The reflection you see in the mirror each morning as you brush your teeth, does that person look like you?
The signs of aging have a way of sneaking up on us and making us look years older than we feel. The good news is, there are ways to better align the version of ourselves we see with the one everyone else sees.
I’ll be exploring how a board-certified dermatologist can realistically and safely diminish many of the signs of aging over the course of a few blog posts. In my last one, I discussed treating age spots with microdermabrasion. Here, I’ll focus on aging hands, which, next to the face, tend to be one of the first spots on our bodies that betray our age.
As we age, our hands lose their fullness. The skin also becomes lax and develops a crepe-paper-like texture. The consequences of that series of events can be most apparent in our hands, where the skin seems to become almost transparent as the veins underneath become more noticeable.
To restore the fullness, a dermatologist can inject a filler or fat from another part of your body. Calcium hydroxylapatite is a filler approved by the FDA specifically to treat the hands. You’ll see more fullness immediately, and those results will last between six months to a year. (Other fillers not specifically designated for the hands are also commonly used to similar effect.)
Removing age spots
Microdermabrasion is perhaps the most effective way to lighten and remove age spots from aging hands, but it’s by no means the only way. Cryotherapy (freezing), laser therapy, and chemical peeling are all popular treatments that yield great results. Skin-tightening creams and lotions are another option. They take the longest to deliver results, but they cost less.
If you aren’t already, apply sunscreen to your aging hands every day. That’ll go a long way toward preventing wrinkles on your hands. If you’ve already noticed wrinkles, a dermatologist may recommend one or more of the following treatments:
- Lotion containing a retinol or glycolic acid
- Mild chemical peel, every month to three months
- Laser therapy (Can also diminish age spots.)
As I mentioned, our skin becomes increasingly lax as we age. That’s because it gradually loses collagen and elastin, which keep our skin firm and plump while we’re young.
Radiofrequency has proven to be very effective at tightening loose skin on the hands. It’s a procedure that sends heat deep into the skin. Most people usually only need one treatment. Laser therapy or injecting filler can also tighten loose skin.
Smoothing rough skin
Our skin holds less water as we get older, which can cause it to feel dry and rough. A dermatologist may recommend smoothing the rough skin on your hands with a mild chemical peel. By applying an effective moisturizer every day—your dermatologist can suggest one—the smoother skin should be fairly easy to maintain.
There’s no stopping nature from running its course, unfortunately. But each of these treatments, in their own ways, can temporarily reverse many of the most noticeable effects, and with minimal downtime and maintenance.
The results, however, depend largely on the skill and experience of the person performing the treatment, so it’s critical to not trust just anyone. Seek out a board-certified dermatologist who has the expertise and training necessary to perform these treatments safely.