Our hands wear many hats. Patients always ask, How can I make my hands look younger? There isn’t really anything on the market yet, right?
There are 3 important steps for maintaining youthful hands. Before we go there, a brief overview of why hands age.
Overview: Our hands may appear to age before the rest of us due to sun exposure, chemical exposure, wear and tear, and volume loss. Hands bear the burden of constant heavy sun exposure throughout our lives, all year round. Even in the winter, when most of us don’t wear sunscreen, your hands are getting sun while you carry groceries, push the stroller, or go for your run! Over the years, hands are also subjected to the thousands of chemicals that creep into our every day household and beauty products. Whatever you’re applying to your body, no matter the area, your hands are sure to get exposed. Finally, for purely anatomical reasons, hands age because there is little fat and subcutaneous tissue reserve. Any volume loss in the hands, either of fat or muscle, exposes veins and tendons, which make hands appear old!
The 3 important steps for maintaining youthful hands are:
1) Strict sun protection. The more vigilant you are about keeping your hands out of the sun and wearing sunscreen, the better. Sunscreens containing zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, also known as physical blockers, are the best. They don’t cause allergic reactions and they block all types of light, not just UVA and UVB.
2) Topical cosmeceuticals. Start with vitamin C and vitamin A-derivatives, because they have great evidence behind them. Vitamin C is an essential ingredient in collagen formation and also reduces hyperpigmentation or brown spots. Vitamin A is an essential exfoliant with special sun protective benefits as well. Finally, heparan sulfate is a building block for skin. Look for these multi-taskers in your beauty products. Some of our favorites include Skinceuticals Phloretin-CF, tretinoin 0.05% cream such as Refissa, and Sente’s Dermal Repair Cream containing heparan sulfate. For those of you who easily bruise on the hands, a great over-the-counter cream by Dermend contains retinol, vitamins K and B3, arnica and ceramides. Dermend is more than just a bruising formula, it is great for prevention of bruising and keeping the thin skin around the hands and forearms protected!
3) Office-based treatments. Fraxel laser, YAG laser, and IPL treatments are very effective at treating the brown spots that often develop on mature hands. The recover for Fraxel and YAG are 5-7 days on average, and IPL has virtually no downtime. In terms of camouflaging unwanted veins and tendons, Radiesse is an FDA-approved filler for the hands. Results are instant and the recovery consists of 1-2 weeks of mild swelling. Patients return to work the very next day!