We spend so much time tending to the skin on our faces – slathering on every last anti-aging potion we can find – that we often forget that there are other areas that are very susceptible to the aging process. Did you know that behind the eyes, the hands are the second place to show signs of aging? To get our facts straight and prevent premature aging of our hands, we checked in with Dr. Adam Friedman, Assistant Professor of Medicine and Director of Dermatologic Research at Montefiore - Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Not to get too Debbie Downer on you, but here’s a little morsel of what he had to say, “Very often the hands age even faster than the face… The skin on the back of the hand is much thinner and lacks the extensive blood vessel network and source of stem cells found on your face.” We’ve decided to treat this information as a wake up call. We’ll take the doc’s tips and from here on out, give our hands the TLC they need and deserve. And you should too. It’s time to protect your hands from…
This one should be a no brainer. Sun damage manifests itself in many forms – wrinkles, dark spots, blotchy red spots, and uneven pigmentation to name a few. Dr. Friedman recommends investing in a hand cream that has SPF 30 or higher and offers broad spectrum protection. “Use it daily, regardless of whether it is sunny or cloudy - damage occurs 365 days a year, even in the cold winter months.” Even if you’re spending all day inside an office, your hands need protection.
In cold temps, gloves are a must for warmth, but they provide more protection than you know. “Cold air and harsh winds deplete the skin of water and natural moisturizing factors. To provide protection from the cold, keep hands covered whenever possible,” says Dr. Friedman. On the flip side, “The warm, dry air from furnaces going full blast can have a drying effect on the skin too.” In addition to consistent moisturizer use, Dr. Friedman suggests picking up a humidifier to maintain a good moisture level in the air.
Your Household Chores
Here’s a new one. Double bag your hands. According to Dr. Friedman, “Dishwashing liquids are extremely harsh on the hands – altering the acidity of the skin, degrading the good fats that solidify the top layer and barrier of your skin, and stripping away natural moisturizing factors.” He says to wear a pair of cotton gloves followed by a pair of latex or nitrile gloves when washing the dishes to protect your skin from harsh grease-fighting agents.
So if dishwashing liquids strip skin of its natural oils and protectants, hand soaps can too. Dr. Friedman notes that many of the liquid soaps, especially antibacterial ones, contain irritants that cause hands to become dry, cracked and even inflamed. Follow his instructions and “look for hand washes that have pH stabilizing/buffering agents like dimethicone, silicone, and phosphoric acid. Even more importantly, after washing, ALWAYS lock moisture in with a cream or ointment-based moisturizer. We recommend The Body Shop Spa Wisdom African Honey & Beeswax Hand and Foot Butter or Kiehl’s Ultimate Strength Hand Salve.
Will you be incorporating any of these tips into your daily routine? Tell us below.