Why Your Hands Age Faster Than Your Face and What You Can Do About It
If you can’t tell how old a person is by looking at their face—look at their hands! The hands are a dead giveaway to someone’s true age, primarily because they are exposed daily to all kinds of wear and tear, including the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Beginning from the time we start walking, we impulsively put our hands on and into anything and everything—water, dirt, soap, snow, oil—and it only gets worse as we become adults and use our hands eight hours a day at work.
By the time you reach your early 30s, skin cell generation starts to decline steadily, along with slowing of elastin and collagen production. Consequently, your skin cannot repair itself as efficiently as it once did, which naturally promotes wrinkling, drying and sagging. Because your palms contain more fat tissues than the backs of your hands, they do not develop the skin thinness and skeletal-like appearance common to the backs of the hands. In addition, your palms possess enough fat tissue to prevent veins from bulging as you age. Combine thin, papery skin, prominent, bluish veins and lack of fat tissue on the backs of your hands and you have got hands that look like they should belong to Frankenstein!
Hand lotions can help keep your hands hydrated enough so they do not itch or crack but lotions cannot prevent the wrinkling, thin skin and bulging veins affecting hands that have suffered a lifetime of sun exposure, hard work and damage done by cleaning agents. Another skin problem that causes hands to give away your age (or add to it, unfortunately) is the emergence of “age” or “liver” spots. Mainly caused by ultraviolet radiation, age spots are small, brown skin discolorations that can appear on the face as well as the backs of the hands. It’s the way your skin’s pigment cells (melanocytes) try to cope with excessive amounts of sunlight entering the skin, especially as you get older and your skin is less capable of recuperating from a sunburn. By actively absorbing excessive UV rays, melanocytes aggregate and darken in color, forming those unsightly spots that are often referred to “liver” spots simply because they are “liver-colored”.
Although cosmetic companies advertise creams that are supposed to fade age spots, these creams are just bleaching agents that often irritate thin, dehydrated skin on the backs of the hands. Unless you continue using the cream, age spots will usually return within several months of discontinuing applications of an over-the-counter bleaching cream. Moreover, allergic reactions to bleaching creams commonly occur that produce severe itching and burning that may develop into a contact dermatitis condition.
Mayoral Dermatology offers several safe and proven effective anti-aging treatments that can “plump” thin hands, improve skin transparency, reduce protruding veins on the backs of the hands and smooth away unsightly wrinkles that add 10 to 15 years to your true age.
Most people think of a chemical peel as a procedure performed on the face but chemical peels are routinely done to hands that exhibit signs of premature aging. TCA (trichloroacetic acid) peels are medium depth peels that can lighten the appearance of age spots, stimulate collagen production to improve the texture of “crepy” skin and improve the overall skin tone of your hands. TCA peels can be repeated safely every three or four months and also work well for people with ethnic skin. Preparing for a hand chemical peel—especially if the primary reason for the peel is to remove age spots—may involve applying glycolic acid or retin-A to the skin several weeks prior to the actual procedure. These substances help shed dead skin cells so that the peel is able to penetrate skin more deeply. A chemical peel takes less than an hour and no downtime is associated with this noninvasive procedure. The only discomfort sometimes experienced by people undergoing a hand chemical peel is flaking, peeling and redness, which disappears within a week of having the treatment done at our Mayoral Dermatology facility.
Microdermabrasion for Aging Hands
Rejuvenate your wrinkled, liver-spotted hands with a skin polishing technique called microdermabrasion, another nonsurgical procedure performed in our office that involves no downtime and minimal discomfort. Microdermabrasion is accomplished with a device that mechanically exfoliates the epidermis, removing dead skin cells and impurities that accumulate over time. Underneath pale, dull skin that is exfoliated during the microdermabrasion process lies fresh, vibrant skin now nourished by increased collagen production. Additionally, microdermabrasion lightens age spots and other discolorations by increasing new cell production and inhibiting the amount of melanin available to skin cells for absorption. Because no bleaching agents are involved with microdermabrasion, your skin is not subject to experiencing allergic reactions common to those using bleaching creams.
Do you have veins sticking out on the backs of your hands that makes you think of tree roots growing above ground? Mayoral Dermatology can take care of those ugly, protruding veins with a nonsurgical procedure called sclerotherapy, a popular method that eliminates spider and varicose veins blemishing legs and facial areas. An injection of a saline solution into veins causes them to essentially shrivel, die and experience absorption by the body. The procedure takes less than 30 minutes and usually provides permanent results.
Injectable Dermal Fillers
Thinning skin and decreasing fat tissue makes the backs of your hands appear almost skeletal as you age. Fortunately, injectable dermal fillers can fill out those hollow spaces between the knuckles and bones comprising the hand. Although dermal fillers such as Juvederm and Botox are normally associated with elimination of facial wrinkles, they also work wonders on hands that appear prematurely aged. Wrinkles and sunken areas treated with injections of Radiesse retain a smooth, rejuvenated appearance for up to one year before a touch-up session may be necessary.
With several effective anti-aging treatments that can give your hands a beautiful, nonsurgical “facelift”, you will no longer feel the need to hide your hands when dining out, attending social functions or shopping with friends. Call Mayoral Dermatology today to schedule a consultation regarding treatment options that address skin and vein problems affecting the backs of the hands.