Thinning Skin

If you notice your skin is thinning and generally becoming fragile, one or more treatments from our range could make a real difference. As a dermatologist-led clinic, we at Dermal Health combine expertise, the latest technology, and a range of treatment options to give you the best chance of improving your skin’s condition and addressing the causes of thin skin. Our goal is to help you maintain healthy skin and reduce the visible signs of ageing.

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Thinning Skin

If you notice your skin is thinning and generally becoming fragile, one or more treatments from our range could make a real difference.

 

As a dermatologist-led clinic, we at Dermal Health combine expertise, the latest technology, and a range of treatment options to give you the best chance of improving your skin’s condition and addressing the causes of thin skin.

Our goal is to help you maintain healthy skin and reduce the visible signs of ageing.

Recognising the Signs and Symptoms of Thin Skin

As your skin thins, which is a common skin change in older adults, several changes may become apparent. These signs often indicate that your skin is becoming less able to repair itself. It becomes more important to know about thin skin and its characteristics. You may notice:

Increased transparency

  • Your skin may appear more translucent, especially the skin on the eyelids and face.
  • Blood vessels become more visible, especially on your face, hands, and feet.
  • You might see a network of bluish or purplish veins under the surface.

    This transparency is often a sign of significant skin thinning and volume loss

    While it may not be possible to reverse thinning skin completely, there are ways to manage and improve its appearance.

Easy bruising

You may develop bruises from minor bumps or pressure, as thin skin is more fragile.
Bruises might appear larger or more frequent than before. These bruises often take longer to heal, as your body produces less collagen and is less able to repair itself.
This type of skin damage is common in those who develop thin skin.
Keeping the skin protected and using cosmetic products designed for fragile skin can help minimise bruising.

Slower wound healing

Cuts, scrapes, or other minor injuries may take more time to close and heal.
You might notice that bandages or plasters don’t adhere as well to your skin.
Your skin may become more prone to tearing and possibly breaks easily.


This is because thin skin is less able to repair itself, and the body produces less collagen, a building block of skin.
Topical retinoids may help thicken skin and improve its ability to heal.
A vital step is to protect your skin from damage to prevent further thinning and promote healing.

More pronounced fine lines and wrinkles

Existing wrinkles may appear deeper, as your skin becomes thinner.
New fine lines might develop, especially around your eyes and mouth.
Your skin might look less smooth and plump overall, due to volume loss.

Reduced Skin Elasticity

Your skin might not bounce back as quickly when pinched or stretched, showing the skin’s elasticity and suppleness have been affected.
You may experience more sagging, particularly around your jawline, neck, and upper arms.
Your skin can feel looser or less firm to the touch.
This occurs because your body produces less collagen and elastin, which are essential to keep your skin firm and elastic.
It’s possible to slow this process with proper skin care and treatments that support skin health.

Dryness and Itching

Your skin might feel drier or rougher than usual, as it becomes less able to retain moisture.
You may experience more frequent itching, especially on your arms and legs.

To address this, it’s important to moisturise regularly and keep your skin hydrated.
Using a moisturising cream suited to your skin type can help alleviate these symptoms.

Increased Sensitivity

Your skin may react more to skincare products or environmental factors.
You might find that certain fabrics or materials irritate your skin more easily.
This increased sensitivity can go hand in hand with thin skin and may require adjustments to your skincare routine.
It’s important to discuss the best products for your specific needs with a dermatologist.

These signs often appear gradually and may be more noticeable in areas frequently exposed to the sun, such as your face, neck, hands, and forearms. Thin skin is a common concern for older adults, and while it may not be possible to reverse completely, there are both home treatments and in-clinic treatments available to strengthen your skin and improve its appearance. Protecting thin skin from further damage is important so using broad-spectrum sunscreen on your face and body is a must.

Meet your Practitioner, Úna Jefford

Our medical director, Úna has an extensive medical knowledge combined with an ongoing curiosity to learn about the latest trends. Úna is known for her warm and personal approach. Dermal Health is quickly becoming London’s number-one aesthetic clinic.

Una Jefford

The Science of Thinning Skin

Thinning skin is one of those complex biological processes that occurs naturally, and progresses with age. It happens when the epidermis (outer layer of skin) reduces in thickness, often due to decreased collagen and elastin production. This condition typically affects areas like the face, hands, and arms. Just to be clear about the terminology used in dermatology, the words crepey skin relate to thin skin that has an appearance like tissue paper. 

Understanding the science behind this phenomenon is helpful to us, and you the patient, for effective treatment and prevention. By knowing the causes of thin skin, we can develop strategies to support skin health, increase skin cell turnover, and help you maintain healthier skin cells.

Skin Structure and Function

To get an idea of what is happening, we must first understand skin structure. Our skin consists of three main layers:

 

  • Epidermis: The outermost layer, providing a protective barrier and containing dead skin cells that are constantly shed.
  • Dermis: The middle layer, containing collagen and elastin fibres, which are essential for keeping your skin firm and elastic.
  • Hypodermis: The deepest layer, composed mainly of fat cells.

The Ageing Process

As we age, several changes occur in our skin that can cause thin skin:
Collagen Reduction: Collagen, a protein that provides structure and firmness to the skin, decreases by about 1% annually after age 20. By age 80, collagen production can have dropped by up to 75%. This significant decrease in collagen production is a primary reason why you’re more likely to develop thin skin as you age.

 

Elastin Degradation: Elastin, which gives skin its elasticity, also diminishes over time. This reduction in elastin, combined with collagen loss, causes the skin to become thinner and less able to bounce back, leading to fragile skin that tears or breaks easily.

Decreased Cell Turnover: The rate at which new skin cells replace old ones slows down giving way to a thinner epidermis. This slower skin cell turnover means dead skin cells accumulate more easily, which can make your skin appear duller and thinner. Treatments that promote cell turnover, such as retinoids or certain in-clinic procedures, can help address this issue and support healthier skin cells.

 

Reduced Hyaluronic Acid: This molecule, responsible for skin hydration, becomes less abundant. As hyaluronic acid decreases, it becomes more challenging to keep your skin hydrated, which can contribute to the appearance of thin skin. Using moisturising products that contain hyaluronic acid can help combat this issue and support skin health.

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Factors Accelerating Skin Thinning

Sun Exposure

Sun damage from UV radiation damages collagen and elastin fibres, accelerating skin ageing. UV accounts for up to 80% of visible facial ageing. This makes protecting thin skin from sun damage of utmost importance. Using broad-spectrum sunscreen daily on your face and body is one of the most effective ways to prevent and slow the progression of thin skin.

Hormonal Changes

Declining estrogen levels during menopause can lead to a 30% reduction in skin collagen in the first five years. This significant drop in collagen can cause the skin to become thinner rapidly. While it’s not possible to reverse this hormonal change, there are treatments available to help thicken the skin and stimulate collagen production, such as retinoids or clinical procedures like laser resurfacing or microneedling treatments.

Genetics

Some individuals are genetically predisposed to faster collagen breakdown or slower production. This genetic factor can influence how quickly you develop thin skin and how your skin responds to skin treatments. 

Lifestyle Factors

Smoking, poor diet, and chronic stress can all contribute to premature skin ageing and cause thin skin to develop more rapidly. Giving up smoking, maintaining a balanced diet rich in antioxidants, and managing stress can help keep your skin healthier and potentially slow the thinning process. 

Certain Medications

Long-term use of corticosteroids can thin the skin by reducing collagen production. If you’re on medications that may cause thin skin, it’s important to discuss the best ways to protect and care for your skin with a dermatologist. They may recommend specific clinic treatments or home care routines to help counteract the skin-thinning effects of these medications and support overall skin health.

The Biological Mechanism

At a cellular level, thinning skin involves:

Decreased Fibroblast Activity

Fibroblasts, cells responsible for producing collagen and elastin, become less active with age. This decrease in fibroblast activity is a key reason why the body produces less collagen as we get older. Some treatments, like certain retinoids or in-clinic procedures, aim to stimulate these fibroblasts to help thicken the skin and improve its overall health.

Increased Enzyme Activity

Enzymes that break down collagen and elastin, such as matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), become more active. This increased enzyme activity contributes to the breakdown of the building blocks of skin, leading to thinner, more fragile skin. Some skincare products and treatments are designed to inhibit these enzymes, helping to slow the thinning process and support healthier skin cells.

Glycation

Sugar molecules attach to collagen and elastin fibres, making them stiff and less functional. This process can cause the skin to become thinner and less elastic. Maintaining a balanced diet low in refined sugars can help reduce glycation. Additionally, using skincare products with ingredients that combat glycation can help support skin health and potentially slow the thinning process.

Oxidative Stress

Free radicals damage skin cells and proteins, accelerating the ageing process.

Impact on Skin Function

Thinning skin leads to:

 

  • Reduced Barrier Function: Increasing susceptibility to infections and environmental damage.
  • Decreased Thermoregulation: Affecting the body’s ability to regulate temperature.

  • Altered Sensory Perception: Potentially increasing sensitivity to touch and temperature.

    Skin tends to become susceptible to tearing and breaks more easily.

     

    Understanding the science of thinning skin allows us to develop targeted treatments that address the root causes of this condition. At Dermal Health, we use this knowledge to create personalised treatment plans that address the visible signs of thinning skin and also work to restore and maintain your skin’s natural functions.

 

Why Treat Thinning Skin?

Addressing thinning skin is about more than aesthetics. Thinner skin is more susceptible to injury and could impact your overall skin health. Treatment can help maintain your skin’s protective function.

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Our Treatments for Thinning Skin

At Dermal Health, we offer personalised treatment plans for thinning skin. Our approach combines multiple therapies to achieve optimal results for your specific needs.

  • Prescriptive Skincare Products: We provide tailored skincare regimens with ingredients proven to support skin thickness and rejuvenation.
  • Dermapen Treatment:

    This microneedling technique stimulates collagen production, improving skin thickness and texture.

  • Fraxel Laser Therapy:

    As a laser skin resurfacing option, our Fraxel laser skin rejuvenation treatment targets specific skin layers to stimulate the production of collagen and skin renewal.

  • p(LA-CL) Threads: Our range from Definesse is chosen by us for its safety and efficacy profile, and longevity. This minimally invasive procedure uses dissolvable threads to lift and tighten skin, addressing both skin laxity and thinness.

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Selecting Your Treatment

The skin is naturally thinner on some parts of the body than others. This fact has a bearing on treatment selection. The best treatment for you will depend on factors like your skin condition, age, and desired outcomes. A consultation with Una will determine the most suitable option. She might suggest combined treatments. The goal is to give you the best possible results for your exact skin-needs.

Prevention and Maintenance

To prevent thin skin from getting thinner use broad-spectrum sunscreen daily. Protect your skin from the sun at all times. Maintain a balanced diet rich in vitamins A, C, E, and omega-3 fatty acids. Stay hydrated. Avoid smoking and limit alcohol consumption for the sake of the appearance of the skin if nothing else.

Why Choose Dermal Health?

Our clinic specialises in advanced skin treatments using state-of-the-art technology. We offer a bespoke approach to each patient’s skin thinning concern and make sure you receive care tailored to your unique skin concerns.

Booking Your Thinning Skin Appointment

Book in for a consultation to discuss how we can help. If you want to know more about this condition or any other treatments we offer please drop us a message using our form.