23rd December 2021

Why Your Hands Are Ageing Prematurely—and What You Can Do About It

If you've been reading our anti-ageing articles, you've probably already levelled up your facial skincare game and are doing your best to maintain a vibrant and revitalized look.

But what about your hands? Apart from the face and neck, the hands are the most visible unclothed body area. However, despite significant advances in facial cosmetic procedures, hand rejuvenation has remained largely neglected. Other than the occasional manicure, the delicate skin and nails on the hands are often overlooked.

This is quite unfortunate because the hands can age a person faster than their face! Many people are now looking for hand rejuvenation treatments after noticing that the aged appearance of their hands greatly contrasts their rejuvenated faces.

What causes your hands to age prematurely, and what can you do about it. Read on to find out.

Age Spots

Age-spots-hand-ageing-effect

Age spots, liver spots, and sunspots all describe the brown spots that appear on the skin due to sun exposure. While they are often nothing to worry about, many find them annoying and unappealing. As a result, "how to get rid of age spots" has become a viral Google search term in the UK.

The brown spots that mark the backs of hands are caused by years of sun exposure. They will only get more prominent with age, so you can't sit back and hope they will go away. 

While age spots primarily affect adults older than age 50, younger people who spend a lot of time in the sun can get them too. This is because age spots appear when melanin becomes clumped in the skin or is produced in high concentrations. This overactivity of the melanocytes (melanin-producing cells) is triggered when the skin continually gets exposed to lots of UV light.

Solution:

At Dr Aesthetica, we are big proponents of preventive skincare. This means the best place to start is before you develop age spots. We recommend you apply sunscreen to your hands before leaving the house then frequently throughout the day. 

Your best bet is a broad-spectrum SPF 30 mineral-based sunblock. Using a Vitamin C serum daily will further help protect the skin from the harsh environmental elements and the sun,

What if you already have sunspots? How can you get rid of them? There are several cosmetic in-office treatment options for fading existing liver spots:

  • Ablative laser resurfacing is perhaps the most effective (and costliest) way to remove brown spots.
  • Out #1 recommended treatment is getting a chemical peel. It's more cost-friendly and still effective.

Related: Domination of Mineral Sunscreen and 7 Other 2022 Skincare Trends

Prominent Hand Veins

prominent-hand-veins-due-ageing

Unlike varicose veins in the legs, protruding veins on the back of the hand are quite normal. 

However, their appearance can make some feel self-conscious and embarrassed. For example, many women are concerned that bulging veins make their hands appear masculine. 

Even if you've done a great job keeping your face smooth and youthful-looking, prominent hand veins will be a sure giveaway of your true age. As women get older, some complain about having "old ladies' hands".

There is very little fat on the backs of the hands, so any volume loss that occurs with age exposes the veins that were previously tucked away. As we age, we lose collagen and elastin and some of the fad padding, making the tendons and veins in the back of our hands more prominent. 

On top of that, the walls of the veins weaken with age. As a result, blood tends to pool and dilate the veins. Over time, the veins become permanently dilated.

Also, if you have family members with more prominent veins in their hands, this may indicate an underlying genetic predisposition. This makes you more likely to develop bulging hand veins than the average person.

Solution: 

The most effective treatment is to restore volume with a dermal filler. This hand rejuvenation treatment is our preferred treatment option here at Dr Aesthetica. 

As with injecting fillers in the face, it is paramount to work with an injector who possesses a profound understanding of the anatomy of the hand. Numerous nerves, tendons, and vascular structures exist in the hand that can be inadvertently damaged when fillers are injected wrongly.

For a more drastic option, you can consider surgery. Micro-phlebectomy is a surgical procedure whereby the doctor makes an incision, ties off the vein, and removes it. The body redirects the blood flow, and eventually, the closed vein fades away.

Crepey skin

Another disconcerting side effect of sun exposure is crepey skin which gives the hands a thin and wrinkled appearance. 

Skin is composed of three layers:

  • The epidermis, or outermost layer
  • The dermis, or middle layer
  • The subcutis, or bottom-most layer

The dermis contains collagen, elastin, and other fibres supporting the skin's structure and giving it its smooth and youthful appearance.

UVA rays penetrate deep into the dermis and cause increased production of abnormal elastin. The unusual amounts of elastin result in the production of enzymes called metalloproteinases—which often malfunction and degrade the collagen.

Over time the collagen fibres eventually lose their ability to repair completely after repeated sun exposure. Once these supportive fibres break down, the skin can get loose, thin, and wrinkly.

Solution:

Again, your first line of defence: protect your skin from sun damage. This means staying out of the sun as much as possible and always wearing sunscreen. For an excellent at-home solution, you can try a prescription-only topical retinoid, such as AlumierMD Retinol. 

You can opt for professional microneedling to improve skin texture by triggering collagen repair. It's also considered a safer alternative to the more invasive laser resurfacing treatment.

Rough, scaly patches

rough-scaly-hands-ageing-effect

Rough dry patches sometimes develop on the back of the hand. 

Routine daily habits like frequent hand washing, doing the dishes, cleaning with certain chemicals and forgetting to apply hand cream can seriously dry out your hands. 

As you age, the skin barrier function weakens and becomes more susceptible to these external irritants, setting the stage for premature ageing of the hands.

This is only made worse by overexposure to UV light which promotes increased dryness, inflammation and sometimes even cracks in the outer layer of skin.

Unlike the other signs of premature ageing hands mentioned so far, this one poses a health risk. 

If left untreated, solar keratosis (a form of dry scaly skin) might progress to squamous cell carcinoma—a type of cancer that usually isn't life-threatening if detected and treated early. 

So even if you don't mind the appearance of dry, scaly hands, you shouldn't ignore it. If you already have a rough patch, talk to your doctor to recommend the ideal treatment option. 

Solution:

Keeping your hands hydrated is a no-brainer. Dry skin can make the skin appear wrinkly, so it's essential to use a hand moisturizer consistently. Also, avoid tanning beds as the UV exposure from a tanning bed is just as bad as sun damage. If you have solar keratosis, it's vital to avoid any further sun damage. This will stop you from getting more skin patches and lower your chance of getting skin cancer.

Hand Rejuvenation with Dr Aesthetica

The thought of a hand care routine might sound a bit indulgent, but it makes sense when you consider the information above. No one wants to willingly end up with hands with crepey skin, bulging veins, age spots and rough, dry patches. 

So, whether you're hoping to avoid ageing hands early on or are simply looking for ways to revert some of these effects, Dr Aesthetica is here for you.

We offer comprehensive and personalized options for at-home skincare and in-office treatments that will tackle any concerns you might have about the effects of ageing and UV exposure on your hands. Book a consolation today, and let us help you find a long-lasting solution.

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