Aging is something none of us can avoid. Women get concerned at the first signs of fine lines on the face and men often view a receding hairline as the first signs of aging. We will spend hundreds even thousands of dollars over the years on skin and haircare products to help us keep our youthful look. What most people don’t realize is that your hands will often show your age more quickly than your face or hair.
Why Do Your Hands Show Your Age?
Stop for a second and think about all the things you put your hands through on a daily basis. You may have a job that constantly has your hands in water like a hairdresser, doctor or even mom’s. Or you may have a job where you get cuts and scrapes on your hands every day like construction, mechanic or warehouse employee. Even the things we do for fun or entertainment can damage the skin on our hands. We rely on our hands for virtually everything we do on a daily basis yet we rarely do anything to keep our hands looking and feeling good.
What Happens to Our Hands as we Age?
The skin on the palm side of your hands is very different from other skin on your body. It is much thicker and can actually reach a thickness of almost half an inch. The extra thick skin on our palms is designed to help protect us from the everyday wear and tear that we put on the palms of our hands. From the constant use over time we start to build up calluses on our hands that become thick and dry. The skin on the top of our hands is thinner and is often the first place we start to see aging. As we age the skin on the top of our hands loses collagen and becomes thinner or transparent. You may start to see veins more clearly on the tops of your hands. Often people will say they’re hands look crepey the way crafting crepe paper looks. If you spend a bunch of time in the sun your hands may start to show brown spots from sun damage. From constantly being wet and dry your nails may become brittle and your cuticles will start to crack from dryness.
What is the Best Way to Prevent Aging Hands?
Start young and be diligent. At a minimum, you should be applying a good hand moisturizer in the morning and the evening before you go to bed. To make this more simple you need to keep these hand creams in a place that is convenient for you to remember to use easily every day. Have one in your medicine cabinet for in the morning when you are getting ready in the bathroom. Keep one on your desk at work or in your car. And definitely keep one on your nightstand so you can use it right before going to bed. The old saying, “out of sight, out of mind” is so true about hand care. If you keep a hand cream in places where you will see them throughout the day it will help you to remember to use them.
If you are going to be out in the sun for long periods of time be sure to apply a sunscreen. All too often even when we are applying sunscreen at the beach or pool we forget the tops of our hands. Sun damage can do the most damage to the skin on your hands that will cause them to show your age. The ultraviolet (UV) light can penetrate the outer layers of your skin into the deeper layers where it can damage or even kill skin cells. The suns UV rays can also make your fingernails brittle and breakable. It can even damage the white part at the base of your nail where your nails grow causing them to be damaged and may result in unattractive fingernails.
What to Look for in a Cream to Prevent Aging Hands
So many people buy their hand creams from those bath shops that have creams with amazing fragrances. Using one of these creams is better than not using anything at all but they are certainly not going to meet the needs of your aging hands. When you apply, a hand cream your hands should feel moist for hours afterwards not just for a few minutes. This often means you will need a hand cream that is slightly thicker or heavier than what you will find in a bath shop. But using a heavier hand cream does not mean your hands need to feel greasy the whole day. A quality hand cream should keep your hands feeling moist by using emollients to lock the moisture in your hands. This can be done without using oily or greasy ingredients like petrolatum.
After finding a cream with the right consistency look for ingredients that help prevent skin damage or help heal or repair your hands. These often come in the form of vitamins, minerals or proteins.
Vitamin A (Retinol) is excellent for your skin. It can help thicken the skin and stimulate the dermis. Vitamin A can actually help increase collagen in your skin and return elasticity.
Vitamin C is an amazing anti-oxidant. Anti-oxidant vitamins are designed to fight free radicals that can cause cell damage to your skin. Vitamin C will also help to stimulate collagen synthesis.
Vitamin E (tocopherol) is also an antioxidant vitamin that fights free radicals. In addition, it keeps the skin moist and supports new skin cell growth and can speed up cell regeneration.
Don’t forget the importance of minerals like copper, zinc and even sulfer. Minerals such as these can help fight bacteria, clarify the skin and minimize your pores.
How to Find a Good Cream to Prevent Aging Hands
Look for a thicker cream that is not oily or greasy. This cream should incorporate natural essential oils, herbal extracts and even food based ingredients that can provide the nutrition that your skin needs. Just like we take vitamins to provide nourishment for our bodies on the inside we also need to feed our skin from the outside. Ingredients sourced from fruits and vegetables can often provide excellent vitamins and minerals for your skin. Even food based ingredients like eggs can be an amazing source of nutrition for your skin. Did you know that eggs contain every vitamin mineral and protein necessary for life? These are also the same vitamin, minerals and proteins that your skin needs to prevent damage and maintain a healthy look.
Stop your hands from showing your age by starting today with a good quality hand cream. The sooner you get started the faster you will see the benefits.