The Hands of Time

When people think about taking care of their skin in order to retain a more vibrant appearance, they often over-look one area where aging is most prominent: their hands. Unfortunately, short of wearing gloves your whole life, there is little that can be done to prevent damage to the skin on your hands. But that does not mean we have to resign ourselves to having hands that age us prematurely!

First of all, we must remember the three most important things that cause our skin to age: sunlight, sunlight & sunlight. When applying sunscreen to our own skin or on the skin of our children, we often forget to apply it on our hands as well! Perhaps we think that because we use our hands to apply the sunscreen, we end up protecting our hands in the process. Unfortunately, this is not the case as we have usually protected the palm side of our hands, which is thick and more resistant to degeneration. It’s the outside portion of the hands that need sunscreen protection the most!

Liver spots (which have nothing to do with your liver) are the most visible signs of aging on the hands. Liver spots are areas where sun damaged skin produces too much pigment. These can be minimized through the use of sunscreen, but can also be reduced through the use of antioxidants such as green tea cream. Laser works best for these pigment spots.

Though we may think that simply using skin moisturizers will keep our hands looking smooth, this has never been completely proven. What we should do is try to “thicken” the skin on the outside of the hands by using product such as Retinols and/or glycolic acids. The purple bruises that often accompany aging can be reduced through the use of a topical Vitamin K cream.

Products can help skin stay youthful, but there are several procedures that can be performed to obtain faster, more dramatic results. Fat injection into the back of the hands can increase thickness while glycolic peels and microdermabrasions are helpful for color and tone. One must be careful about using stronger peels as they may risk scaring, which is why I sometimes recommend the use of different lasers such as the Yag, IPL, Erbium or V Beam lasers, depending on your skin type and needs.

Remember one thing about the treatment of hands that have already been affected by aging: all hands are not created equal! Thus, you should make sure that your dermatologist offers a wide variety of products and procedures so that you can obtain a customized hand care program. If you want to know more about taking good care of the skin on your hands, please contact us at Advanced Dermatology & Cosmetic Care at 661.254.3686, or visit our website at