7 Reasons Your Hands Look Old—And How To Fix Them


Photo by Stuart McClayton/Getty Images

When it comes to your face, your anti-aging routine is a well-oiled machine: UV-shielding sunscreens, hydrating creams, wrinkle-reducing serums, the whole nine yards. Your hands? Not so much. But if you don’t have a youth-preserving plan for the delicate, oft-abused skin and nails on your hands, it’ll be a dead giveaway of your age, says Ranella Hirsch, MD, a Boston-based dermatologist and assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Boston University School of Medicine.

Here, 7 things that are making your hands look old—and how to reverse them.

1. Age Spots
The funny thing about age spots is that they actually have nothing to do with age: “Age spots are the result of sun exposure,” explains Eileen Lambroza, MD, clinical instructor of dermatology at New York Hospital Cornell Medical Center. Though sun-worshippers may get them earlier, they most commonly show up in the 50+ crowd, who’ve accumulated more sun exposure than their younger counterparts. Short of wearing gloves 24/7, you should be smoothing on a dime-sized dab of hand cream with SPF 30 before heading out the door each day—and reapplying after you wash your hands or every two hours if you’re exposed to even a little sunlight, says Deborah Sarnoff, MD, an associate clinical professor of dermatology at New York University. Tackle existing spots with an OTC fade cream with 2% hydroquinone like Glytone Fading Lotion ($46, skinstore.com), Lambroza says. Make sure to follow the directions carefully even at that low dose, since the bleaching ingredient can backfire if used improperly. Darker spots may need a 3% solution, but you’ll need a dermatologist’s prescription—and guidance—to give them a try.


Photo by Ross Whitaker/Getty Images

2. Crepey Skin 
If the backs of your hands are starting to get a crumpled look reminiscent of gift bag stuffing, use a prescription retinoid cream to improve texture and jumpstart the growth of thickening collagen, says Sarnoff. She recommends Renova ($100) or Retin-A ($120), which are pricey, but more effective than OTC retinols, she says. And, since they’re prescription-only, your dermatologist will explain how and when to use them so you get the benefits without common retinoid drawbacks like skin irritation.

3. Prominent Veins 
We’ll start with the bad news: The only way to get rid of them for good is to invest in vein removal, which is exactly what it sounds like: the removal of the veins right at the surface of your skin (the deeper network of veins will do the work of taking blood to and from your hands). The good, less invasive news: heavy duty concealers like Dermablend Leg and Body Cover Crème ($30, dermablend.com) can instantly cover dark veins. You’ll have to reapply after washing your hands, but it still beats surgery.

4. Scaly Skin 
Nothing about dry, scaly skin says “young and healthy.” Return them to smooth-and-plump status overnight with this quick pre-bed routine: First, slough off rough, dead skin with a gentle scrub like Freeman Bare Hands and Cuticle Renewal Scrub ($4, freemanbeauty.com), and then create an all-night moisture mask by smoothing on a glycerin and plant oil-containing hand cream like Aveda Hand Relief Moisturizing Cream ($24, aveda.com) and covering hands with plastic wrap and putting cotton gloves on top (skip the plastic and you’ll just end up with really well moisturized gloves).


5. Stained Nails 
First, figure out why your nails are turning yellow or brown. If the discoloration persists or is accompanied by pain, it’s likely a fungal infection—check with your doctor ASAP to treat it—something that causes about half of all nail discoloration. If you see your doc and it turns out the problem isn’t fungal, you can relax, as the discoloration is likely a harmless side effect of things like psoriasis medication or wearing dark polish. Run your nails with a lemon wedge, just like you would when you’re rubbing off nail polish (the natural fruit acids will lighten the nail bed), or soaking in denture cleaner for 15 to 20 minutes to remove the stains. Also make sure to apply a base coat before you reapply your favorite oxblood lacquer.

6. Brittle Nails
Water or chemical exposure, seasonal weather changes, and even genetics, can all lead to brittle, breaking nails. But the right supplements can help. Taking a 2.5 mg dose of the B vitamin biotin improves nail strength and reduces brittleness after six to nine months, says a study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology. Learn more about brittle nails with 8 reasons your nails keep breaking.

7. Outdated Manicure 
Popular nail shapes and shades are constantly changing, and keeping up with them is a simple way to make hands look more youthful. Right now, shorter nails are the norm; keep nails no longer than ¼ inch beyond your fingertips, says Jan Arnold, of CND, a nail care company. Bonus points if you follow up with bold polish, which draws attention to your nails and away from any wrinkles or spots you’d rather not highlight. Try a classic shade like true red or regal purple (here are 20 of our non-toxic favorites), rather than a too-trendy shade like neon yellow or green.

Source: https://www.prevention.com/beauty/a20473036/anti-aging-tips-for-hands/

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