We spend a lot of time (and money) making our faces look younger, but it’s easy to forget about your hands. When they start showing signs of aging like prominent veins and age spots, it can be especially frustrating.
The skin on the backs of the hands is no different than the skin on your face. It’s slightly thinner and has fewer old glands, but like your face, daily sun exposure takes a toll, as does constant movement (which wears down fat and collagen). Thinner skin also means more prominent veins, and when combined with fat loss that comes along with age, this can leave hands looking skeletal. And don’t forget those dreaded “liver spots” (which have nothing to do with the liver, so the origin of this term is a mystery). These steps can help keep your hands youthful ... or make them look that way once again.
1. Daily sunscreen will prevent collagen loss and pigment changes. Choose an SPF hand cream or SPF body lotion with antioxidants because they act like a backup to help minimize damage from UV rays that sneak through the sunscreen protection. (If you’re in a bind and don’t have a hand- or body-specific product, you can also apply a little extra facial sunscreen on your hands.)
2. Anti-aging face lotions, serums and creams with retinol help stimulate collagen production. Smear some onto the backs of your hands at night. If you’re not satisfied after six months, you may need something stronger; ask your dermatologist about Retin-A, Atralin or Tazorac.
3. Wear gloves. It might sound a little crazy, but it works. If you’re a golfer, wear two golf gloves instead of one. Bloxsun also makes fingerless gloves that are ideal for boating or other high sun exposure activities. You may want to consider driving gloves as well, since UVA rays can go through the windshield and age your hands.
4. Fillers can be injected to hide prominent veins. They accomplish this by plumping the skin on the backs of the hands, which makes the surface look even. Fat can be injected, but Perlane, Radiesse or Restylane are more commonly used. Another option is ablative lasers, which will also boost collagen, and at the same time rid age spots and crepiness.
5. Last, don’t underestimate the benefits of simple nail grooming. Pretty, filed nails (with or without polish) and well-hydrated skin will make your hands look more appealing, instantly. And for an instant manicure refresher, simply rub a little cuticle oil on your nails and surrounding skin.
Dr. Leslie Baumann is a board-certified dermatologist and the CEO of the Baumann Cosmetic & Research Institute in Miami Beach