What a little hand care can do (before on left, after on right with a few months of using my regular skincare routine on my hands). Not perfect but a huge improvement.
At some point in my twenties, one of my (now long forgotten) boyfriends said,” Are those your grandmother’s hands? They look old.”
My first impulse might have been to slap him. Needless to say that relationship didn’t last long but I still remember the comment.
But when I looked at my hands, he did have a point. My hands did look older than the rest of me.
When you think about how hard your hands work, it’s no wonder they start to look older faster than the rest of you.
Your hands are exposed more to the sun, dirt, chemicals, and other drying or noxious elements than any other part of your body.
Plus, your hands get washed more than any other part of you. Washing with soap and hot water strips the natural oils that protect your skin from drying and cracking.
Obviously, your hands need a skin care routine too.
How your hands change as you get older
Your hands are drier.
The skin on your hands is drier to begin with because there are fewer oil glands. As you get older, these don’t produce as much natural moisture and voila. Add a lot of hand washing to that and you’ve got dry skin on your hands.
You don’t need hot water to get clean hands. Warm will do the trick and not strip the oils as much.
Use a high quality moisturizer like the one you use on your face. Be sure to moisturize right before bed so your skin has a chance to repair itself while you sleep.
Your hands actually thin
You lose the fat layer from the back of your hands. This can make your hands seem bony and also can make the veins stand out more.
Unfortunately, short of fat injections there’s no much you can do about fat loss. If it really makes you crazy, you can get fat injections to fill them out again (ouch).
Your skin thins
The skin on the backs of your hands is thinner to begin with. As you age, your body produces less collagen and elastin, the proteins that make your skin firm and bouncy.
On your hands, this can lead to loose skin and more noticeable veins.
If it bothers you, retinol will help the skin on the back of your hands become thicker and more elastic which helps makes your veins less noticeable (see the improvement in 6 months with a daily drop of StarDrops on the backs of hands in photo above).
Age Spots, liver spots, sun spots
Darker spots on your hands is super common. You can thank time and the sun for these. Try to remember to apply sunscreen to the backs of your hands.
For the spots that are already there, apply your vitamin C serum to the backs of your hands every morning and retinol at night (it only takes a tiny bit). Over time, the spots will lighten and fade.
Your nails become more brittle
As your body produces less of it’s own oils, your nails may become more dry and brittle. Be sure to put moisturize on them (and your cuticles) when you’re putting it on your hands.
Try to avoid drying nail polish removers.
Protect your hands and nails
Protect your hands and nails with gloves when you’re working outdoors, washing dishes, or working with chemicals. These things can cause damage that take forever to repair.
Eat for your skin and nails
A healthy diet is a no brainer when it comes to healthy skin, hair, and nails. Avoiding suger and highly processed foods is key.
Some of the nutrients you want to be sure to include are omega-3s, B vitamins (including B7 – biotin), vitamin C, antioxidants, and protein.
I supplement with omega 3’s, b vitamins, vitamin C, zinc, and antioxidants to make sure I’m getting everything I need. You may want to do this too.
Your hands need a skin care routine too
Even if it’s basic, the skin on your hands needs regular care. Cleansing, moisturizer, and sunscreen at the minimum.
I’ve found that applying a tiny bit of the products I’m using on my face to the backs of my hands has made a huge difference.
In the am, I cleanse, put on my vitamin C serum and follow with moisturizer. AlpenGlo works really well to tighten up the loose skin forming on the backs of my hands.
Then sunscreen. I love All Weather Defense for the backs of my hands because it adds an extra layer of protection.
In the evening, I substitute my retinol serum and delete the sunscreen. Easy and no one has asked me lately if my hands belong to my grandmother.