Let’s Give The Hands A Hand


Photo by Di Lewis on Pexels.com

A friend was recently lamenting that her hands look older than her face does. She’s in her late 50s. “How did THIS (holding up the backs of her hands to me) happen?!”

We may not consciously think much about our hands. But our hands are out there, taking the brunt of sun exposure, wind, cold weather, hot weather, cleaning solutions, dish liquid, and water. Women especially may have excellent routines for taking care of our faces, but our hands are most often forgotten.

Even if we take preventive methods to care for our hands, aging by itself wreaks havoc with them. To quote Amos Lavian (found of Dermelect Cosmeceuticals), “As you age, the elasticity of the skin on your hands as well as the abundance of collagen begins to dissipate, making the skin on your hands look and feel more fragile.”

It turns out that the skin on the backs of our hands is thinner so it is more prone to wrinkle anyhow. And our hands have fewer sebum-producing sebaceous glands than our faces do. Sebum is the oily stuff that helps keep the skin moisturized. How ironic, right? There are those of us who complain about our faces being too oily, when in fact we could use that extra oil on our hands.

Here’s the advice from experts on keeping our hands looking their best:

  • Use sunscreen on the backs of your hands and wrists year-round. Remember to reapply throughout the day. Although I do this now, I wish I had known that advice when I was 20. Currently, I use Aveeno Protect+Hydrate Face, SPF 50 on my hands.

  • Choose a hand cream that contains ceramides. These are molecules that help to retain moisture by creating a protective barrier. CeraVe Therapeutic Hand Cream (about $11) is a good choice.

  • Use a mild exfoliant once or twice a week. I am crazy about the product Aveeno Positively Radiant 60 Second in-shower Facial. So twice a week after I apply it to my face, I use it on the backs of my hands and my elbows. A minute later I massage it off as I rinse.

  • Use a hand cream just as you’re getting into bed when you know it won’t be washed off. Because my nails currently need some attention, I just started using Vaseline Healthy Hands Stronger Nails with Keratin. Too soon to tell any effect, but it feels luxurious going on and I really like the calming fragrance.

You’ll notice I don’t spend hundreds of dollars on any of these products. They can be bought at most drug stores or places like Target or Walmart.

My husband says that should I ever be noted for offering advice on a subject, it would be this: There isn’t much that a good cream can’t cure. Since I do sound rather zealous on today’s topic, maybe he’s right. Please don’t tell him I said that.


A Real Simple magazine article on the topic