What is a sure-fire way of telling someone’s age? The hands. The skin on the back of the hand is much thinner than on the face, and there is very little fat there too, so it only takes a small amount of collagen and elastin degeneration to cause crepe-like skin and veins to start showing through. Apart from this unfortunate problem, hands are also more exposed to the sun than any other part of the body, bar the face. These days many people use sunscreen on their faces. The hands are usually forgotten however. This is why hands appear to age so much faster than any part of the body.
So, liver spots due to sun exposure and crepey skin due to collagen breakdown are the challenges that we face when trying to stay ageless. Celebrities such as Madonna have taken to hiding their hands – the ‘Madonna mitts’ have become famous since her hands are now ‘those of an athlete’ to use the euphemism of her surgeon. She now almost always feels the need to hide them.
First line of defence – moisturise. As they are exposed to the elements and washing all the time, the skin loses oil, so a moisturizer can plump up the skin and make it look more youthful thanks to ingredients such as shea butter, glycerin and olive oil. A good moisturiser every night and often during the day is essential.
Second line of defence – wear rubber gloves for cleaning and washing-up.
Thirdly – wear a hand cream with a sunscreen every day, even in winter.
As far as repairing the damage is concerned, skin needling is an easy, cheap technique which can be done at home. It involves using a roller covered in extremely fine needles which penetrate the skin invisibly wounding the upper skin layers – epidermis and dermis. The rollers are available for purchase online. The body reacts as to an injury and initiates a healing process, triggering the production of collagen and elastic and the creation of new skin cells. Eventually the skin takes on a younger appearance.
More invasive solutions include fat grafting. The fat graft is becoming popular as a walk-in walk-out procedure, where fat is taken from the stomach or thighs and injected into the hands. It is performed under local anaesthetic.
Laser therapy acts in a similar way to skin needling, where pinholes are created in the skin to trigger the production of collagen and elastin.
Hand care should not be neglected if we care about how we look.