An Expert Guide To Keeping Your Hands Young

Along with your eyes and neck, hands are one of the first areas to show signs of ageing and develop dark spots and wrinkles. But how often do you think about taking care of them, apart from a bit of hand cream? The good news is that the right remedies can slow down the process and keep your hands looking youthful, no matter your age. We asked three experts to explain how.
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This Is Why Hands Are Prone To Ageing

“Our skin will inevitably begin to age, wrinkle and slacken, but hands are one of the first areas to show it,” advises Nialm Holmes, skin specialist and founder of DermaSpa. “It is said that people can correctly guess someone’s age by simply looking at their hands alone. Why? Because they are put through more daily wear and tear than any other body part. We cook with them, clean with them, always expose them to the elements, and let them come into direct contact with hundreds of different chemicals daily, yet we continue to neglect them. It’s important to think about these factors when caring for our hands and to remember that when it comes to anti-ageing, it’s not just our faces that deserve the best treatment.” Dr Priya Verma, medical director at Nova Aesthetic Clinic, agrees: “The skin on our hands is less able to stabilise the few lipids and moisture-binding components that it has, so the skin here becomes vulnerable to dehydration and the ageing effects of dryness. That is why it’s so important to put hydration back in as much as you can – especially after using some hand gels and soaps which can be quite stripping, especially as we age.”

There Are Some Early Warning Signs

“Hands can show pigmentation, sunspots, a loss of elasticity, volume and wrinkles – all of which are signs of ageing,” says Vanessa Charest, aesthetic nurse at London Real Skin. “They are particularly prone to dark spots as the skin here is so exposed to the sun. Just as you would your face, you should be layering your hands with SPF daily to protect against harmful UV rays that,, over time break down the collagen and cause pigmentation. Nialm adds: “Surprisingly, hand creams with an in-built SPF aren’t as easy to find as you think. If you’re using a moisturiser with SPF, make sure you also slather a small amount onto your hands. You should always reapply after you’ve washed your hands, too.”

Key Ingredients Play A Part

“Use similar ingredients and textures to those you would on your neck and décolletage,” says Nialm. “Ingredients like shea butter, hyaluronic acid (HA), glycerine and vitamins C and E are great for keeping hands supple and smooth. You can seek out retinol to repair and regenerate cells, too. Likewise, if sun damage is your key issue, look for ingredients like arbutin, kojic acid and azaleic acids to brighten skin and reduce pigmentation.” Dr Priya adds: “Ceramides are another key ingredient to try. They help to form an impermeable barrier to ensure moisture stays locked in deep in your skin. As mentioned above, HA is also essential as it hydrates and plumps, giving the appearance of fuller-looking skin, even if it’s anything but.” 

Where Possible, Focus On Using Serums

“While moisturisers are effective, serums contain more concentrated and potent ingredients, which are absorbed more easily,” explains Nialm. “This makes them a great option for those looking to target specific problems. Try applying a serum to your hands nightly, locking in its benefits with a moisturiser on top. All the ingredients mentioned above are a great place to start, but serums with hyaluronic acid are also key as they replenish hydration and keep dry, flaky skin at bay.” Vanessa adds: “Try a serum containing vitamin E. This is a powerful antioxidant and it’s proven to prevent against further oxidative damage – think sun exposure and free radicals – while brightening and refreshing the skin.” 

Why Exfoliation Is Important

“You might think you exfoliate enough just by washing your hands, but alcohol-based soaps – particularly now with the pandemic – can dry out the hands and cause irritation,” says Vanessa. “A chemical exfoliant once a week (like a glycolic acid) is a better option as it will remove the build-up of dead skin cells for softer, smoother and brighter-looking skin. You only need to do it occasionally, but it will make a huge difference to your hands’ appearance.” Dr Priya continues: “Look to hand creams that contain AHAs. These will help to increase your skin’s cell turnover and, as a result, will reduce pigmentation and dark spots. Another benefit of AHAs is that, gradually, you’ll find they help to produce more collagen and elastin within your skin for a more youthful look. Exfoliation can be in the form of gentle scrubs, too – but stick to the process occasionally, as too frequently will have a stripping effect.” 

Avoid ‘Volumising’ Hand Creams 

“Sadly, there are no creams that can replace volume lost in our hands,” explains Nialm. “The only answer with skincare is to use a product that hydrates and moisturises. This alone will have a plumping result, but that’s down to ingredients like hyaluronic filling spheres that temporarily ‘fill’ the surface of the skin – there’s not any other magic going on.” Vanessa agrees: “We don’t suggest volumising hand creams as they can trigger a temporary inflammatory response, causing hands to swell – like the way a plumping lip gloss might work. Instead, stick to hydration and look at more invasive options, too, if you feel the need.” 

There Are Multiple Options To Consider

“If you’re on a budget, simple tweaks to your daily lifestyle, like wearing rubber gloves when washing up and drinking plenty of water, will increase hydration,” recommends Nialm. “Likewise, wearing an SPF daily will prevent age spots, while unguent creams (which don’t have to be costly) will always deliver the right amount of hydration to counteract the dryness regular washing can cause. However, if you feel the damage on your hands has gone too far, there are some effective treatments. Peels, laser resurfacing, microneedling and Lumecca Intense Pulse Light (IPL) are all great ways to treat sun-damaged skin and reduce sun spots. The latter is one of the most effective treatments – you can clear up to 90% of pigmentation within two treatments.” 

These Are The Best Treatments

“You can also seek out injectables for your hands,” adds Nialm. “While more invasive, they are very effective when it comes to hydrating and moisturising the hands. Mesotherapy is particularly great; this is where multiple droplets of a variety of ingredients are injected into the skin to target multiple problems – from laxity to pigmentation. You then have Profhilo injections which are a cocktail of hyaluronic acid and vitamins to replenish and retain hydration in the hands – think of this like moisturising from underneath your skin. These types of treatment are great for restoring elasticity and volume, too, with results that last for up to 18 months.” Dr Priya finishes: “When it comes to skin ageing generally, a big misconception is that the focus should only be on skincare and treatments. It’s also important to take stock of your diet and lifestyle, these can impact ageing hands just as much as things like UV. Smokers will also find lines appear quicker on their hands, while alcohol will leave them dry and your nails brittle. With this in mind, it’s important you take an overall approach that takes everything into account – only then will you see good, long-lasting results.” 

Always Remember It Pays To Start Early

“Prevention is always better (and less costly) than the cure,” finishes Nialm. “With this in mind, it’s key you get into a simple routine early of hand-friendly habits. This will make everything less of a chore when you really need to seek out treatments. Keep a hand cream or serum by your kitchen sink, at your desk, in your car – everywhere you can so that you’re reminded to apply it. Investing in rubber gloves is also the simplest – but most effective – change you can make. This is because water contact strips our hands of natural oils, causing excessive dryness and the effect it has on the skin isn’t pretty.” 
 
SL Recommends Visiting: DermaSpaThe Esho ClinicDr Richard Sibthorpe Aesthetics Clinic Margaret Dabbs Clinic 
 

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