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Beauty & Style

How to Restore A More Youthful Look to Your Hands

“Other than the spots, creases and wrinkles on your face, nothing tells time better than the skin on your hands, especially on the back of your hands,” says Dr. Suzanne Friedler, board-certified dermatologist with Advanced Dermatology PC. “That’s because the chronological wear and tear that the years have naturally on skin, coupled with the long-term damage caused by the sun’s ultraviolet rays, is most acutely obvious on hands where the skin is much thinner.” The good news is that thanks to advances in dermatology, products and procedures are available to help restore a more youthful appearance to them.

Even small losses of collagen and connective tissue in skin due to the aging process cause the texture on the back of hands to wrinkle and crumple and the veins to become more pronounced, Friedler says. Sprinkled into this cosmetic mix are what looked like cute freckles years earlier, but have now become larger, browner – and simply unsightly — age spots, primarily the work of the sun.

Hands generally begin showing their age when people are in their 40s and 50s, but the telltale signs may appear earlier – even in a person’s mid-20s — if the hands have been repeatedly exposed to sunlight. By the time a person has reached his or her 60s, the skin on the hands has lost volume; the veins bulge, Friedler says.

Science has not yet discovered a way to reverse the “hands of time.” However, some topical hand creams and lotions can temporarily improve the color and “look” of hands, new laser and non-laser procedures help smooth the wrinkles, and injected “medical fillers” are proving successful for increasing skin volume, Friedler says.

For younger people whose hands have not yet been overly affected by the sun, topical creams or lotions containing antioxidants, glycolic acid, tretinoin or retinoids and chemical peels can help improve skin and limit further sun damage.

Reducing exposure of skin to the sun by wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen with high enough SPF (50 or greater) and covering skin when outdoors is the “number-one” aging preventive, Dr. Friedler emphasizes.

“If you are doing yard work, for example, wear a hat and work gloves. Consider wearing driving gloves when you are behind the wheel. Most people are unaware of the amount of harmful ultraviolet rays that penetrate car windows,” she says.

Friedler also offers these tips to protect hands:

  • Use over-the-counter creams and lotions, especially overnight, to keep the hands well moisturized.
  • Wash hands gently in lukewarm – not hot – water; don’t scrub them. “Scrubbing only irritates the skin and accelerates the aging process,” Friedler advises.
  • Stop using hand products that sting or create a burning sensation on the skin
  • If you smoke, stop. “Smoking is neither good for your skin nor your overall health. It promotes a wrinkly, rough skin texture and sallow color,” Friedler says.

Suzanne Friedler, MD, is a board-certified physician and a fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology. Advanced Dermatology P.C. and the Center for Laser and Cosmetic Surgery (New York & New Jersey) is one of the leading dermatology centers in the nation, offering highly experienced physicians in the fields of cosmetic and laser dermatology as well as plastic surgery and state-of-the-art medical technologies. http://www.advanceddermatologypc.com/.