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How to manage thin skin

When an individual ages, whether as a result of sun exposure, medication, whether lifestyle causes, the skin gets thinner. Typically, it is not reversible, although there are certain ways of protecting the skin and preventing complications.

It is relatively normal to have thin skin on your hands. However, they can also grow thin, papery skin on their arms and legs as a person ages. Thin skin bruises more easily.

We look at the causes of thin skin in this article, potential treatments and preventions, and when to see a doctor.

What is thin skin?

What is thin skin?
As a person ages, they may develop thin, papery skin.

In certain areas of the body, the skin is usually thinner. The skin on the eyelids is only 0.5 millimeters (mm ) thick, while the skin on the heels can be up to 4 mm thick.

Three layers, each with a different function, making up the skin:

  • The hypodermis is the innermost layer, made up of tissue, fat, and sweat glands.
  • The dermis is the next layer, which contains the nerves and blood supply.
  • The epidermis is the outermost layer of skin, which is a barrier against dirt and bacteria.

Thin skin means the epidermis is not as thick as it needs to be. There may also be less fat in the hypodermis, which results in this layer becoming thinner, too.

Thinner skin does not, by itself, cause any medical conditions. An individual can learn, however, that their skin is more easily damaged or wounded.

Symptoms of thin skin

It might appear more transparent if a person has thin skin and they may be able to see veins , bones, or tendons more easily.

It is possible to hurt thin skin quickly. An individual can find bruises or tears in their skin after minor injuries.

A lack of hypodermis fat allows the skin to become less plump or full, which may make the skin look thinner.


Sunlight may cause the skin to thin over time.
Sunlight may cause the skin to thin over time.

Causes of thinning of the skin include:

  • Aging is the most common cause of thin skin. Thin skin is a natural part of getting older, alongside furrows and wrinkles, less skin elasticity, and skin that is dry or easily damaged.
  • Sunlight plays a significant role in thinning the skin over time. UVA and UVB rays can kill or damage skin cells.
  • Smoking and drinking alcohol both speed up skin aging and can contribute to thinning of the skin over time.
  • Steroid creams can make the cells in the epidermis smaller. The medication may also affect the tissue connecting skin cells. This can leave the skin looking wrinkled or loose.
  • Other medications may cause thinning of the skin as a side effect. This may happen with topical steroids, which people apply directly to their skin. This medication is usually in the form of a cream or ointment and is used to treat skin conditions, such as eczema.

Topical steroids are likely to induce thinning only if they are used for an prolonged time by a person. Following guidance for how to administer the medication is important.

When a person has quit using the drug, the skin may return to its normal thickness. However, when skin cells need time to regenerate, this can need many weeks.


The thinning of the skin will not be reversed. Moisturizing the tissue, though, will make it more versatile and less likely to break.

It is possible that something that makes the skin painful or irritated would hurt it. To protect it from injury, a person with thin skin would need to. They should prevent contact with harsh chemicals, for instance.

An individual with thin skin can more readily notice bruises or damage to their skin. Skin protection can be supported by wearing long sleeves and long skirts or trousers.

The use of vitamin A-containing creams, also known as retinoids or retinol, can help prevent further thinning of the skin. Retinol creams are sold as beauty items in drugstores.

Data reported in 2018 shows that retinol can help normalize skin thickness in some cases. It should be used with caution, though, and is not appropriate for all kinds of skin.

While there is no definitive proof that the use of collagen boosters enhances the protection of the skin or thickens the tissue, certain individuals find them helpful.

It can help improve good wellbeing by eating a healthy diet. A number of fruits and vegetables , whole grains, and protein are included.

Skin wellbeing can also be improved by vitamin E, present in foods such as almonds and avocados. The fats found in these foods will help keep the skin supple.

To keep the skin hydrated, drinking adequate water works. Dry skin may be more readily irritated or damaged and is also less versatile.


moisturizing the skin regularly.
Age-related thinning may be prevented by moisturizing the skin regularly.

Both symptoms of ageing will not be stopped. As a person ages, fine lines or wrinkles, and skin that grows thinner and drier develop naturally. However, some of the visible symptoms of ageing might be minimized or slowed down.

Any age-related thinning of the skin may be avoided by shielding the skin from harmful UV rays, frequently moisturizing the skin, and not smoking.

One of the main causes of skin ageing is UV radiation from the sun. Safeguard the skin against the sun by:

  • wearing factor SPF 30 sunscreen or higher that protects from both UVA and UVB rays
  • sitting in the shade or spending time indoors during the hottest part of the day
  • wearing long sleeves, and a long skirt or trousers
  • choosing a hat that will shade the neck and face

To avoid dryness and damage, moisturizing the skin may aid. This is because it keeps the skin from leaving water. Skin that is hydrated is more resilient and stronger.

The skin is often washed out by alcohol, so stop drinking to excess. An individual may help to remain hydrated by drinking a glass of water between alcoholic beverages.

When to see a doctor

Usually, there is no need to visit a doctor about dry skin caused by ageing and it does not raise any health issues. If a person feels that their skin is often bruised or broken, they may want to seek medical advice.

Thin skin may be caused by certain drugs. A doctor will suggest whether the medication should be stopped and suggest potential alternatives.

If thinning skin has no obvious cause, it may be good to seek medical advice. It may be that lifestyle factors have caused the skin to thin, such as exposure to sunshine or smoking.

For thin skin, specific medication is not available, but avoidance is the safest choice. It can help to avoid more thinning of the skin by shielding the skin from sunlight and keeping the skin hydrated.

Chukwuebuka Martins

Chukwuebuka Martins is a writer, researcher, and health enthusiast who specializes in human physiology. He takes great pleasure in penning informative articles on many aspects of physical wellness, which he then thoroughly enjoys sharing to the general public.