Frequently ignored but never far out of sight, hands down, our hands need more than just occasional washing to stay in their best shape. Most of us concentrate on our faces, hair, teeth and so on, but our average beauty regimen pays little attention to our hands even though, it is our hands that give away our age before our faces do.
It is true for both men and women when they say that they dislike the fact that their hands betray their age with a simple gesture or handshake.
Our hands work for us every day and because of that, are subjected to more wear and tear than we care to admit. For these reasons, cosmetic hand rejuvenation is becoming more and more popular.
What are the causes of hand aging?
At first, hand rejuvenation may sound like an unnecessary cosmetic procedure, but our hands are more important than most people realize. The two most important causes of hand aging are:
- Photoaging – because the hands receive so much sun exposure, photoaging plays a key role in producing visible signs of aging such as irregular pigmentation, pre-cancerous and cancerous growths, and the depletion in collagen and elastic fibers. These changes result in mottled pigmentation, thinned and fragile (paper thin) skin.
- Changes in hand volume – As we age, the natural fat cushion in our hands begins to decrease. The skin on the back of the hands is extremely thin, so, any loss of fat padding will be very noticeable. This causes all the structures in the hand to become more visible – the tendons, bones and the veins. Over time, additional changes in bone structure, as well as enlargement of veins contribute to the “bony” look.
Fortunately, there are several excellent methods to deal with most of these unwanted changes.
What are the different types of Hand Rejuvenation Treatments?
There is an array of hand rejuvenation treatments out there. One of the first and most important things that must be done to prevent further damage and promote reversal of some of the skin damage already present is the regular use of moisturizers and broad-spectrum sunscreens that offer UVA / UVB protection. The corrective treatments can be tailored to the problem at hand:
Superficial surface changes can be treated with:
- Topical preparations such as UVB and UVA sunscreens, vitamin A derivatives (e.g. Retin-A, Tazorac or Differin), vitamin C preparations) This is a good first-line defense against damage caused by the sun’s UV rays.
- Chemical peels such as Glycolic peels (concentration greater than 35%), Salicylic acid peels, Jessner’s Solution, and other specialized peels. These can help remove the outer damaged layers of skin.
- Different forms of microdermabrasion – The latest advances in Microdermabrasion allow precise removal of unwanted superficial cells and the infusion of therapeutic substances at the same time. This unique combination allowed excellent results and maintains a high degree of safety.
- Thermage and collagen stimulation can be successfully employed to help increase dermal thickness and tone. This can result in smoother more vibrant skin.
- Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) as well as laser phototherapies are critical to deal with pigmentation changes as these modalities can specifically target brown and red spots.
The hand veins can be treated with:
- Laser therapies such as Long pulse Nd:YAG or Pulsed Dye Laser
- Sclerotherapy (vein injections) are very effective for the treatment of enlarged veins. The resulting fresh youthful look is very pleasing.
Dermal and fat changes can be improved with:
- Injections like Restylane or Sculptra can restore the skin fullness and increase its natural protective qualities, reducing the chances of bruising or cutting. This can be helpful for those with thin skin due to accumulated sun damage.
- Other fillers such as fat, collagen, Juvederm or Puragen. These dermal fillers can help to strengthen dermal collagen and improve the appearance of fine lines.
These procedures are very advanced and should only be performed by thoroughly trained physicians.
- Don’t forget that your fingernails need plenty of attention too. Here are some easy tips that will help your nails healthy and beautiful:
- Keep nail care simple: Clip the nails, and otherwise leave them alone. Do not try and clean the space under the nails as it will enlarge the space between the nail bed and the nail plate.
- Do not use nail hardeners as they can make the nail brittle, causing the nail to break or split easier.
- For clipping, do not pick at the cuticles or otherwise fiddle with it, as it can lead to infection and irritation. Your nails should for the most part be left alone. Disturbing it will often result in unnatural growth, or make it more prone to various infections including fungal infections.
- Formaldehyde that is contained in nail hardening products can often be a source of allergic contact dermatitis.
- If psoriasis is affecting your nails, do not try and apply cream under the nails. Anti-inflammatory medicines can be injected into the nail fold by a dermatologist, and can be an effective treatment.
Although taking care of the hands is often forgotten in the quest for a youthful image, these new and effective methods of hand rejuventation offer a truly remarkable ability to correct the changes associated with the passage of time. With this renewed interest, the hand rejuvenation can become the new avenue for improving and maintaining that elusive youthful look.