How to prevent your hands from aging
The face no longer gives away a woman’s age, it’s the hands.
“There’s that moment when you look down and realize you’ve got your mother’s hands,” said a friend when I told her I was writing this article.
Most people take care of their face – moisturizers, serums, sunblock and cosmetic tweaks – but the hands (and the neck) are still neglected in the anti-aging race.
“We spend so much time on the face yet we don’t spend time on our hands,” says Doctor Stephen Mulholland of SpaMedica.
Dr. Tony N. Nakhla agrees. In an email interview, he pointed out the hands are often neglected and taken for granted. He says, “A lot of women take care of their faces, but forget about their aging hands. Aside from the face, the skin on the hands is the most visible skin on your body. Your hands need extra care because they’re always doing so much for us and, unfortunately, so often taken for granted. Knowing how to maintain your hands as you age is the best way to make sure they look your best and that you, in turn, look your youngest.”
Aging hands tend to follow a pattern according to Doctor Mulholland. “Hands hold up pretty well with a reasonable lifestyle,” he says. “You might notice some aging in your forties but they fall apart in your fifties and look dreadful in your sixties.”
He did say that there are ways to prevent your hands from looking “dreadful” and they can be broken down into three levels of treatment: preventative, non-surgical and surgical.
You can minimize aging with sunblock says Doctor Nakhla. “Remember to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 or higher on the hands and reapply throughout the day, especially after frequent hand-washing.”
Doctor Mulholland also suggests gloves if you garden or even if you drive, especially over long distances. He also suggests extending your skincare regime from your face to your hands (and neck). This regimes, according to both doctors should include retinods, glycolic acids and antioxidants.
“They cannot completely reverse signs of aging hands, but these topicals can be used to improve the skin and prevent further damage,” says Doctor Nakhla.
If your hands have a few spots here or there, Doctor Nakhla says that lasers can make them look better. He says, “New laser technologies can treat uneven skin tone and texture, as well as age-related pigmentation changes such as age spots or liver spots.” He also says that there are specific lasers that can be used to treat dark spots and gets rid of them in a week.
Doctor Mulholland also recommends lasers, explaining that IPL and Fractional lasers can be used to tighten the skin of the hand, restoring some of the youthful firmness.
“Hands deflate,” says Doctor Mulholland. “There’s an increase in wrist creases and there’s a descent of the skin. It starts to look like a chicken leg instead of a hand.” Restoration of volume to the hand can come from using fat from other parts of the body like the belly or the bottom, which can last for two to five years; injectibles that stimulate collagens such as Radiesses or Sculptra or by using other fillers like sugar gels such as Juverderm or Restylane. He warns that there is a risk of lumpiness and says to find an experienced plastic surgeon.
Doctor Mulholland said that in the last decade, he’s seen more patients become aware of treating the hands at the same time as the face. He says, “More patients are aware of their hands as a result of blogs,” but even then it’s only 50 per cent who ask about treatment.
The ultimate goal, he says, is to keep the hands and the face in the same decade.