As we stand in front of mirrors, scrutinizing each new crease and sunspot on our faces and plotting new ways to counteract them, our hands are quietly betraying our ages. The skin on our hands is thin to begin with. Couple that with near constant exposure to the sun and you have all you need to fuel various signs of premature aging. And yet, we focus much of our attention on our faces.
Over the last few years, that’s begun to change. Cosmetic procedures involving the hands, both preventative and corrective, have skyrocketed. And as the demand has grown, so too have the rejuvenating treatments available. In this post and the next one, I’ll highlight all of the options. We’ll start with those you can do on your own. Then, in my next post, we’ll get into in-office treatments.
Excuse me for starting in an obvious place, but any discussion of hand rejuvenation should begin and end with the daily application of sunscreen. Without it, everything else is basically a waste of time and money.
The thing is, even the most disciplined among us tend to neglect their hands. We either forget to apply sunscreen to our hands or we unintentionally wash it off right after application. But the backs of your hands deserve just as much consideration as your face, particularly if you want to keep them looking the same age as your face.
Exposure to UV rays contributes to hyperpigmentation on and collagen breakdown in your hands. It also increases your likelihood of developing skin cancer. Which makes a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 even more valuable than the most expensive anti-aging creams out there.
Over-the-counter retinoids, while not quite as potent as the prescription kind, are capable of stimulating collagen production (and possibly elastin, too), which decreases wrinkling and hyperpigmentation. That goes for both the face and hands.
If you’re new to retinoids, try mixing it with moisturizer and applying it at night. The moisturizer will help soften dry skin, which is a common side effect of retinoids, and slathering it on at night reduces the likelihood you’ll wash it off. Not to mention, retinoids make skin more sensitive to the sun.
Vitamin C serums are hailed for their ability to reverse sun damage on the face and protect against future sun damage. That holds true for the hands, too. Even more, vitamin C penetrates the skin almost immediately, so there’s little chance you’ll unintentionally wash it off.
Look for vitamin C l-ascorbic acid rather than vitamin C esters. And it should come in a dark bottle because vitamin C will quickly deteriorate in the presence of light and oxygen.