How To Get Hands So Young Looking, They'll Get Carded
You go to the gym. You wear foundation and moisturizer with sunscreen. Hell, you even avoid sunlight! And, when it comes to your lovely face, strangers are stumped when trying to guess your age.
But, what about your hands? Those visible signs of aging begin to show over time: brown spots, uneven skin tone, crepey wrinkles. Yet, an effective regimen — or more hardcore options for those of you who prefer the ultimate results — can minimize the appearance of aging skin. Here’s how to get the, uh, upper hand.
Even Out Skin Tone
As we clock in the years, the rate of our skin’s cell turnover slows down, making an uneven skin tone more obvious. NYC-based dermatologist Dr. Sherry Shieh recommends choosing products that contain vitamin C, alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs), and retinoids, which brighten skin and exfoliate dead skin cells.
“Rather than purchasing separate hand cosmeceuticals, multitask your facial products on the tops of the hands at bedtime,” Dr. Shieh says. Arm yourself with OTC options like SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic, which contains a stabilized high concentration of vitamin C; retinols such as Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair; and AHAs like DCL AHA Revitalizing Cream. Of course, prescription-level retinoids, as well as superficial chemical peels, can help even skin tone, too.
Reduce the Appearance of Wrinkles, Fines Lines, and “Crepey" Skin
No one wants skin on the tops of their hands to look like papier mâché. Fortunately, some of the previously mentioned products used to even out skin tone do double duty to treat wrinkles, fine lines, and crepey skin.
“Dry skin can make the skin appear wrinkly, so it’s important to use a hand moisturizer consistently,” Dr. Shieh says. Easy enough. In addition, keep rocking the vitamin C, retinol, or prescription-strength retinoid to build collagen, reduce fine lines, and improve overall texture. If you prefer a next-level alternative, “nonablative fractional laser resurfacing can also stimulate collagen production and improve texture,” Dr. Shieh says.
If your hands start to look too bony for your tastes, there are options to enhance volume and fat loss in the hands. But, a cream won’t do the trick. “There is very little fat on the back of the hands,” says Dr. Shieh. As we age, we lose collagen and elastin, making the tendons and veins more prominent. “The most effective treatment is to restore volume with a dermal filler,” she adds. Commonly used fillers include Radiesse, hyaluronic acids, and fat.
Reduce Brown Spots from the Sun
Whoever coined the term “liver spots” certainly wasn’t being very kind. Also, “senile freckles”? No comment. “Topical retinoids, hydroquinone, and botanical agents can help with hyperpigmentation disorders, but do not lighten sunspots appreciably,” Dr. Shieh says. “For light spots, a series of superficial to medium-depth peels are effective. For dark spots, the most effective treatment is a series of intense pulsed light treatments or a focused pigmented laser treatment.”
Your Daily To-Do List
Random treatments and the occasional use of topicals are not the answer to younger looking hands. Committing to a daily regimen is key. “Always wear gloves in the winter and when washing dishes and cleaning the house,” Dr. Shieh recommends. She recommends fragrance-free, moisturizing cleansers that contain ceramids or glycerin. One to try: Avalon Organics Glycerin Hand Soap.)
“Immediately after cleansing, while hands are slightly damp, apply a moisturizing hand cream,” Shieh says. (Some of her faves? CeraVe Therapeutic Hand Cream, Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream, and Eucerin Plus Intensive Repair Hand Creme.
And, don’t forget the sunscreen! “Apply your facial sunscreen to your hands,” Shieh says. “Use a physical sunblock with zinc and titanium dioxide to get the best protection.” You won’t start aging in reverse, but your hands will be protected from further damage.
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photos by Maria del Rio for Refinery29