Itchy Skin : Causes, Symptoms, Treatments

Itchy Skin Causes, Symptoms, Treatments

Itchy skin is a common problem among many people across the word. This can get annoying pretty fast as it results in skin irritation and discomfort. Itchy skin might at times not indicate much or at times act as an indication of a serious underlying condition. Causes vary tremendously but in the end, there’s usually a treatment for most conditions causing skin itchiness. To get started on finding a suitable treatment regiment, it is paramount that you first know the condition causing the itchy skin.

Cause Of Itchy Skin

Examples of possible causes of itchy skin are such as:

1. Pregnancy : During pregnancy, itchy skin is a common phenomenon. This is usually experienced especially on the thighs, abdomen, breasts and arms. Moreover, pre-existing itchy skin conditions, like dermatitis, may become worse during pregnancy.

2. Skin conditions and rashes : Most skin conditions and complications cause itching. Conditions like psoriasis, eczema (dermatitis), lice, scabies, chickenpox and hives are good examples in this case. The itching normally affects specific areas and it is accompanied by other symptoms like bumps, red, irritated skin or blisters.

3. Dry skin : Dry skin (xerosis) is usually the cause if you do not see bright, red bumps or other noticeable changes around the itchy area. Dry skin is usually as a result of environmental factors such as washing or bathing too much, long-term use of central heating or air conditioning and hot or cold weather with low humidity.

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4. Internal diseases : Internal diseases have for a while been known to cause itchy skin. Illnesses like thyroid problems, iron deficiency anemia, kidney failure, liver disease, malabsorption of wheat (celiac disease), and cancers, like leukemia and lymphoma. The itching is usually full body although the skin usually still looks pretty normal.

5. Irritation and allergic reactions : Itchy skin can also be as a result of the materials or chemicals coming in contact with skin. These are such as soap, Wool, chemicals and other substances which can irritate the skin and cause itching. It could also be as a result of an allergic reaction like poison ivy, food or cosmetics, causing the skin to itch.

6. Nerve disorders : Conditions affecting the nervous system have also been known to cause itching. These are conditions such as diabetes mellitus, multiple sclerosis, pinched nerves and shingles also known as herpes zoster.

7. Drugs : Reactions to medications and drugs like antifungal, antibiotics or narcotic pain medications, can lead to widespread development of rashes and itchiness of the skin.

Itchy Skin Causes, Symptoms, Treatments

Treatment of Itchy Skin

• Taking an oral antihistamine whether pill or liquid.
• Trying over-the-counter anti-itch creams.
• Taking a cool bath with baking soda or oatmeal.
• Staying away from soaps, detergents, and other products containing color dyes and perfumes.
• Avoid scratching as it worsens the itch.
• Using a suitable moisturizer to keep your skin hydrated.

Ingrown Hair: Causes, Treatments, Infections

Ingrown Hair Causes, Treatments, Infections

Ingrown hair is usually due to hair that was cut short close to the skin and it created a sharp tip which could have easily pierced the skin. Ingrown hair is mainly attributed to improper or aggressive shaving techniques, other hair removal techniques like waxing and also friction due to tight clothing. In other cases however ingrown hair has been known to occur naturally where too much dead skin blocks hair follicle openings and causes hair to grow sideways.

Ingrown hairs are not limited to certain groups of people and can affect anyone. They are however more likely to appear in adults and teenagers and also in African-American individuals as their hair tends to be thicker and coarser.

Ingrown Hairs Diagnosis

One of the most common symptoms of ingrown hairs is tenderness and itchiness. There is also the red bumps which form on the skin around the area. These bumps usually appear just a few days after shaving and they get worse as hair grows back. Some individuals also experience painful papular eruption after shaving. This is where the upper skin layer has dilation of small superficial blood vessels. This causes the skin to appear red and flushed. Moreover, pustules may form in those areas with the ingrown hair as a result of common skin bacteria such as Staphylococcus.

Ingrown Hair Causes, Treatments, Infections

Treatment of Ingrown Hairs

In most cases ingrown hairs go on to heal by themselves. However, these hairs may in some instances become a nuisance. At this stage, there are a number of treatments that can be applied. Some of these include:

Laser Hair-removal : This is not only a treatment method but also preventive. Laser treatment helps to permanently reduce the number of hairs. This treatment however works only on dark hairs currently. It is still preferred because it is very fast, efficient, and safe.

Chemical depilatories : Another treatment method is use of chemical depilatories. These work by loosening the hair structure thus blunt tips of shaved hair at the openings of the follicle. These chemical depilatories should however be used every other day instead of daily to minimize chemical irritation on the skin. They can also be used together with Hydrocortisone cream to alleviate the irritation caused.

Topical antibiotics : For severe cases which have even formed pustules and abscesses, you can opt for Topical and oral antibiotics.

Topical creams

Medical removal : Medical removal of the ingrown hair by pulling out the hair or doing small incisions. The best results are however reached when using combination therapy. However, you should consult your doctor first.

Electrolysis : This is also another treatment to consider. This is effective as it permanently remove hairs. This treatment usually targets individual hair follicles and the destruction of hair follicles is permanent. Electrolysis can however tend to be slow and it requires multiple treatments.

Hyperpigmentation

Hyperpigmentation

Hyperpigmentation refers to a condition where dark spots and patches, of light brown or black, appear on the hands, face and other visible body parts when they are exposed to the sun. These spots can be difficult to hide and they vary in shape and size. The main cause of hyperpigmentation is when melanin is overproduced in certain areas of the skin.

Types of Hyperpigmentation

Age spots : These are as a result of sun exposure and therefore appear on body parts that are frequently exposed. They are usually small dark patches on the skin.

Chloasma or Melasma : This affects 90% of women and has been dabbed ‘the mask of pregnancy.’ It normally results from hormonal influences like birth control pills and pregnancy.   Its appearance is usually dark irregular shapes on the arms and face which can be pretty large.

Post-inflammatory Hyperpigmentation : This is in reference to the discoloration left after a skin injury or trauma heals. This is common with acne sufferers.

5 Unusual Causes Of Breakouts 3

Major Causes Of Hyperpigmentation

1- Sun Exposure

The sun triggers the production of melanin. Melanin normally acts as a natural sunscreen for your skin, providing protection from harmful UV rays. However, excessive exposure to sun can lead to hyperpigmentation. Moreover, the sun exposure can exacerbate the dark spots forming freckles.

You can prevent this by wearing protective clothing and using a high SPF sunscreen.

2- Hormonal Influences

This is the main cause of Chloasma or Melasma hyperpigmentation which is common among women. This is because female hormones estrogen and progesterone have been found to stimulate overproduction of melanin once exposed to the sun.

3- Genetics

Having certain genes makes you more prone to hyperpigmentation. People in certain age groups are more prone to hyperpigmentation. This is mostly tied with hormonal production at these various ages.

4- Skin Injuries or Inflammation

This is the main cause of Post-inflammatory HyperpigmentationHyperpigmentation can also be a side effect of certain illnesses or more prevalent in certain jobs and occupations.

Facial Rejuvenation

Treatment of Hyperpigmentation

There are multiple dermatological treatments with anti-pigmentation treatment procedures. Here are some few examples:

Laser Therapy : This treatment involves ‘zapping’ the problem areas with high energy light whose intensity can be controlled. Depending on the intensity, the treatment can either work on the epidermis or surface layer or on the deepest skin layer.

Chemical Peels : This treatment involves the application of an acidic solution on the layers of the ski, be it face, hands or feet. These eventually causes the skin to blister and peel off, leaving you with a new and evenly pigmented skin.

Skin Care Products : There are multiple skin care products that claim to have the power to reduce hyperpigmentation. Some common ingredients in such products include Arbutin, hydroquinone, kojic acid, Vitamin C derivatives, retinoid acid, azelaic acid, and B-resorcinol among others.

Hair Loss and Thinning Hair

Hair Loss and Thinning Hair

Hair loss is a pretty common phenomena. Whether you are showering, blow drying your hair or brushing it, everyone has experienced hair loss. Actually according to a New York Dermatologist by the name Francesca Fusco, we lose and average of 50-100 hairs daily. However, excessive hair loss may be a sign of a worse underlying condition requiring treatment. Thinning hair and hair loss may be as a result of certain conditions. Here are some examples.

1. Telogen Effluvium
This refers to the period after a major surgery, pregnancy, major weight loss or extreme stress where you experience major hair loss daily. The hair loss can also be a side effect of specific medications like beta-blockers, antidepressants or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

In this condition, you may notice major hair loss, up to handfuls of hair. Therefore, to reduce this, you have to reduce your anxiety levels, lower the drug dosage or change the drug being taken or in the case of pregnancy, bide your time until the hair loss reduces.

2. Hereditary Hair Loss
Genetic hair loss or as scientifically known, Androgenetic Alopecia, is one of the major causes of hair loss. This condition is usually a hereditary gene. For women, this usually starts out as thinning at the hairline and it may start as early as in your 20s. This then develops to full blown hair loss.

You can slow down this condition by applying Rogaine or Minoxidil on your scalp twice a day. This medication can be used by both men and women though women should use one of lower strength.

Preventing Hair Loss

3. Iron Deficiency (Anemia)
Women with heavy flows or this who do not take in enough iron can be prone to iron deficiency. This deficiency causes your blood to not have enough red blood cells and this could lead to poor body health and poor oxygen circulation. Poor body health results in poor hair health which means that your hair will eventually start thinning and falling off.

You can prevent this by having iron-rich meals like legumes, meat, eggs, and fortified cereals and so on.

4. Scalp Conditions
An unhealthy scalp can lead to inflammation which then makes it very difficult for hair to grow. Other skin conditions that can cause hair loss are dandruff, fungal infections kike ringworms and psoriasis.

For each condition, you can opt for a medicated shampoo and light therapy in addition to paying your dermatologist a visit.

Hair Care Of Damaged Hair

5. Excessive Styling
This is a cause many people may not know about. Excessive shampooing and styling may result in weakening of hair and eventually excessive hair loss. This can simply be prevented by avoiding use of very hot appliances on your hair, use of harsh chemicals, dyes and hair colors. You should also wait for the gel or spray to dry first before combing your hair.

How to Minimize Enlarged Pores

How to Minimize Enlarged Pores

Enlarged pores are normally accompanied by blackheads and they can tend to be a major nuisance on your skin. Most people end up spending quite a sum in a bid to try and get rid of them only to find that the treatment only makes it worse or just doesn’t work at all. This is not to say that no treatment works but that one needs to find and use just the right products in a bid to help minimize the appearance of enlarged pores and blackheads. To get started, it is important to first know what causes these conditions.

Causes of Enlarged Pores

Enlarged pores start as a result of oil glands that produce too much oil. This excess oil mixes with the dead skin and other substances on the pores and this causes a clog. This clog makes it harder for oil to flow freely and in the end, this causes the pore itself to enlarge.
In some cases, even after the pore enlarge to give way for the oil to flow out, at times, the oil can still remain trapped by dead skin especially in areas around the nose. When the oil and dead skin at the end of the pore are exposed to air and oxidized, this leads to the formation of black heads.

How to Minimize Enlarged Pores

Treatment of Enlarged Pores

There are multiple treatment methods for enlarged pores. These include:
1. Stick To Products Loaded With Niacinamide: Niacinamide has the ability to give a tightened up look for pores that have been stretched beyond normal capacity. Niacinamide has natural skin replenishing oxidants and other ingredients.

2. Avoid Bar Soap Or Other Skincare Products That Clog Pores: Ingredients used to keep bar soap solid tend to clog pores. Therefore, you should strive to avoid products that are thick or greasy (overly emollient) and particularly if you have oily skin.

3. Avoid Cleaning Brushes And Scrubs With Stiff Bristles: Scrubbing is not a treatment method for this condition. In fact, it tends to elicit the opposite reaction by making skin flaky and dry, which creates more dead skin that goes on to block the pores.

4. Stick To Gentle And Water Soluble Cleansers: It is recommended that you avoid products with harsh and drying ingredients. These only go on to worsen the oiliness factor of your skin.

5. Exfoliation: It is best to exfoliate using a non-abrasive, leave-on salicylic acid (BHA) liquid. Such liquids go on to shed the built up surface dead skin which are usually left on the skin and go on to block pores. BHA has the ability to exfoliate inside pores. Therefore, it can help return the pore to its normal shape.

6. Washing Make Up Off Before Bed: Failing to gently but thoroughly remove all your make up before going to bed can make the clogged pores even worse.

Eczema and Your Skin : Eczema Types, Symptoms, Causes, and More

Eczema and Your Skin Eczema Types, Symptoms, Causes, and More

Eczema is an inflammatory condition affecting the epidermis. It is initially marked by redness, crusting, itching, scaling, minute papules and vesicles and even pigmentation. Therefore the best description of eczema is a rash-like skin condition or atopic dermatitis. Despite common opinion, eczema is pretty common, affecting up to 30% of the American population. Moreover, it is more prevalent in people living in dry areas and cities. Also contrary to popular belief, eczema is present in both males and females.

Atopic dermatitis refers to a chronic condition which affects infants and children.

Types of Eczema

There are various variations of Atopic dermatitis. These include:
1. Stasis dermatitis. This is appears as skin irritation on lower legs and is normally related to circulatory problems.
2. Contact eczema. This is a localized reaction where your skin has come into contact with an allergen.
3. Allergic contact eczema (dermatitis). This is a reaction where the skin has come into contact with substances which your immune system recognizes as foreign.
4. Dyshidriotic eczema. This refers to irritation of skin on the palms and soles which are characterized by blisters.
5. Nummular eczema. These are circular patches of irritated skin that can be scaling, crusted and itchy
6. Neurodermatitis. These are scaly patches of skin on the forearms, head, wrists and lower legs which is caused by a localized itch for example an insect bite.
7. Seborrheic eczema. These are oily, scaly yellow patches of skin which are usually found on the scalp and face.

Facial Redness

Causes of Eczema

The exact cause of eczema remains unknown to scientists. However, it is believed to result from a number of causes, a combination environmental and hereditary factors. Environmental factors include:
• Allergens like pets, pollen, dust mites, mold, and dandruff.
• Irritants such as soaps, shampoos, detergents, disinfectants, meats, vegetables, and juices from fresh fruits.
• Microbes for example fungi, viruses and bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus.
• Hot and cold temperatures.
• Stress. This is not a cause but it makes symptoms worse.
• Foods. These are such as eggs, dairy products, nuts and seeds, wheat and soy products.
• Hormones. Particularly for women, the change in hormone levels like during their menstrual cycle and pregnancy worsens eczema symptoms.

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Treatment for Eczema

Eczema has no specific cure. All treatment done is usually to heal the affected areas and prevent worsening of the symptoms. Treatment normally depends on age, health status and symptoms. There are a number of home remedies for eczema which help improve the skin and control the symptoms. These include regular warm baths, moisturizing, air dying or gently parting the skin after showering, using a humidifier in dry weather, wearing cotton and other soft fabrics and also using mild soap or non-soap cleansers.

There are also a number of prescribed medication like antibiotics, phototherapy, corticosteroid creams, and antihistamines among many others.

How To Get Rid Of Dark Circles

How To Get Rid Of Dark Circles

Dark circles are a common condition experienced by most people. This condition usually involves the appearance of a darkened circle under the eyes. Being such a common occurrence, there are numerous theories explaining their occurrence and appearance, some of which are true and some of which aren’t. According to a dermatologist in New York City, Charlotte Clark, getting a full night sleep may help diminish the appearance of dark circles but not erase them completely. To be able to get rid of them completely, it is first important to consider their origin.

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Causes of Dark Circles

Genetics is one of the most common sources. People who have inherited fair and thin skin under the eyes are more susceptible to dark circles. This is because in their case, it is more obvious when blood polls gather under the eyes. Such conditions are usually due to lack of sufficient sleep which results in slower blood circulation. The accumulation of blood causes the fragile capillaries to stretch and even in some cases leak.

Seasonal allergies can be to blame for a lot of people. Allergies trigger the release of histamines by the body which then go on to inflame blood vessels and cause swelling.

Age is another common factor. The human skin loses collagen over time causing it to thin. This causes the veins to show through more prominently with sunbathing being known to speed up this process. This is because it breaks down collagen and mottles the skin color.

It is also important to note the following method of dark circles diagnosis. To know why you have dark circles, you can gently stretch out the skin beneath your eyes. If the area gets darker, then most probably the cause of your dark circle is aging or genetics. However if there is no color change observed, the cause is most probably UV rays or allergies.

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Treatment of Dark Circles

Treatment of dark circle is usually dependent on the causative factor.

1. Dark Circles Due To Vascular Issues. For such cases, a common solution is using more pillows when sleeping to prevent blood from building up under your eyes. Moreover, after waking up, it is advised that you apply a cold compress for 5 minutes. This helps to constrict the blood vessels.

You can apply eye cream on the area to help constrict the vessels. Recommended eye creams should have anti-inflammatory properties and ingredients such as caffeine, green tea or grape seed oil. Your diet can also be used to accompany treatment. An ounce of flavonol-rich dark chocolate daily and foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids like salmon and walnuts may improve blood flow.

2. Dark Circles due to Allergies. This can be treated using over-the-counter antihistamines.

3. Dark Circles Due to Skin Conditions. This require the use of a collagen-building cream like retinol which increase collagen production. Another great ingredient is vitamin C as it helps brighten the skin tone.

Dandruff : Why It Happens and How To Beat It

Dandruff Why It Happens and How To Beat It

Dandruff is one of the most common and prevalent conditions among all people worldwide. Studies have found that about 50% of people in North America and Western Europe suffer from dandruff. Contrary to popular belief, dandruff is not as a result of poor hygiene. Dandruff can best be described as a scalp condition where flakes of skin appear and it is mostly accompanied by itching. To most people, it can tend to be embarrassing and difficult to treat. Dandruff has however been known to reduce with age. Moreover, it has been found to be more common in men than women and also in people with oily skin.

Causes of Dandruff

  1. Irritated oily skin (scientifically known as Seborrheic dermatitis.) When the skin is irritated it produces more skin cells. Once these cells die and fall off, they mix with the oil on the skin forming dandruff.
  2. Yeast-sensitive people are more likely to suffer from dandruff.
  3. Not brushing hair enough. Combing and brushing regularly aids in the shedding of skin therefore failure to comb makes it easier to get dandruff.
  4. Dry skin. Dry skin is accompanied by flaking skin thus dandruff.
  5. Specific skin conditions. Conditions like eczema, psoriasis and other disorders make you more prone to dandruff.
  6. Not enough shampooing. Failure to shampoo adequately can lead to a buildup of dead skin cells and oil thus causing dandruff.
  7. Certain illness. Adults with neurological conditions like Parkinson’s disease are more likely to have dandruff. Also patients recovering from heart attacks and strokes.
  8. Dandruff is also common in people with certain diets according to studies. Meals that are too sugary, salty or spicy or coupled with excess alcohol may worsen dandruff.
  9. Reaction to some skin care and hair products.
  10. Mental stress. Stress has been found to have a strong link with multiple skin problems.

Useful Tips For Hair Growth

Treatment of Dandruff

When treating dandruff, you ought to consider age and also severity of the dandruff. The best approach is usually to counteract yeast production or slow down the reproduction of skin cells.

Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

This is the most common method of treatment. Use of anti-dandruff or anti-fungal shampoos is great for controlling but not curing dandruff. The shampoo once applied on the scalp, should be left for about 5 minutes. This is to give it enough time to act. Ideally a shampoo should contain one active ingredient. Some of the active ingredients contained in these shampoos include:

  • Ketoconazole
  • Zinc pyrithione
  • Selenium sulfide
  • Coal tar
  • Tea-tree oil
  • Salicylic acids
  • Green Tea potential

Once you select a shampoo with one of the above ingredients, you should shampoo daily until the condition is improved. If there is no improvement in several weeks, you can visit a dermatologist for further instruction.

9 Home Remedies for Damaged Hair

9 Home Remedies for Damaged Hair

Hair is one of greatest concerns for most women. To make it even worse, hair can get damaged relatively fast but bringing it back can take quite some time. Restoration techniques can be as follows;

Repairing Damaged Hair

1. Early Detection
For repairmen of damaged hair, early detection is key. The minute you notice the split ends and frizz or you notice everything is not great with your scalp that is the time to start treatment for your hair. You can then gradually start using the gentle shampoos, conditioners and styling products, all which will help bring your hair back.

2. Trimming
Another solution for when your hair gets a straw-like texture is trimming. You can opt to trim your edges and treat the remaining hair or if you feeling like you are need of some change, you can chop it all off and maintain a pixie cut or short bob. Hair normally tends to be destroyed towards the tip more than towards the scalp. This will therefore give you a fresh start and help your hair recover faster.

Herbal Solution for Hair Loss

3. Avoid Hot Styling
Hot styling like using curling irons, blow dryers or straightening irons damages hair. Therefor while treating, air dry your hair instead of using hot styling equipment. However if you have absolutely no choice, you can opt to first prepare the hair with a fortifying leave-in conditioner, use the lowest heat setting and finish it off with a protective spray.

4. Avoid Chemicals and Hair Color
During the treatment period, it is best that you avoid harsh chemicals and dyes. Some hair colors such as harsh bleach can stress and damage hair. You can also consult your hair stylist on healthier alternatives such as ammonia-free and demi-permanent formulas.

5. Simple Hairstyles
With damaged hair, it is advised that you keep your hairstyles as simple as possible. You should avoid styles that stress the hair or those that require a lot of product to stay put.

Homemade Solution For Broken Hair

6. Use of Treatment Masks
When purchasing your hydrating treatment, go for products with moisturizing and restorative elements such as shea butter, keratin, and olive oil and avoid products with parabens or silicone.

7. Maintain Good Body Health
Good overall health results in good hair health. Therefore, exercise and eat well balanced meals.

8. Cover Your Hair When Swimming Of Under The Sun
Damaged hair requires additional protection. Therefore, cover your hair when swimming to protect it from chlorine. Moreover, wash your hair with a gentle shampoo after swimming. The same case applies for sun damage. Long exposure to sun can lead to broken ends, dry hair, frizz and even hair thinning.

9. Use Sulfate-Free Shampoo And Conditioner Made For Damaged Hair
This is most probably the most important factor. Choosing the right shampoo and conditioner will determine how fast and well your hair will recover. Beware of using water that is too hot, shampooing too frequently and use the right product for your hair type and texture.

Crepey Skin

Crepey Skin

Crepey skin can best be described as the loose, paper-thin skin that appears on very old people. Due to aging, the skin becomes thin, loose and flaccid with notable sagginess. The name crepey skin is as a result of the comparison of the thin skin to crepe paper. This condition is usually as a result of thinning of the epidermis and dermis.

According to Macrene Alexiades, a New York dermatologist, it is currently one of the most difficult skin aging signs to prevent since it not only has multiple causes but it also appears in multiple parts of the body. This lack of skin firmness is one of the major and most common signs of aging.

Mask For Smooth Skin

Skin Aging and Crepiness

As you approach your mid-40s, the thinning of your skin accelerates. It may not be an overnight change but week after week, month after month, you will start to observe variances in the texture of your skin. According to dermatologists, crepey skin usually appears as a result of various causes. These include:

• A loss of collagen andelastin
• Prolonged exposure to sun
• Chronic use of steroids
• Decrease in moisture due to aging.

Crepey skin becomes more noticeable if there is notable fat loss in the area whether due to aging or just natural weight loss. This condition can at times tend to be more prevalent in women since a decrease in female hormones results in dry skin which causes crepiness on the thighs and arms. Therefore, hormonal replacement therapy may be a solution for treatment in such a case.

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Crepey Skin Appearance

Crepey skin is unlike most skin aging types. First, it starts to appear as an increase in skin markings. This tend to look like small dots around the hair follicle which begin to merge into diamond shaped or linear marks which look like they connect the dots together. However, with time, these subtle pores and creases become more exaggerated with the continued breakdown of collagen and elastin. From that point, the skin folds increase and so does the skin thinning.

Therefore, crepey skin is mainly characterized by lack of skin thickness.

Crepey Skin Susceptibility

Almost everyone is susceptible to crepey skin. However, some skin types and tones are more likely to face this more than others. People with less melanin or those prone to sun damage are bound to see crepey skin signs faster. This includes people with fair- and lighter-toned skin who are exposed to sun for prolonged periods.

Specific ethnicities like Asians, Latinas and African Americans may experience reduced effects of crepiness due to the fact that their skin tends to be inherently thicker. Also women tend to be more prone to crepey skin due to hormonal issues as explained above.
Crepey skin is an unavoidable bit of aging, however with the proper care, its signs and effects can be greatly minimized.