How to Stop Your Hands From Aging
When it comes to skin care, our face gets all the attention — but what about our hands? Think about it: we spend so much time and money on manicures, so surely our hands deserve some VIP treatments too. After all, just like our facial skin, the skin on our hands needs moisture, UV protection and a vitamin-rich serum to stay young and plump. For the most up-to-date advice on how to stop your hands from aging, we gathered the latest research in cosmetic science.
Our hands and aging
The FDA reports that 80% of skin aging is due to UV light exposure. When the sun hits our skin and emits radiation, it releases free radicals that steal energy from our healthy cells. That’s how cellular decay happens (AKA the aging process).
Over time, you’ll notice changes in the tone and texture of your hands. “Dry, scaly skin, brittle nails, and dark age spots can become problems as people get older. Your hands can also develop a skeletal appearance because you lose fat in some places as you age”, says dermatologist Dr. Amy Kassouf.
Poor lifestyle habits can also accelerate the aging process. Smoking, drinking, poor diet and stress are all contributing factors — and of course, we can’t ignore the natural causes of simply getting older.
How to prevent signs of aging hands
Warding off signs of aging hands is never a one-solution treatment. It requires a combination of methods, some that work immediately and others that are preventative.
But there are countless anti-aging treatments for hands on the market.
Let’s review the most common treatments that are known to keep your hands looking youthful.
Use an SPF lotion
If you want to learn how to prevent signs of hand aging, make SPF lotion your top priority. The reason is simple: preventing future problems is easier than trying to reverse new ones. And since UV light is the leading cause of cellular damage, applying SPF is your first line of defense to protect your skin against discoloration, wrinkles and laxity.
How to choose the right treatment
For the best results, you can’t simply choose any standard SPF lotion — not all formulas are made equally. For starters, did you know that SPF lotions can be either chemical or mineral?
Mineral sunscreens are much gentler on the skin. As LA-based Dermatologist Dr. Jason Emer says, "I'm not the biggest fan of chemical sunscreens. I find that they irritate people a lot.” Instead, look for clean formulas made with titanium dioxide to help protect your hands from aging.
Dermal fillers for aging hands
For those who can brave needles, dermal fillers are an increasingly popular treatment for aging hands. Dermal fillers are a gel-like substance that contain hyaluronic acid, a gooey particle that plumps up your skin with water, making it look young and dewy.
Although our bodies naturally produce hyaluronic acid, the version contained in dermal fillers is synthetically made. The product, however, will still “act” like a natural part of your body chemistry after it combines with your native tissue.
How to choose the right treatment
You should choose a practitioner who’s extremely skilled at performing fillers on hands to avoid complications. Keep in mind that our hands have many high-risk areas that are difficult to treat. There are protruding bones, veins and tendons covered by a thin layer of skin — so a lot can go wrong.
As the FDA warns, “Rare but serious risks include: scarring, blurred vision, partial vision loss, and blindness if the dermal filler is inadvertently injected into a blood vessel.” Other complications include discoloration (a blue tinge) if the product is injected too superficially. Another common concern is visible hard bumps which can happen with poor injection technique.
In some cases, the risks outweigh the benefits of injecting hands with dermal fillers. So, for those who prefer a less invasive option, focus on topicals treatments for aging hands.
Topical creams for hand wrinkles
To improve skin texture, brightness and moisture, consider a topical cream that can fade dark spots. The hard part is choosing one — as we all know, there are countless remedies available that promise to lighten and tighten our hands. Fortunately, there’s a simple trick to narrow down your options: check the ingredient list.
How to choose the right treatment
Always look for high-quality sources of vitamin C. It can come in a variety of natural forms such as sea buckthorn and lemon, or a chemical form like ascorbic acid.
According to NY-based Dermatologist Dr. Joshua Zeichner, “Vitamin C is the most powerful active ingredient you can have in a topical treatment. It neutralizes free radical damage and protects the skin against UV light and other environmental aggressors, as well as blocking abnormal production of pigmentation to even skin tone and fade dark spots.” That’s why dermatologists like Dr. Zeichner recommend hand creams that contain high levels of vitamin C like the EMK Lumina Hand Treatment. It’s formulated with sea buckthorn, which according to the Journal of Food Science, “has ten times more vitamin C than lemon”. If you want to diminish the appearance of dark spots along with a hand cream, the EMK Age Defying Hand Duo which comes with Stem Cell White Caviar, is the perfect option.
Another must-have ingredient to check off your list is bioplacenta. Extracted from the agave cactus plant, bioplacenta is a unique protein with remarkable healing abilities. Clinical trials show that this ingredient increases cell oxygenation by 70%. With more oxygen, skin cells are stimulated to self-heal and regenerate, helping restore the look of younger looking hands.
Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) for hand rejuvenation
Imagine using your own blood cells to restore the youthful glow of your hands. That’s the science behind the Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) treatment. Although it’s normally meant for improving facial texture, complexion and volume, it’s starting to gain popularity as a remedy for aging hands.
Here's how PRP works: according to the Department of Dermatology and Venereology at Damascus University, “PRP's work mechanism depends on the fact that platelets contain important substances called (growth factors), which have a known role in the process of reform and renewal of tissues.” So think of the plasma in your blood as a special healing antidote, and when injected into the skin, it activates the rejuvenating abilities of your dermal cells to grow collagen.
Should you choose this treatment?
While the logic behind PRP sounds great, there are virtually no studies proving that PRP is an effective treatment for hand wrinkles.
In a published paper, “Platelet Rich Plasma: Myth or Reality”, two researchers confirm that there is not enough hard data to prove PRP works. Since more clinical trials are urgently needed, it’s better to invest in remedies for hands that are backed by research. The truth is that many regenerative technologies for skin, like PRP, are still relatively new and need to evolve further.
Many people neglect their hands in their skincare routine. Yet ironically, this body part is one of our most expressive and dynamic attributes (other than our face). By learning how to prevent signs of hand aging, you’ll feel much more confident about their beauty for years to come.
About The Author: Rachel Esco is an educator and consultant in advanced cosmetics who empowers consumers to make informed choices about skin care. With a profound interest in beauty and biochemistry, her articles explore the latest breakthroughs in epigenetics and anti-aging technologies. Rachel is also a passionate advocate for the Beauty Conscious Movement, promoting the use of environmentally safe materials to create a zero waste culture.