Are Your Hands Giving Away Your Age?

With all the attention given to anti-aging skincare and procedures, you see a lot of ladies running around looking beautiful and way younger than their actual age.

Until you look at their hands. Talk about a dead giveaway.

So many women neglect their hands, which are subjected to constant sun exposure. Since the skin on your hands is thin and fragile by nature, it really can’t handle the onslaught of damage and come out looking young. UVA rays from the sun can penetrate through clouds and glass windows, which means even a simple drive to the grocery store makes skin susceptible to damage.

As UV damage accumulates, collagen (your skin’s support structure) starts to break down and give your skin that loose, crepe-paper look. It also causes melanin to kick into overdrive, which can trigger brown spots as early as your 30s.

Don’t freak out – there is plenty you can do to stop and even reverse this march of time.

First and foremost, apply sunscreen to your hands every single day, rain or shine. When you apply sunscreen to your face and neck in the morning, just slap some on the back of your hands while you’re at it. And for prolonged outdoor activities like bicycling, golf and gardening, pull a Downton Abbey and slip on a pair of gloves.

The same anti-aging ingredients that you use on your face are effective on your hands. Retinoids (either prescription or OTC retinol) are the gold standard for rebuilding collagen. Antioxidants help too – look for high percentages of green tea or vitamin C. Again, just use your regular face product –you only need a small drop to rub into your hands.

For the truly devoted, fractional laser treatments at your dermatologist’s office can help. These treatments send a blast of intense heat underneath the skin’s surface, triggering collagen production and helping firm up skin. Studies done on patients’ hands showed a 26–50% improvement in wrinkles, pigmentation and texture after six months, but multiple treatments are needed for optimal results.

The simplest way to make your hands look younger? Ditch your hand sanitizer addiction. The alcohol and chemicals can dehydrate skin and make wrinkles look worse. Instead, wash with moisturizing hand soap and then load up on hydrating hand cream before you hit the sack at night.