How do our hands give away our age? First, they begin to look bony and fragile as “plumpness” under the skin diminishes, Dr. Friedler explains. As time passes, veins in our hands also become more prominent and the skin starts to thin, looking crepe-y.
“Sun exposure only magnifies these effects, speckling our hands with brown spots,” she says. “Fine lines and wrinkles add up as well. But there are ways to rejuvenate our hands so they look more youthful – and more in line with a relatively young-looking face that’s received more age-averting attention.”
Cosmetic procedures for the hands
Many of us slather on hand cream each day in hopes of smoothing out rough skin and fine lines. But treatments to combat aging hands took a giant step forward a few years ago when the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the cosmetic filler Radiesse. This injectable dermal filler tackles one of aging’s biggest clues, returning fullness and softness to the backs of the hands, Dr. Friedler says.
“By injecting Radiesse into the skin on the backs of the hands, lost volume is quickly restored,” she adds. In addition, the dermal fill injections help stimulate the body’s own production of collagen, enhancing the end result. Radiesse treatment effects can last from 1 to 2 years.
Another winning procedure to achieve younger-looking hands is laser treatment. This tackles the brown pigment in age spots and freckles, breaking it down and sloughing it off a short time later.
“Most older adults have some sun damage on the tops of their hands, which can be unsightly and even embarrassing,” Dr. Friedler explains. “Laser treatments, which usually require 3 to 5 sessions to attain full effect, do an amazing job of getting rid of the sun’s worst damage.”
At-home hand tips
Cosmetic treatments for younger-looking hands will work even better if you also take easy, everyday steps to slow the hands of time. Dr. Friedler suggests these at-home tips:
· Use soap-free cleansers, which aren’t as drying.
· Wear cotton gloves inside rubber gloves while doing wet work such as dishwashing and use work gloves when doing hand-intense chores such as gardening.
· Moisturize each time you wash your hands or use hand sanitizer with rich creams or emollients. “Bonus points for using moisturizers with retinol or hydroquinone in them, which help lighten age spots,” Dr. Friedler says.
· Give yourself moisturizing hand and cuticle massages, which can help nutrient-rich blood circulate to the hands and nails more efficiently.
· Get manicures but keep fingernails short and avoid cutting cuticles
Most importantly, Dr. Friedler urges us to apply sunscreen on our hands (as well as other exposed skin areas) every day, even in colder months. “Even ultraviolet light exposure on our hands through our car windshields adds up over time, freckling and spotting our hands,” she says.
Ultimately, the best approach to younger-looking hands is to treat your hands as you would your face, Dr. Friedler says.
“Whatever combination of anti-aging tactics you use, be diligent and consistent,” she adds.
Suzanne J. Friedler, M.D. F.A.A.D., is a board-certified fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology, with expertise in many areas of medical and cosmetic dermatology. She has been with Advanced Dermatology PC since 2002.
Advanced Dermatology P.C. and the Center for Laser and Cosmetic Surgery (New York & New Jersey) is one of the leading dermatology centers in the nation, offering highly experienced physicians in the fields of cosmetic and laser dermatology as well as plastic surgery and state-of-the-art medical technologies. www.advanceddermatologypc.com.