What Is Fragile Skin?

What Is Fragile Skin?

The skin is the body’s first line of defense. As we get older, our skin gets thinner, drier and more fragile, leaving it vulnerable to painful skin tears, bruising and breaks. Fragile skin can become very thin and papery, which is known as having “crepey skin”. Thin, fragile skin can occur over the entire body but is especially visible in the face, neck, arms and hands, where veins and capillaries can be seen. 

What Causes Fragile Skin?

Your skin’s dermis, which makes up 90% of its thickness, consists of collagen and elastin. The dermis is responsible for your skin’s strength and elasticity, and becomes thinner as we age.

Fragile skin is most often associated with aging but can also be cause by other factors, including disability, disease, prolonged UV exposure, genetics, lifestyle and the usage of certain medications.


As we age, the body’s collagen production begins to decrease and you may begin to notice various symptoms of fragile skin, including:

  • Wrinkles
  • Sagging
  • Excessive dryness in your skin

The effects of aging can also be compounded by disability and reduced mobility, which can cause tender pressure points in bony areas across the body.

UV (Sun) Exposure

Prolonged exposure to UV rays throughout your life can cause sun damage to skin prematurely, creating:

  • Age spots
  • Wrinkles
  • Loss of moisture and elasticity in skin
  • Thinning and sagging to the face and body

In fact, UV exposure is one of the leading causes of fragile skin and can accelerate its effects significantly.

Certain Medications

Long term usage of certain medications can cause or accelerate the effects of thinning, fragile skin. These medications include:

  • Prescription blood thinners
  • Corticosteroids (oral and topical)
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs like ibuprofen and naproxen)
  • Over-the-counter aspirin


Your lifestyle can affect premature aging of the skin. Some of these lifestyle factors include:

  • smoking cigarettes
  • excessive use of alcohol
  • the combination of a sedentary lifestyle and lack of regular physical exercise
  • diet and nutrition

Learn How To Care For Fragile Skin