Test the Elasticity of Your Skin with a “Pinch Test”

Written by Brianna Kay, MPAS, PA-C, Certified Physician Assistant on March 7, 2018 3 Comments

skin pinch test

Facial aging is a natural part of growing older. Normal signs of aging can include wrinkles, volume loss (most often in temples, cheeks and under-eye areas) and sagging of the skin. The skin’s elasticity is one of the primary factors that determines the impact that aging will have on the appearance of our skin.

What is skin elasticity?

Skin elasticity is the ability of the skin to stretch and then return to a normal state after the need to stretch is removed. The degree of elasticity is determined by the amount of collagen and elastin (two naturally occurring proteins) that the skin retains. Skin with high elasticity is plump, firm, and youthful in appearance.

As we age our skin produces and retains less elastin and collagen, leading to sagging and wrinkling of the skin. While some of this loss is due to gravity and genetics, some unhealthy lifestyle habits like smoking, drinking, eating an improper diet, or tanning/overexposing skin to the sun can certainly accelerate the deterioration of elasticity.

So, you may be wondering “how elastic is my skin”? To find out, take a simple skin elasticity test to see if your levels are on par for your current age:

Skin Elasticity Test Instructions

  1. With your hand relaxed and facing palm down, pinch the skin on the back of your hand and hold for five seconds.
  2. Release the skin and count the time it takes to completely flatten back out.

How to Score:

  • 1-2 seconds (individuals under 30)
  • 3-4 (individuals who are 30-44)
  • 5-9 (individuals who are 45-50)
  • 10-15 (individuals who are 60)
  • 35-55 (individuals who are 70+)

Unhappy With Your Score?

If your skin is taking significantly longer to respond compared to others in your age bracket, fear not! There are some things you can do to help improve your skin elasticity.

  • Sun Care: Avoid overexposing your skin by practicing excellent sun protection. Always wear a high SPF broad spectrum sunscreen, avoid being outdoors during peak UV hours, refrain from any form of tanning, and wear a wide brimmed hat and UV-proof clothing while outside.
  • Smoking: If you are a current smoker, quit now! Quitting will help improve the elasticity of your skin (making you a better candidate for cosmetic procedures) and will benefit your overall health.
  • Cosmetic Treatments: There are a number of professional resurfacing procedures that can help boost elasticity, including microdermabrasion, micro-needling, and fractional laser therapy. These treatments create controlled micro-damage to the skin, which promotes healing by stimulating the body to create more natural collagen.


Brianna Kay, MPAS, PA-C

Brianna Kay, MPAS, PA-C, Certified Physician Assistant, earned her Masters in Physician Assistant Studies from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Brianna specialized in dermatology following her Masters degree and has since been practicing medical and surgical dermatology since 2012. She is board certified by the National Commission of Certification of PAs and is licensed by the Texas State Board of Medical Examiners.

3 Responses to “Test the Elasticity of Your Skin with a “Pinch Test””

  1. Avatar KATHERINE says:

    I will be 41 in a few weeks and my skin bounced back in about a second, so I am happy. I try to stay hydrated and eat a well balance diet and exercise moderately throughout the week. Also I don’t go out in the sun much.

    • Avatar Lillibet says:

      That’s great, Katherine! But talk to me when you’re 63. 🙂 That’s my age and my skin bounced back in about 1.5 seconds, too. Completely flat. Swear to God and may I die in my sleep tonight. I did the test four times in a row.

      I actually saw an anti-aging doctor about five years ago and he ran me through a bevy of tests to see how I was aging – even though I was 58 at the time I tested biologically around 35, with my skin being the lowest age of all: 29. Serious as a heart attack. He also said my skin is aging very slowly on a cellular level as are the rest of my internal organs, apparently. I’ll take it! 😀

      Sounds like you’re probably on the same path! 🙂 Genetics play a big role, and one mustn’t discount healthy living to keep any risky genes you might have been dealt from expressing.

      Keep up the good work! 😀

  2. Avatar Shawn says:

    I’m in my 60s but my skin returned to normal in 6 seconds. I think this is due to the fact that I have Ehlers Danlos syndrome. People with EDS can have very elastic skin. Some of us also have fewer wrinkles. I guess if you’re going to have something like EDS then we should get something out of it. I never mind being mistaken for somebody in their 40s.

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