Women will spend thousands of dollars on surgeries, laser treatments, Botox, fillers, even night creams, all to make their faces look younger. But sometimes their hands give away their true age.
Although your face is your most important feature in determining your age, your hands are a not distant second. Hands covered in brown spots, fine lines, paper thin skin, and hollowed out spaces might belie your wrinkle free face and pouty lips.
Aging hands are caused by the same factors as an aging face. It is part genetics and part age, but mostly, it is due to a lifetime of sun exposure. Hands are particularly vulnerable to ultraviolet light damage because they are almost always exposed and because we rarely protect them. Unless the days of white gloves return, it will be necessary to take extra precautions with your hands, especially when the warm weather returns and you take off your mittens.
Any sunscreen that you use for your face or body will also work for your hands. I recommend a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30. There are sunscreens specially formulated for hands such as Neutrogena’s Age Shield Hand Cream.
Hands that are already showing the effects of sun and age can be treated much like your face. Retinoids are the mainstay for treating aging skin. Retinoids such as Renova have been shown to increase collagen production, help smooth fine lines and wrinkles, and lighten brown spots. They can be used once a day at bedtime just like a night cream. Night time is the best time because it is less likely that you will wash off the cream overnight whereas during the day, frequent hand washing can mean that creams don’t have time to work.
Brown spots can also be treated with a light spray of liquid nitrogen. This damages the pigment producing cells of the skin and can fade brown spots to blend in with your natural skin color. Brown spots can also be treated with lasers such as the Nd:YAG laser or IPL light treatments. Lastly a limited chemical peel can be done with acids such as tricholoracetic acid. These peels can lighten brown spots as well as help smooth wrinkles when done over the whole hand.
Wrinkles and fine lines can also be treated with fraxtionated lasers such as Fraxel. These lasers destroy pinpoint spots on the skin leading to improved collagen growth and smoothing of pigment without burning the skin extensively. Atrophy or hollowness on the back of the hands can be quickly improved by injecting fillers. Treatment with Sculptra or Radiesse can plump up the back of the hands giving them an instantly younger look.
Finally keeping your hands well moisturized is the cheapest and most important treatment against aging skin. Dry, cracked hands appear dull and older. Simply applying a good hand moisturizer periodically during the day will give your hands a healthy glow and younger appearance.