You know all those hours you log in at the gym and the small fortune you're dropping on skin cream? If you're not taking care of your hands, you're still spilling the beans on just how many candles will be burning on your next birthday cake.
"Hands not only are susceptible to the first signs of aging, but very often age even faster than the face," says Ellen Marmur, MD, chief of dermatological and cosmetic surgery at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City. That's because the skin on the back of the hand is much thinner than that on your face.
"There is very little fat on the backs of the hands, so when even a small amount of collagen or elastin fibers begins to break down -- which is part of the normal aging process and partly from sun exposure -- it's going to have a noticeable impact on your hands," says Gregory Buford, MD, a Denver plastic surgeon.
The end result, say experts, is wrinkly, crinkly crepe-like skin texture and the noticeable appearance of bulging veins, which also grow larger over time.
"Depending on how much sun exposure you had as a child and young adult, aging also brings out brown spots, known as liver spots -- pigmentation problems that give away your age," says dermatologist David Goldberg, MD, director of Skin Laser & Surgery Specialists of New York and New Jersey.
But you don't have to throw up your hands and give in without a fight. WebMD asked medical experts for top strategies to turn back the clock on your mitts, from pumped-up pampering at home to the latest developments in professional treatments.
Home Skin Care for Your Hands
If you're like many women, your at-home hand care is limited to using dishwashing detergent with moisturizer and maybe a drugstore hand cream now and then. But experts say with just a bit more effort, you can improve the appearance of your hands right now -- and 20 years from now. "There are certainly products and key ingredients that can make a temporary difference in how your hands look, and there are some exciting advances that could help make a real difference in your skin," says Goldberg.
Cream of the Crop
Among the newest advances are creams containing growth factors, mostly derived from plants. "These are creams that appear to promote new collagen formation -- you're not going to get what you would with a [medical treatment], but it's not a bad idea to begin using these creams every night starting at around age 40," says Goldberg.
Science backs this up. One recent study, published in Journal of Drugs in Dermatology in 2007, reported 83% of women between ages 35 and 65 who tried creams containing growth factors found improvement in their hand wrinkles after just 60 days. Creams containing growth factors include:
- Regeniskin (50 mL/$29.95)
- SyCream by Syprex (2 oz/$39.50)
- Neocutis Bio-restorative Skin Cream (50 mL/$120)
- SkinMedica TNS Recovery Complex (1 oz each of cream and serum/$185)