For centuries, people worldwide have been scouring the earth for a way to hold onto their youth. From the legends of mystical fountains springing from the earth to laboratory science experiments, it seems there isn’t much that people won’t do to keep themselves from aging. In fact, worldwide, people spend tens of billions of dollars each year on anti-aging products. One article stated that a quarter of the products purchased are for the face alone. I remember having a conversation with someone once about trying to guess someone’s age. The trick they gave was to look at the person’s hands. You could be in your 40’s with the dewy complexion of someone in their 20’s, but if you aren’t taking care of your hands, your gig will be up in a matter of seconds.
Over the years, many things can happen to your hands that can give away your true age or even make you look older. These are age spots, dry and scaly skin, wrinkly skin, yellow or dry brittle nails, and protruding veins. Fortunately for you, each of these things has preventative steps you can take and treatments you can use to reduce their aging effects.
According to healthline.com, age spots can also be called “sun spots or liver spots” and “consist of flat, round blotches on your skin that are brown to black in color.” While these spots appear with age, the main cause is too much exposure to ultraviolet rays.
If you don’t have to deal with age spots right now, you can prevent their development by limiting your sun exposure and by wearing a mineral sunscreen of 30 SPF or higher.
If you have developed age spots already, a board-certified dermatologist can lighten or remove them with a few different techniques such as cryotherapy (freezing), laser therapy, chemical peeling, microdermabrasion, or skin-lightening creams.
Dry, Scaly Skin
Many things can cause dry, scaly skin, such as lack of water, lack of sleep, smoking, sun exposure, and poor circulation. To prevent the development of dry, scaly skin, you can use unscented soaps and lotions, wear gloves outside during the winter months, apply lotion after every hand washing, and be careful of the amount of time that your hands spend immersed in water.
Find a good daytime moisturizer to seal in moisture if your hands are already on the dryer side of things. Try a thicker moisturizer at night. You may even consider wearing cotton gloves overnight. If your hands are extremely dry, look for products with lactic acid. Lactic acid can help with the exfoliation of dead skin cells.
***In some cases, rough patches may be actinic keratoses (AKs), which are precancerous growths. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, “AKs usually develop in fair-skinned people who are 40 years of age or older.” If you are worried that you have AKs, seek the advice and guidance of a board-certified dermatologist.
Wrinkly Skin & Protruding Veins
According to the Cleveland Clinic, your hands begin losing fat and elasticity as you age. Elasticity decreases as you lose collagen. Collagen is a protein-based fiber. This fiber is more readily available when you are younger and becomes harder to produce as you age. The loss of fat and elasticity in your hands causes your skin to lose volume, making your hands appear translucent and wrinkly.
To prevent wrinkles before they start, make sure you are wearing sunscreen and don’t smoke. Sun exposure is a big culprit for wrinkles, and smoking “is directly responsible for collagen loss. It also causes a reduction in future collagen production.”
Some treatments include a retinol hand cream to make hands look and feel smoother. You can also visit an experienced dermatologist who may suggest a chemical peel, laser treatment, or dermal fillers.
Yellow or Dry Brittle Nails
Did you know that your nails are a part of your skin? Healthline.com explains that “nails are made of keratin, which is a protein fiber that naturally grows outward from your fingers.” So as your skin ages, your nails can also age. Nails show their age by becoming yellow or brittle. Brittle nails are:
- Usually a result of lack of moisture in the body.
- Spending a lot of time with wet hands.
- Using harsh chemicals without wearing gloves.
Yellowing nails are caused by smoking, stress, nail fungus, infection, or other underlying medical conditions.
Prevent your nails from becoming dry, brittle, or yellow by protecting your nails. Make sure you are drinking plenty of water. If you are spending extended amounts of time with wet hands or using harsh chemicals, make sure you wear gloves to protect your hands and nails.
To treat dry, brittle nails, seek advice from a board-certified dermatologist. If you notice that your nails are yellow, you should see a doctor as they can determine if the discoloration is being caused by your lifestyle or an underlying medical condition.
As you read through this blog, you may see some common themes amongst the preventions and treatments of aging hands. Applying those common themes in your daily beauty routine if you aren’t dealing with anything specific and want to keep your hands looking younger longer. Those things are:
- Don’t smoke! Smoking is directly linked with several of the signs mentioned above of aging
- Wear a mineral sunscreen that is at least 30 SPF
- Moisturize! Ensure you are getting enough water every day, and moisturize your hands, especially after washing them
- Wear gloves. The activity will determine the types of gloves you wear. Three instances that will cause you to want to wear gloves are going outside on a cold day, cleaning, or gardening
Following these tips and the others listed above can help your hands maintain their youthful glow and keep your age a secret for many years to come.