When you look at a woman’s well-moisturized and made-up face, you often can’t guess her age. But if you look at her hands and if, like most people, they have endured years of sun exposure, dish water and digging in the garden (among other less pleasant chores), you may think she’s even older than she actually is.
The skin on your hands is a dead giveaway of age and, if you don’t take care of it, may make you look older beyond your years. The delicate, thin skin on our hands shows veins and bones as we age because, just as we lose fat and collagen under the skin on our faces and bodies — we also lose it on our hands. But because the skin on our hands is so much thinner and there’s not much fat there to begin with, If you want to keep your mitts looking youthful, simply follow these easy tips to stop the hands of time (sorry, we couldn’t resist) from taking their toll.
TIPS FOR YOUNGER-LOOKING HANDS
- Wear gloves:
We know, a pair of rubber gloves scream, but protecting your hands from a sink full of soapy water is an old-school trick worth doing.
Prolonged exposure to water, especially water mixed with harsh dish soap, can strip skin of its essential lipids and compromise hand skin’s barrier, causing skin to dry out.
And dehydrated hands not only look dull, but also wrinkled. Giving them a waterproof shield can help you get those dishes done while sparing your skin from moisture loss. The most comfortable type is rubber lined with soft cotton. We also recommend using warm or cold water and avoiding very hot water as this will dehydrate or lead to drier skin. Whether you’re out and about in the cold or simply doing the washing up of an evening, make sure your hands are always protected with gloves.
Harsh winter weather will just cause your skin to dry out and even crack, while hot water will do similar damage at home.
It’s simple and affordable to invest in gloves for both occasions, so get into the habit of wearing them now. Your future self will thank you.
- Use Sunscreen:
Just as you should be wearing sunscreen on your face and body all year long, you should also be applying it to your hands, particularly the often forgotten tops of the hands. Sun damage can lead to dryness, wrinkles and age spots. You’re always left with sunscreen on the palms of your hands after applying to your face. Simply rub your hands together with the leftover lotion, focusing on the outside of your hands.
- Moisturize regularly:
There are many moisturizing treatments made specifically for hands. The formulas are often thicker than what you’d use on your face as the skin on your hands probably doesn’t break out or get oily. Creams made specifically for hands also often contain ingredients meant to form a barrier to protect delicate skin and lock in moisture.
- Use less hand sanitizer:
The slippery stuff may ward off germs, but it’s extremely drying for your skin. That’s because the main ingredient is typically alcohol, which not only strips skin’s surface of germs, but also its essential lipid barrier, causing skin to dry out (that’s why skin feels tight after an application). If you can’t resist, especially during cold and flu season, use less. And keep it on your palms, not the tops of your hands. Then follow with a coating of hand cream to counteract moisture loss.
- Take for care of your nails:
Cuticle oil is essential to being hangnail-free, but it can also make your hands look more youthful by leaving a glowy, moisturizing layer while keeping ragged edges as bay. Use it multiple times throughout the day to keep up the effect.
- Avoid harsh ingredients:
On the subject of washing up, harsh detergents and soaps can wreak havoc on your skin, exacerbating the ageing process.
Try investing in gentler options where possible, free from fragrance and too much alcohol, as this will simply dry out your skin even more.
- Treat dark spot:
Hyper-pigmentation can be an issue for many of us, and your hands are one of the main places you may spy these dreaded dark spots – primarily caused by UV exposure. While prevention is better than cure (see below), targeted treatments can help fade brown patches.
Look for products containing Vitamin C, which is known for its brightening properties.
It sounds obvious, but a hard-working hand cream is essential both for repairing and protecting your paws from damage.
Dehydration is one of the leading causes of premature ageing, so get into the habit of applying a moisturizing cream regularly throughout the day. Why not pop a small tube in your handbag, or place a bottle on your desk, so you can start applying some every time you wash your hands.
Don’t just use exfoliator on your face and body. As well as helping shift dry patches and renew your skin cells, regular exfoliation will help your hands absorb products for more effective results and help even out skin tone. Opt for a gentle formula to avoid stripping your hands too severely, which might only worsen dryness. A good tip is to use your regular facial exfoliator on your hands – that way, you can incorporate this extra skincare step into your routine without too much effort.
- Get your nails manicured:
While it can be all-too-easy easy to neglect your hands, making the effort to keep your fingers manicured will knock years off. We’re not saying you necessarily need to fork out on a professional manicure, but a bit of DIY pampering every now and then is certainly in order.
Try soaking your hands in a bowl of warm water, exfoliating them gently before drying off and filing your nails. If your cuticles are in need of attention, push them back (very gently) with a cuticle stick, before finishing with a little bit of cuticle oil.
- Spa treatment:
When you get a manicure, splurge for the paraffin wax treatment. It doesn’t just feel nice, the wax leaves a protective layer on your skin that protects it and keeps it moisturized. Or skip the mani and go straight for the paraffin. You can also buy at-home paraffin kits if you’re passionate about regular treatments.
However, if simple skincare and prevention isn’t enough for you, there are dermatologist and plastic surgery procedures you can undergo for younger-looking hands.