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Melanie Griffith's knees

How to get rid of knee wrinkles

Reviewed by Copley June 8, 2013 13 Comments

This post has been updated (July 2013) with brand new tips that work for lifting sagging and wrinkled knees.

It is a rarely discussed but frequently seen part of the body that is prone to wrinkles as we age: the knee. You may think that knees are never the focus of any anti-aging treatments because they are a lost cause, doomed to remain sheathed in folds for the rest of time. But there are steps you can take to ward off, deal with, and even permanently fix saggy knees. What follows is breakdown of these steps ordered by how great of a commitment each requires, from low to high.

Easy preventative measures for knee de-wrinkling:

The skin on any part of your body which is forced to bend and stretch repeatedly, such as the knees and elbows, becomes scaly, cracked, and wrinkled-looking as you age. In addition, these parts often have to support the weight of your entire body (from leaning, kneeling, etc.), exacerbating their condition. Call it payback for all that exhausting stress, but with time, these areas tend to show more dryness and wrinkles than the rest of your skin. The best reward you can give your knees is to keep them moisturized at all times.

The best body lotions for desiccated knees will help drive moisture through the skin barrier. Look for formulas containing urea or ammonium lactate (ie. Eucerin Plus Intensive Repair Body Cream or AmLactin Moisturizing Lotion. A number of brands, from B. Kamins to Dermal Therapy, offer targeted products to treat the knee, elbow, and foot areas specifically. Take a gander at Marta's recommendations for the five best body moisturizers on the market.

If you're really serious about improving the appearance of your knees, get in the habit of exfoliating, thus revitalizing them on a cellular level. After scrubbing your knees in the shower (with a loofah, scrub, or Clarisonic body brush) to slough off dead skin cells, coat the area with some heavy-duty petroleum-based products like Curel or plain-old Vaseline. If you'd prefer the natural path, use a rich cream (or concoct your own) with wholesome emollients like shea butter and emu oil. You may look like a volleyball player, but tying long, clean socks around your knees will keep the cream from rubbing off on your sheets. Forming regular habits is far easier than trying to cure a long-neglected disaster- which brings us to the next level of knee skin therapy.

Moderate lifestyle changes for nixing knee creases:

The knee sag can afflict all individuals, whether they are overweight or in terrific shape. This looseness of the skin stems from a loss of elastic fibers, collagen, and muscle mass, which naturally occurs as we age. Firming the target area requires you to develop the muscles above your knee cap, thus rebuilding elastic fibers. Updating your workout routine with core exercises will help you tighten and tone the area above your knees.

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Leg extensions are the most basic and efficient knee-toning exercise. You don't need a leg-extension machine at the gym to reap the same benefits simply by raising your legs with ankle weights while seated on a stable chair or bench. Pointing your toes up and in toward each other will tighten the flabby area on the outside of knees, while pointing your toes up and out with your heels touching will build the inner-leg muscles around your knees.

The same rule holds for yoga and Pilates, which are excellent choices for keeping knees strong and flexible without putting the body under duress. Sign up for a yoga or Pilates class so that you can learn the basic moves and practice at home. Yoga poses that strengthen the quadriceps, such as the Chair, Warrior I, and Warrior II, support the knee joints while also tightening the surrounding skin and muscle. Whereas yoga focuses more on stretching, Pilates aims to build strength by using a series of movements drawing on the body's weight as resistance to train muscles. Not only will you better support the knee joints by strengthening the quadricep and hamstring muscles, but you'll also develop a stronger midsection to keep the upper body erect, thus lessening the strain placed on your knees.

No turning back with these high-cost knee fixes:

Demi Moore infamously consulted with her Hollywood surgeon about her supposedly saggy knees before making her jaw-dropping entrance on the big screen in the Charlie's Angels sequel. A much-publicized surgery ensued, helping to introduce the term "knee lift" into the collective cosmetic consciousness. Though the procedure doesn't even appear in the American (or Canadian) Society of Plastic Surgeons data bank, knee lifts have become a popular option in recent years.

Because the operation involves an incision where the skin on the front of the thigh begins to fold above the knee cap, it can leave a large scar which, due to everyday motion of the knee, can spread. Not only is there nowhere to hide the scar, but there's also no place to anchor the stitches, resulting in a great deal of tension on the wound. Thus, knee lifts run the risk of what is known as hypertrophic scars, which are thick, raised, and often darker than the surrounding skin. Many surgeons advise against a knee lift, except in cases when patients have lost over 30% of their body weight and are carrying around huge amounts of loose skin. If you don't fall in this category, you might want to look into less invasive alternatives.

Infusion Lipolysis, a procedure designed to shrink fat cells, can be performed above the knee in place of a knee lift. Unlike liposuction, which removes adipose cells (loose connective tissue), Infusion Lipolysis helps to deplete excess fat stored in these cells, thereby shrinking them back to their normal size and actually tightening skin. The Refirme Skin Tightening Procedure, which uses elos technology, is another safe, virtually painless non-invasive solution for sagging skin around the knee. These medical treatments help improve skin laxity, wrinkles, and textural irregularities, but they often require a big financial investment and maintenance programs.

Are your knees worth it?

Who wants knees that look like the photo above? Believe it or not, that saggy set belongs to a very well-known actress. I won't name names, but I will tell you that her hubby Antonio Banderas has requested that she eschew knee lifts. Let's hope that she's heeding some of the aforementioned advice. The rest of us can adjust our lifestyles or try different treatments based on the level of sacrifice we are willing to make in the name of our knees. Really, our knees deserve all the attention they can get given the abuse they tolerate over a lifetime.

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  • December 15, 2016

    by Helena

    Hi,

    I'm only young ish (31) and already I've got signs of ugly sagging near my knees but I think it's excess fat. It doesnt look wrinkly or anything. I just hate it I never used to have fat legs. My skin is great for my age especially on my face I've no wrinkles anywhere just this fatty knees thing going on :( I'm not fat anywhere else either so I dunno what's going on! Any help? Thanks :))

  • July 29, 2016

    by HelenGreene

    Good post

  • June 25, 2016

    by Joey

    Dermaroll once a month with 1mm needles followed by a vitamin C serum and collagen serum. I have been doing this for 6 months and these are TRUE results. I cannot believe how much the laxity and thickness has improved, not to mention the fine lines have decreased by 50%.

  • December 4, 2015

    by natalia

    Something I have noticed (as someone formerly known for her great knees and legs, which actually makes it harder to accept crappy looking legs and knees as I age) I remember reading that growth hormone makes knees and elbows large and knobby and all the joints grow. They say this to DETER people from illegally using growth hormone, but I remember thinking, well, heck, since the joints and muscles naturally shrink with age, I can use all the joint growth and swelling I can get! Pain or no pain, I prefer swollen to saggy and wrinkles. If you see an actress or rich person with NON saggy knees after a certain age you know they are illegally dipping into the growth hormone, generally speaking. (I say rich because money buys anything, even stuff "strictly" forbidden -- yeah right -- by those jerks at the FDA. ) So....get your rest, DON'T stress out too much about your appearance, eat protein, and I second the lactic acid suggestion. Knee skin can take a TON of exfoliation compared to face so go ahead and rough em up like no tomorrow. It helped me a bit -- but obviously not enough.

  • October 12, 2015

    by Daniela Uehli

    I like DermalMD Anti-Aging Serum. My skin looks better and some fine lines have diminished. My face looks brighter and I find myself using a lot less make up which to me is huge because we all know make up really isn't good for our skin. I really like this product and I believe it does what it says

  • July 15, 2014

    by SummerStorms

    Awwww, I want to give Melanie G some Eucerin.
    Thanks for this awesome post, Copley! (Belatedly.) I'll be doing plenty from this and from the other knee-related posts here.

  • July 29, 2013

    by cindi

    I agree...this is no place to criticize people. We're all here to get information. I have lost some weight and the sagging knee syndrome is driving me crazy. I thought about the Refirm but I've heard it can be thousands of dollars and many treatments. If anyone has a great idea I would love to hear it!

  • June 18, 2012

    by Jenny

    Go away grammar police. This is a forum/blog and not a thesis. If you really have the urge to correct grammar, try volunteering at a school.

  • April 15, 2012

    by Violett

    Hey, this is a great article! I'm in my twenties and recently lost some weight plus did not really exercise much, so I developed the saggy kneee - I'm interested in the eversices you mentioned where you lifft your legd with toes pointed upwards and sideways and the upwards and inwards - I'm not an english speaker so want to gt it righ - upwards would be the opposite of the pallerna toe movewhen she jusy stretches them forward, right? I want to do the exercises right so I really hope you will answer. Thank you in advance,
    Best wishes,
    Violett

  • May 21, 2011

    by Stephanie

    Well said Marta.

    I find it irritating when people come to a blog and act as grammar police, although I find it hilarious when they are wrong.

    In case there are any ongoing doubts as to whether or not "preventative" is an actual word, please look here:
    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/Preventative

  • May 20, 2011

    by Marta

    Preventative is a word according to Merriam Webster. It is perhaps more properly used as a noun. And it rhymes with argumentative.

  • May 20, 2011

    by Janie

    There is no such word as "preventative." Sloppy writing on the web always irritates me.

  • November 3, 2009

    by Health | acne treatments

    Wrinkles can be reduced by exfoliating regularly with alpha hydroxy acid peels. you also need to avoid sunlight which accelerates skin aging.

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