Is there any way to get rid of crepey arms? Ask The Kit

Is there any way to get rid of crepey arms? Ask The Kit

Dream Cheeky will help you know How To Fix Crepey Skin On Upper Arms 2022: Best Guide

Video How To Fix Crepey Skin On Upper Arms

“Can you do please a piece on crepey arms for older women? Is there anything I can do about it?” — BB, from Toronto

Arms in general are such a touchy subject for most women, BB. Unless you have the smokin’ guns of Michelle Obama, most of us can find some kind of fault with our arms. How old are we when we start to hide them from sight with sleeves and sweaters, even in the steamiest part of summer? Maybe you are convinced yours are too unshapely, flabby or flappy. Maybe that crepey grandma skin is creeping up on you.

Let me say right off the top that I really believe you look great the way you are, that everyone does in fact. None of us is the sum of our imagined flaws. But knowledge is power, and we are here to give you the lay of the land and fill you in on what the options are — what the upsides and downsides are, and what it all costs — in the brave new world of skin care, where new techniques, technology and treatments appear all the time.

BB, you are not alone in lamenting your skin laxity. I reached out to Toronto superstar plastic surgeon Dr. Tom Bell (once named one of the world’s best by W Magazine), the medical director at SpaMedica Plastic Surgery on Avenue Road, to get the lowdown on the latest surgical and non-surgical options for crepey arms. He says it is a “very, very common” concern.

“The skin throughout the body is very different. The skin on the face, neck, eyelids, arms, back and legs would all look different on the same person,” he says, adding that “sun is a big culprit” in laxity. “Non-sun-exposed areas tend to do better. But over time, we lose elasticity everywhere; collagen breaks down and the strength of the skin is not what it was.”

Thanks for that reality check, doc. Facial skin, he says, can do better, which is why sometimes women look younger in their face than they do on their arms (or hands, an age giveaway we see on the well-preserved faces and bodies of some celebs). “Throw hormonal changes into the mix, inherited factors, sun exposure and external environment, overall health,” says Bell, and there are a lot of things at play in why some people have more issues with crepey skin than others as they age. Weight loss is a big one: “When you lose weight,” he says, “you lose tone. It is like a balloon, when you let out the air: when you lose weight, the skin never snaps back completely.”

One of the “holy grails of plastic surgery,” he says, “is how to tighten skin without removing it.” He has another graphic-but-helpful analogy for what happens to skin over time. “Skin is like an elastic band. When you are younger, you stretch it out and it bounces back. When you are older, after you let go of the stretch, the loop loses tone, like it has been stretched around a stack of magazines for a number of years.”

OK, we get the effects of time and gravity: so what can be done? The good news is that over the past 15 years or so, there have been some serious innovations in the area of body skin tightening. The less good news is that it works most dramatically on people who are fit and have only a modest amount of laxity (a.k.a. crepeyness). You will get some improvement at any age, he says, but you have to adjust your expectations accordingly.

First there is BodyTite (from about $3,500 per treatment of both arms, sometimes done in a series, as prescribed after consultation with a plastic surgeon). This is where a surgeon uses a tiny liposuction cannula that heats up under the surface of the skin with directional radio frequency. “It is kind of like Saran Wrap,” says Bell. “You heat up the skin” — carefully, with calibrated temperature controls — “and it tightens up.”

Then there is Morpheus, which is a microneedling process and the same price range as BodyTite, also sometimes offered in a series of treatments. “Think of it like aerating a lawn,” says Bell. “A radio-frequency current comes through the microneedles at different levels of penetration and shrinks the skin between the needles.”

Both of these techniques with new technology will yield about 30 to 40 per cent improvement, says Bell. Both of them have little “downtime” or pain, though some numbing is used and laughing gas can be used for BodyTite. The latter can also be done as part of a larger surgical procedure.

For more advanced crepeyness, the big gun option is surgical: arm surgery in which skin is permanently removed to tighten the overall appearance of the rest of the skin is called brachioplasty (priced from about $4,000 to $10,000 by surgeons across the country) and is increasingly popular. Unfortunately, this will leave a scar of varying lengths, depending on the individual situation, but it can either be tucked mostly into an armpit, in the best-case scenario, or running the length of the arm, usually on the inside toward the back. (By combining BodyTite and Morpheus with a surgical armlift a shorter scar located in the armpit is often possible.) A long scar is often what stops people from pursuing the surgical option, though it is plenty popular (and is a true life-changer for people who have lost a lot of weight, especially through things such as gastric bypass surgery). “The bigger the problem,” says Bell of cases of extreme excess skin, “the less the scar is of concern to the patient.” Brachioplasty typically takes about an hour and a half under anesthetic.

If these more extreme (and pricey) measures aren’t for you, Bell says that topical solutions can make a small but appreciable difference. SpaMedica Plastic Surgery offers a customizable skin program with medical grade active ingredients available without a prescription (though there is a consult for customization). Called Universkin, the serum starts at $199, and can be used on the face and targeted areas of the body. “Note that more aggressive retinols are less tolerated on the arms than the face,” says Bell, reminding us as above about how the skin is thicker on our faces. “On arms it could cause a rash.”

As for over-the-counter options? No one can — or should — promise to make crepey skin disappear with OTC products. But keeping hydrated, staying firmly and fiercely protected from the sun, these things will make you feel better and prevent further damage. Hydrated skin will always look more glowing, healthy and appealing.

Shop the advice

Short of high-tech interventions and/or surgery, skin tightening for crepey arms is a tough problem to solve. But dependable hydrating products will keep your skin looking and feeling its best and brightest. Never underestimate the transformative power of well-cared-for skin to boost feelings of body positivity.

StriVectin Crepe Control Tightening Body Cream, $68,

Featuring turmeric root extract said to even out skin tone and shea, murumuru and capuacu butters for hydration. Free of parabens.

SkinCeuticals Body Tightening Concentrate, $80,

SkinCeuticals claims hydrolyzed rice protein helps skin feel firmer, reinflating and supporting skin structure for the appearance of smoother, tighter skin. Good for upper arms, abdomen, buttocks, thighs and knees! Paraben- and fragrance-free.

Derma-E Crepey Skin Repair, $29,

This cream with a great name says it helps improve the appearance of damaged skin and strengthens the skin barrier to protect it from future damage.

Ren Clean Skincare AHA Smart Renewal Body Serum, $55,

A natural exfoliant (lactic acid) to hydrate and support the natural lipid barrier of the outer skin.

Lancome Nutrix Royal Body Intense Nourishing and Restoring Body Butter, $57,

Rich, thick, melts right into your skin. A real pleasure to use.

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