I want to meet the woman who has been protecting her hands from the effects of aging since she was a teenager and, well, shake her hand. With so much emphasis on how we should care for our skin to avoid acne, wrinkles and fine lines, the rest of our bodies are often overlooked. Be honest: how many of us stopped for one second in our twenties to consider the fact that our hands need protection, too?
“As the old saying goes, ‘you can tell a woman’s true age by her hands,'” says Dr. David E. Bank, director of The Center for Dermatology, Cosmetic & Laser Surgery. “Many women don’t take care of their hands, at least, not as well as they take care of their face, and the aging skin on a woman’s hands really shows it. The skin on the hands is subject to the same damaging effects of the sun and environment as the face, especially since we rarely cover them except in the coldest weather.”
This neglect can result in your hands showing significant signs of aging. “Eighty percent of wrinkles are caused by the usual suspects like sun exposure and smoking, and just like the face, the hands are susceptible to wrinkling and aging,” says Dr. Jill Waibel of Miami Dermatology & Laser Institute. “To help adequately protect your hands, make sure you’re applying sunscreen every day whether you’re planning to be in the sun or not. It may seem silly, but something as simple as driving your car can contribute to your hands aging. If your hands are on the steering wheel, sunlight can still penetrate through the windows and your hands will be a great target for harmful UV rays.”
The sun can do more than cause skin on the hands to wrinkle–it can also produce those unsightly brown spots known as skin discoloration. “The best way to treat these difficult spots is by using Retin-A as it can exfoliate away minor discolorations and also prevent future dark spots from forming,” Waibel says. “Including Retin-A in your daily skin care routine will only help prevent and reduce the signs of aging.”
Bank offers four additional tips for making your hands look younger and preventing premature aging:
1. Use the mildest antibacterial cleanser when washing your hands.
2. Wear gloves when washing dishes–hot water is very drying to the skin.
3. Put your face cream products on your hands at night to get great results. Because we don’t wash our hands while we sleep, the products have the greatest amount of time to penetrate.
4. To help keep hands soft and supple, apply Vitamin E to cuticles at night. Use a soft bristled nail brush to clean under your nails and push back your cuticles with a washcloth in the shower–don’t cut them.
For more beauty tips, check out how often should you really brush your teeth and everything you need to know about micellar water, the next big thing in beauty.