A study in 2006 concluded that the best way to tell someone’s true age is to look at their hands. The research demonstrated that most participants could accurately judge a person’s real age just from viewing their hands. Dr MJ Rowland-Warman the founder of Smile Works, ‘Liverpool’s most popular Facial Aesthetics and Cosmetic Dentistry Practice’ explains why this may be the case, and how we can retain, and if needed regain a youthful look to our hands.
“Hands have to take the stresses of the day and are often subjected to a lot of harsh weather conditions, chemicals and manual work. They are constantly on show and exposed to the elements. Many of us aren’t as diligent in protecting our hands as we are our faces either. As a result, our hands are often one of the first places to show signs of ageing - with bones and veins looking more prominent and a crêpey texture to the skin. In addition to developing age spots and wrinkles, our hands, much like our faces, lose collagen over time, which can leave our hands looking bony and scraggy.
Our hands are regularly exposed to long wave UVA light, particularly when we are outside, but even when we are not out in the fresh air, we’re exposing our hands to the ageing effects of UV light. Windows in our homes and cars don’t have UV filters, and so while we believe we are protected from the penetrating sun’s rays, our face and hands are actually being subjected to skin damage, pigmentation and collagen loss.”
What can we do to better look after our hands? Are there any treatments that can turn the clock back – even a little? Dr MJ shares some practical tips:
“The great news is there are lots of options out there for you to consider, with some delivering truly astonishing results. Below are my top 5 tips to protect, and potentially roll back time for our most useful of appendages.”
SPF – Your hands are just as vital as everywhere else to cover with SPF, and all year round, not just when you’re sunning yourself on the beach or at the poolside. The higher the SPF the greater the protection to your hands, so I would always suggest going as high as possible. My absolute favourite is Obagi Sun Shield Matte SPF 50 Sunscreen.
Peels - believe it or not, mild peels work wonders for depigmenting the skin on the back of the hands and keeping the age spots at bay. I prefer to use Glycolic acid peels such as Neostrata 35%. These can be done weekly or fortnightly and will leave the skin feeling silky smooth, whilst also assisting in the reduction of pigmentation.
Ellansé biostimulating filler, is a collagen stimulator and dermal filler in one and works absolute magic for the back of hands. When the fat has reduced and the hands are looking bony and the skin papery, this can be injected in order to plump and rejuvenate them. Initially acting as a filler to provide immediate benefits, over the course of 3-4 months it will stimulate the body to product its own collagen, leaving lovely, natural and long-lasting results which can keep them looking good for years. Hand rejuvenation should be undertaken by only experienced medical practitioners, but the results are simply astounding and can knock years off you.
HA fillers and skin boosters - these are a type of dermal filler which can be introduced into the skin in order to improve hydration. Composed of hyaluronic acid, the results are much more transient than Ellanse and will need to be repeated more frequently. Whilst a small amount of collagen stimulation takes place, these products achieve their effect by the hydrating qualities of the hyaluronic acid molecule which will leave the skin more supple and reduce fine lines and laxity.
And lastly, and certainly not to be forgotten
Hand creams - hand creams are a must! A highly effective barrier cream is vital for those working with their hands. I wash my hands countless times per day and disinfect them with alcohol hand-rub, so they often get dry and chapped. (I’m sure lots of people can related in these Covid times). One of the most effective barrier creams and one that is non-oily but really soothing is actually Udder Cream! Yes, it’s originally designed for use on - you guessed it - udders. It contains calming aloe, and antibacterial ingredients such as tea tree or chlorhexidine. It’s cheap as chips and available from farm supplies, or Amazon but it replenishes the barrier function of the skin and makes my hands like new. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.”