When you look at a woman’s well-moisturized and made-up face, you often can’t guess her age. But if you look at her hands and if, like most people, they have endured years of sun exposure, dish water and digging in the garden (among other less pleasant chores), you may think she’s even older than she actually is.
The skin on your hands is a dead giveaway of age and, if you don’t take care of it, may make you look older beyond your years. The delicate, thin skin on our hands shows veins and bones as we age because, just as we lose fat and collagen under the skin on our faces and bodies — we also lose it on our hands. But because the skin on our hands is so much thinner and there’s not much fat there to begin with, we’re quickly left with crypt-keeper paws.
Keep your hands soft, supple and youthful-looking with these tips.
When washing dishes, cleaning the house or gardening — really any activity besides swimming that has your hands submerged in water or dirt — wear gloves. Once the moisture barrier of your skin has been compromised, it’s hard to restore. The moisture barrier is the outer layer of skin comprised of skin cells and lipids that protect you from bacteria and irritants. You can tell that your moisture barrier has been compromised when your skin prunes, like it did when you were little and spent too much time in the bath. A compromised barrier can lead to dry, itchy, even scaly skin — and skin that ultimately looks old and wrinkled.
Protect your hands with rubber gloves around the house and wear gardening gloves outdoors. And slathering hands with moisturizer then layering on soft cotton gloves while you sleep is a great way to infuse dry skin with moisture overnight.
Just as you should be wearing sunscreen on your face and body all year long, you should also be applying it to your hands, particularly the often-forgotten tops of the hands. Sun damage can lead to dryness, wrinkles and age spots. You’re always left with sunscreen on the palms of your hands after applying to your face. Simply rub your hands together with the leftover lotion, focusing on the outside of your hands.
Moisturize and Treat Skin
There are many moisturizing treatments made specifically for hands. The formulas are often thicker than what you’d use on your face as the skin on your hands probably doesn’t break out or get oily. Creams made specifically for hands also often contain ingredients meant to form a barrier to protect delicate skin and lock in moisture. You can use natural moisturizers like coconut or sweet almond oil or invest in a specialized product off the shelf.
Clarins Hand and Nail Treatment Cream ($33) contains shea butter to protect skin and Japanese mulberry extract to fight dark spots.
Clinique Even Better Dark Spot Correcting Hand Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 15 ($18 for 30 ml, $33 for 75 ml) both brightens dark spots and prevents them with its built-in SPF. Come October, Aveda will be releasing Aveda Hand Relief Night Renewal Serum, a dark spot-fighting, moisturizing serum that promises to volumize and fight fine lines while you sleep.
Of course, exfoliation is just as good for your hands as it is the rest of your body. Sloughing off dead skin cells with a nourishing scrub can prep dry skin for a rich moisturizer. Try L’Occitane One Minute Hand Scrub ($24), or create your own DIY scrub using olive or coconut oil and brown sugar.
Spa Treatments and More
When you get a manicure, splurge for the paraffin wax treatment. It doesn’t just feel nice, the wax leaves a protective layer on your skin that protects it and keeps it moisturized. Or skip the mani and go straight for the paraffin. You can also buy at-home paraffin kits if you’re passionate about regular treatments.
However, if simple skincare and prevention isn’t enough for you, there are dermatologist and plastic surgery procedures you can undergo for younger-looking hands.
Laser resurfacing, which is commonly done on the face, can help regenerate collagen under the skin on your hands as well as targeting dark spots. Depending on the severity of the spots, laser treatments may only need to be repeated a couple of times for long-lasting results. If you’re looking for a quick wrinkle fix, you can have a filler injected under the skin on your hands to add fullness and smooth out fine lines. Injections should be repeated twice a year. A combination of both treatments is common and often referred to as Hand Rejuvenation and can cost up to $2,500 per treatment.