrinkled skin due to a decrease in collagen production.
Does Coconut Oil Reduce Crepey Skin?
Now you might be wondering: “Is coconut oil good for crepey skin?”.
Charged with the goodness of essential fatty acids and vitamin E (a powerful antioxidant), coconut oil is considered one of the best moisturizing oils to keep the skin hydrated.
Coconut oil comes from the coconut palm tree fruit and contains 80-90% saturated fatty acids7.
These fatty acids give coconut oil its emollient properties, anti-aging properties, and anti-inflammatory properties, namely lauric acid, caprylic acid, capric acid, oleic acid, myristic acid, palmitic acid, linoleic acid, stearic acid8.
It also contains Vitamin E, which is a potent antioxidant that fights free radical damage.
Some of the benefits of coconut oil include:
- Excellent moisturizer of skin cells(due to emollient properties)
- Boosts skin barrier
- Fights against micro-organisms (lauric acid)
- Makes skin smooth and reduces the appearance of wrinkles
- Improved skin elasticity and health
- Radiant complexion
Since it is a fantastic moisturizer, coconut oil helps in reducing wrinkles, slowing the aging process, and making the skin smooth.
Therefore, it does work to reduce the appearance of crepey skin.
However, it is not some magical solution to entirely treat crepey skin, especially for more advanced conditions and sagging skin, which require OTC products (retinol) and other treatments.
Does Coconut Oil Tighten Skin?
Since it promotes the skin’s overall health, coconut oil can help prevent sagging and signs of aging.
According to a study9, it improves the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, which in a way, tightens the skin, while smoothening it.
Does Coconut Oil Rebuild Collagen?
Though there are many benefits of coconut oil, many dermatologists believe that it does not play a major role in collagen production.
Coconut oil, whether simple or virgin coconut oil, is quite comedogenic (4 out of 5, with 5 being the highest) and can clog pores. Since it cannot penetrate into deeper layers, applying coconut oil cannot possibly boost collagen production, especially if used alone10.
If you use coconut oil for crepey skin or other skin issues, it smoothens the appearance of wrinkles and moisturizes the skin, but does little to actually improve collagen production.
How To Use Coconut Oil To Cure Crepey Skin?
Here is how you can incorporate coconut oil for crepey skin in your skincare routine. For best results, be consistent with regular use, and include also other (more effective) products for loose crepey skin.
- Use directly
Cleanse and exfoliate. Apply virgin coconut oil on your skin and massage until fully absorbed. Once done, dab away excess oil.
- Use in other products
If you are not too keen on using coconut oil, you can opt for coconut oil-containing skincare products that address crepey skin (lotions, creams, etc.)11.
- Face mask
Use coconut oil as a face mask and enjoy a radiant complexion with other benefits.
- Remember about sunscreen
To protect your skin from sun damage, use a broad-spectrum sunscreen in your morning skincare routine.
Risks Of Using Coconut Oil For Crepey Skin
Despite many skin benefits of coconut oil, here are some risks of using it for crepey skin12:
- Not suitable for all skin types
Coconut oil may be great for dry skin, but it can end up irritating sensitive, blemish-prone, and reactive skin.
- No-go for acne-prone, oily skin type
Coconut oil might not be the best choice for individuals with acne-prone skin.
- Clogged pores
Since coconut oil is highly comedogenic i.e. it has the ability to clog pores, it can lead to blackheads, whiteheads, and zits. Despite virgin coconut oil having a lower molecular weight, it can trap microbes and do more good than harm.
- Ask your dermatologist
Always consult a dermatologist before using coconut oil. Many dermatologists suggest using coconut oil as a body moisturizer only.
- Coconut oil – not for overnight use
Never leave coconut oil on your face overnight.
What Is The Best Oil For Crepey Skin?
These are some of the best oils for crepey skin:
- Jojoba oil
Studies have shown improved collagen production with regular use of this lightweight oil. No wonder it is used in moisturizers and creams!
- Essential oils
Neroli is ranked one of the best essential oils for tightening crepey skin. Always use essential oils in noncomedogenic carrier oils like grapeseed or almond oil, after performing a patch test first.
- Argan oil
It is enriched with vitamin E and essential fatty acids that restore the skin cells and promote repair.
- Sweet almond oil
Almond oil nourishes the skin and smooths sagging skin and wrinkles.
- Rosehip oil
This anti-oxidant-rich oil is chock-full of polyunsaturated fatty acids that help reduce wrinkles and boost cell repair, making it great for mature skin.
- Grapeseed oil
It is rich in vitamin E and prevents acne breakouts while boosting collagen production. Hence it is a good choice for crepey skin.
How Can I Tighten My Crepey Skin Naturally?
With a massive shift toward natural cures, let’s explore how to tighten crepey skin naturally:
- Exfoliation (DIY scrubs)
- Healthy lifestyle (balanced diet, good sleeping habits, healthy weight loss, no smoking or alcohol consumption)
- Exercising regularly
- Using natural oil (like jojoba oil) or aloe vera.
Most Effective Treatments For Crepey Skin
Although I’m a fan of natural remedies, crepey skin is one of those conditions that often require special treatment.
Here are the solutions for crepey skin that give best results14:
- OTC skincare products: Vitamin C, Retinol, AHA, BHA (salicylic acid), peptides, ceramides etc.
- Prescription: Tretinoin
- Laser, ultarsound and radiofrequency
- Fillers (hyaluronic acid, calcium hydroxyapatite)
- Plastic surgery (facelift, blepharoplasty, neck lift)
The purpose of this article is informative and entertaining. It’s not a substitute for medical consultation or medical care. The author of this article does not accept any responsibility for any liability, loss or risk, personal or otherwise, incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, from any information or advice contained here. Safety should be your priority.