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One woman's quest for fewer spots and wrinkles can help you fight the signs of aging, too

By Coco Myers

WebMD Feature from "Good Housekeeping" Magazine

Found: Younger-Looking Hands

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Like most women, I fret about lines and blotches on my face, but I mostly ignore my hands. Sure, I get a manicure now and then, and I slather on cream when I remember to. But otherwise, I barely give them a second thought. Then one day, after a very stressful period in my life, I looked down and barely recognized them: When had my hands become so paper-dry, wrinkly, veiny, and splattered with spots? For all the TLC I give my face, I realized that my hands were a dead giveaway of my age — 52. (In fact, research shows that most people can accurately guess how old a woman is just by looking at her hands.) I soon grew tired of wearing long sleeves as a disguise, so I resolved to give my hands a "lift." Over six months, I tried a spectrum of at-home and in-office treatments. Here's what I learned from the pros...and what really worked.


Skin needs moisture to stay soft and supple. When water in the top layer escapes, the texture becomes flaky. The catch: Water is also skin's potential enemy, because it can wash away the lipids that help hold on to moisture. Excessive hand-washing can strip away these natural oils and dry out hands, as can detergents, alcohol-based sanitizers, and abrasive scrubs. Redness and chapping often follow.


Switch to gentle, fragrance-free hand and dish soaps. To minimize your exposure to water, whenever possible use a non-soap cleanser like Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser ($4.49, drugstores), which you can wipe off with tissue, and invest in a good pair of dish gloves.

After washing your hands or having any other contact with water — shampooing your hair or rinsing vegetables, for example — think defensively, and apply moisturizer. Skip lotions, which are light, and go straight to heftier sealants — creams and ointments. In a cream, look for glycerin or petrolatum; Curél, Moisturel, and Eucerin all make good, thick ones. For an ointment, try Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream ($4, drugstores). Too greasy? I rub my fingertips on a hand towel to get the residue off. If you're battling redness, check ingredients for an anti-inflammatory like chamomile or aloe. And keep multiple tubes within arm's reach — in a desk drawer, kitchen drawer, handbag, or car — so you actually use them.

Brush Up on Beauty

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