Face is often the first point of attention when we meet someone, and it’s no wonder why we spend so much time and attention on face rejuvenation, but many people forget how quickly the eyes roll towards the hands, and… more often than not, we are in for an unpleasant surprise!
The truth is, our hands are exposed to the same harsh environmental factors that our face is and worse, but while we all know about the importance of sun protection and treatments using lasers, IPL, Botox, Dysport and various fillers to repair and rejuvenate the damaged skin and aged face, we often forget about the hands. The result can be quite shocking: We all have seen people with faces that look almost perfect and very youthful for their age, but you look at their hands and all those wrinkles, sun spots, pigmentations and volume loss send a very different message. It is not rare to see people whose hands look 10 or 20 years older than their face! Here we look at hand aging and things we can do to prevent and treat it.
What Is Hand Aging and How Does It Happen?
Hand aging is essentially the same process that takes place in the other parts of the body, but due to the special circumstances present in hands, the process is often accelerated and intensified. As usual, sun rays are often the number one culprit. Without protection, ultraviolet radiation from the sun penetrates into the skin and harms various components of skin: It damages DNA and can result in cell death, or mutations that can accumulate and lead to skin cancer. It can also accelerate the break-down of elastin and collagen strands that are present in the skin. The effect is most prominent in areas of the body that are usually more exposed – face, neck and hands.
Another harmful factor at play in hands is the exposure to harsh and/or harmful chemicals. The simplest way is through soaps, detergents and sanitizers that we commonly use and at minimum, they can remove the naturally-occurring moisturizers and disturb the natural bacterial flora of the skin. Toxins may get absorbed through the skin and cause different types of reactions such as allergic and atopic reactions. Together, these factors can contribute to unhealthy, dry and cracked skin at hands and accelerate hand aging.
After years of exposure to these harmful factors, our hands can develop significant skin pigmentation, skin dryness and scaling, and deep lines and wrinkles, and as a result of lost collagen and hyaluronic acid, the tendons, blood vessels and bony features of the back of the hands become more and more prominent and noticeable, turning our once youthful and beautiful hands into what has been described as “zombie hands”.
How to Prevent or Slow down Hand Aging?
Like most other health-related issues, prevention is often the best treatment. A quick look at the aging process described above can give us good ideas on effective preventive measures. Always put ample sunscreen on your hands. Opt for high quality broad-spectrum sunscreens with minimum SPF of 30. Follow the same recommendations as for the face: Apply at least 30 min before exposure and repeat every 2-3 hours or after washing. Try to make a habit of using sunscreen everyday – sunny or cloudy. Another effective measure is the use of gloves while driving or riding bike to physically block the sun rays. Check the labeling of the soap and hand sanitizers you use and try to use products with more natural and less toxic ingredients. Last, use good moisturizers on your hands to give them the additional skin protection they need. Visit our clinic or online store and explore our available skin care products that can help protecting your hands.
How to Reverse Hand Aging and Rejuvenate Hands?
Treatments for hand aging can address various problems that occur during the aging process.
- Superficial lines, wrinkles, and pigmentations including sun spots can be treated with exfoliating treatments. Microdermabrasion is an excellent option to begin as it removes a superficial layer of skin and can improve fine lines and some superficial pigmentations. Similarly, chemical peels can achieve the same through removal of superficial layers of skin using controlled action of organic acids. Depending on the skin conditions, glycolic acid peels, salicylic acid peels, Jessner’s peel, TCA peel and other specialized peels are available. Another option to consider is IPL (Photofacial) which is highly effective in treating pigmentation, red spots and other discolorations and sunspots in hands. Finally, ablative lasers used in laser skin resurfacing are the ultimate treatment for removing layers of skin and smoothing out lines and wrinkles and improving the appearance of pigmentations in hands. At Amoderm, we offer medical-grade, crystal-free Diamond microdermabrasion, as well as various light and medical-level peels, IPL and laser skin resurfacing.
- Some skin pigmentations respond greatly to bleaching creams, and some of these creams also combine exfoliating and anti-wrinkle ingredients. At Amoderm, we offer Bright & Tight cream which does these and more.
- Deeper lines and wrinkles may also benefit from treatments affecting deeper layers of skin and underlying connective tissues. Lasers used in skin resurfacing can also stimulate collagen production and thereby reduce and improve wrinkles. Radiofrequency treatments are medically-proven to be effective in stimulating new collagen production and improving wrinkles as well as tightening skin. At Amoderm, we offer Venus Freeze, an FDA-cleared treatment that combines medical radio-frequency with a magnetic pulse for maximal effect and comfort.
- Some lost volume can be restored using radio-frequency treatments as they stimulate skin cells to produce more collagen and other components of healthy skin, but the ultimate and most effective treatment for volume loss anywhere in the body including the hands is filler injection. This procedure is also known as HandLift during which your physician injects dermal fillers (often hyaluronic-acid based fillers such as Juvederm, Restylane and Perlane) under the skin in back of hands to restore and replenish the lost volume instantly. For best results and least bruising and discomfort, use of cannula for injection of fillers is recommended. The blunt head of the flexible cannula will push the structures under the skin aside without causing any pain or damage and your doctor will be able to inject large amount of filler from a single point of entry. When done skillfully, the procedure can achieve immediate, naturally-looking hand rejuvenation with minimal bruising and discomfort.