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Are Your Hands Aging You Up?

If you care about aging, leaving your hands to deal with Mother Nature and Father Time with zero help is a massive mistake. Here’s why…

Do you, like us, remember your mom saying how one day she looked down at her hands and suddenly saw her mom’s hands staring back at her? Oh, how true that statement is. And like all things in life, it happens generation after generation as time catches up with you and years of hard work (damn those dishes!) and fun in the sun start to take their toll on the skin on the back of your hands.

Fun fact: the back of the hand is called the opisthenar. But we digress…

The problem with skin aging is that hands aren’t particularly ‘up there’ on most people’s priority list. Crow’s feet? Sure. But fine lines on your hands? Not really bothered. That is, until one day, you are. All of a sudden, tiny lines start turning into wrinkles, sun spots quadruple and, wait, what’s going on with those prominent veins? Eek.

Here’s the thing. When it comes to the visible signs of aging, your hands are just as susceptible as your face. Maybe even more so. How so? The skin on the back of your hands is much thinner than that on your face and neck. It also contains very little fat and is exposed to the slings and arrows of environmental damage day after day – usually without any kind of protection. Couple this with the natural aging process, which sees your skin lose collagen and elastin (read: strength and elasticity), then add all the sanitizing and hand washing you’re doing and, heck, the skin on your opisthenar (sorry, not sorry!) stands no chance.

That is, unless you partake in a few smart skincare choices, of course. Herein, five ways to help your hands stay looking younger for longer…

Sanitize With Care

Three years ago, hand sanitizer wasn’t really on our radar, but now that it’s an essential, we feel it's worth talking about. Why? Because these days, there’s no escaping the need to practice hand hygiene 24/7, and unfortunately, all that alcohol is terribly drying for your skin.

According to guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), hand sanitizer must contain at least 60 percent alcohol in order to effectively kill germs. That might sound like a lot of alcohol for your poor skin to contend with but… well, actually, you’re right, it is. And there’s no getting around this. Choose something with less alcohol in it and it simply won’t work.

So, what’s the answer? Well, look out for sanitizers that contain hydrating and moisturizing ingredients to help combat the alcohol. Hyaluronic acid, glycerin, aloe vera and skin-nurturing oils are all great. And whenever you can, wash your hands with gentle soap and lukewarm water rather than always relying on your sanitizer.

Go Big With Moisturizer

Moisturizing twice a day is usually enough for your face, but hands get submerged in water way more frequently, meaning extra moisturization is vital. You see, water and cleansing ingredients break down the skin’s natural barrier function, which increases transepidermal water loss (TEWL) and allows bacteria and germs to penetrate skin more easily. It doesn’t help that the skin on your hands contains fewer sebaceous glands than your face, which also makes it more prone to dryness. Dang.

Basically, you need to apply hand cream after every time you cleanse or sanitize. No arguments. After washing your hands, dry them gently and apply hand cream while your skin is still damp to help lock in water. However, after sanitizing, do not apply moisturizer until your skin is thoroughly dry or this could affect its germ-busting efficacy.

At night, show your hands what true moisturizing love is by smothering them in our super luxe Vitamin C Deep Hydration Night Cream. This will blanket your skin with free radical-fighting antioxidants, as well as hydrating aloe vera, soothing panthenol and nourishing emollients. It makes for an awesome overnight treat. Trust us, we've tried it.

Protect Your Hands From The Sun

The sun plays a massive role in the aging process and can lead to thinning, wrinkles, dark spots, the works. And just like the skin on your face, your hands are constantly exposed to the elements, so they need some savvy shielding from UV radiation to keep all those skin annoyances at bay.

Thankfully, the solution is simple: protect your hands as you would your face. When you apply your antioxidant facial serum, smooth a few extra drops over the back of your hands – our Vitamin C Serum is ideal for this, as it’s super lightweight, fast-absorbing, and glides over skin like a dream.

Do the same with your sunscreen to ensure your hands get their fair share of the sun protective love. Look out for broad-spectrum formulations, as these not only protect skin from UVB rays, but also sneaky UVAs, which penetrate glass and hit you every day of the year.

Don’t Forget To Exfoliate

A little mild exfoliation once or twice a week is a fantastic way to remove dead skin cells and allow your skin’s protective barrier to do its job properly. It’ll also help your SPF and moisturizer to penetrate your skin better, which your hands (and wallet) will totally thank you for.

The best part is you don't even have to buy a special hand scrub. Simply mix together a teaspoon each of salt, sugar and olive or coconut oil, then rub this mixture all over your hands for two minutes before rinsing and gently towel-drying. Easy. 

Take Cover

Gloves are a great way to protect the skin on your hands from the elements. Dish gloves shield from oil-stripping water and abrasive household cleansers while winter mittens guard against skin-drying winter winds. Heck, even driving, cycling and gardening gloves are awesome for keeping your hands out of harm’s reach – and by harm, we mean those pesky sun rays again.
 
Another reason to invest in more pairs of gloves? Two words: retail therapy...

 

 

 

 

 

About Georgia Gould
Georgia is an award-winning beauty writer who has been in the business for over 20 years. British-born, she began her career as a magazine beauty editor in London before moving to San Francisco, CA in 2012 where she now continues her love as a freelance writer and editor. As well as her editorial work, Georgia has created content for many high-profile beauty brands, including Clarins, L’Oréal, Procter & Gamble, Simple and TRESemmé. Her passions include retinol (obviously), golfing, skiing and walking her beloved Schnauzer, Dave.