Your hands are one of the first parts of your body to show signs of aging, yet they are woefully neglected by many women in their beauty regime. And the bad news is that despite the time, money and effort you spend on keeping your face and body looking youthful, it could be your hands that give your age away. So, just what is it that causes your hands to age so rapidly, and what can be done to reverse the effects?
What causes aging hands?
The prime culprit for causing your paws to pucker is your skin’s old enemy, the sun. You wouldn’t dream of sunbathing or spending a hot summer’s day outdoors without applying sunblock to your face, or shading it with a hat, but how often do you apply sun protection to your hands?
The skin on your hands is much thinner than that on your face or neck, and the older you get, the thinner and more fragile the skin on your hands becomes, leaving it more vulnerable to sun damage than anywhere else on your body. In addition to papery wrinkled skin, veins and tendons become more visible, and those dreaded brown liver spots form on the backs on your hands.
The first thing you must do to combat the sun’s ageing effects on your hands is to apply a moisturising sunblock with a protection factor of at least SPF15. It’s a good idea to treat your hands with a little of whatever skin treatment you use on your face, whether that be anti-ageing serum, day or night cream. Treat your hands in the morning, evening and whenever you go outside, rain or shine.
In addition to the sun’s negative effects, frequent exposure to harsh chemicals and cold water is very hard on your hands’ delicate skin. Always wear rubber gloves when using cleaning products around your home, and wear gloves when working or exercising outside in the cold winter months.
Hand rejuvenation treatments
If your hands are determined to give away your age, don’t despair. There are a number of cosmetic treatments available that can help.
Vitamin C serums
Before venturing down the surgical route in order to correct liver spots on your hands, you could try a cosmetic solution. There are many skin serums on the market that contain vitamin C, hyaluronic acid and other additives that claim to relieve liver spots and other blemishes, whilst conditioning and protecting the skin. These vary in price from a few dollars to a few hundred, depending on the brand.
The efficacy of such products is open to question, and any bleaching effects are usually temporary.
Bulging veins and tendons beneath thin, wrinkled skin are guaranteed to make your hands look older. Plumping treatments replace lost fatty deposits with fillers beneath the top layer of the skin. The two most popular fillers used for hand-plumping procedures are a synthetic substance, “Restylane”, and your own body fat.
If you opt to use your own fat, your doctor will extract a minute amount from your buttocks or thighs using a very thin hollow needle. The fat is then transferred to the backs of your hands via a small hole made on the top of your wrist. Restylane is injected in the same way. The procedure takes place under a local anaesthetic and recovery is immediate. Your hands will appear more youthful and less wrinkled straight away.
The results of the procedure last for three years plus if you choose the fat filler, or for six to nine months with the Restylane option. The fat injections are quite expensive at around $3,000 for both hands, whilst the Restylane comes in cheaper at just $1,000.
Laser treatments can be used to tackle brown spots and areas of high pigmentation on the backs of the hands. A laser beam is focussed on the area to be treated and the discolouration is burned away.
Following treatment, light scabs will appear over the brown spots. These will disappear after a week or so, leaving no scarring and clear, spot-free skin. Treatment costs around $600 for both hands. The effects are permanent, as long as you protect your skin from the sun following treatment.
Chemical peels can also be used to get rid of brown spots and uneven pigmentation. Chemicals are used to burn away the top layer of your skin, taking the spots away too.
Although effective, this treatment is not suitable if you have very thin or sensitive skin, as it can be harsh. You may suffer from some irritation and reddening of the skin for a few days following the procedure, and there is a risk that you may have some residual scarring. A chemical peel would cost around $700.
Sclerotherapy and laser ablation
Common and unsightly blemishes on the backs of the hands are bulging blood vessels and spider veins. Sclerotherapy and laser ablation can help to get rid of these. During the sclerotherapy procedure, a mild irritant substance is injected into the veins to cut off the blood supply. As a result, the vein shrinks and is reabsorbed into the body. Laser ablation works in much the same way, except that a focussed laser light is used to seal the veins beneath the skin, rather than a chemical substance.
The treatments are both relatively painless, but it does take a few weeks for the results to be seen. You’d expect to pay around $500 per treatment for both hands, and you would usually need two treatments.
Many clinicians actually prefer to use this procedure only for tiny spider veins, as the larger veins in the back of your hands would be used to site an IV line in the event that you were admitted to hospital.
When it comes to keeping your hands looking young, protection is the key. Always use a good-quality sunblock and moisturiser morning and evening, and when you go out of doors. If you have gorgeous young-looking hands, why not share your secret with other Cougars in the comments section below?