The “Hands On” approach to anti-aging

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Time and time again in this industry we see patients spending infinite amounts of time and money on their faces and neglecting the rest of their bodies.  One of the biggest giveaways (provided the patient has had the good sense to use their facial products and treatments on their necks too) is hands that look years older than the face that they should match!  Here are a few reasons for discordant hand aging, and how to remedy them:

The sun: Usually, our hands get just as much sun exposure (if not a touch more) as our faces, but are we as vigilant about protecting the skin on our hands from the sun as we are about protecting our faces?  If the answer for you is no, you need to start thinking about your hands ASAP.

You will almost certainly have noticed that your mother/grandmother/great grandmother (or heaven forbid: you!) has started to develop dark “liver spots” on the backs of her hands.  The ONLY culprit for these spots is the sun.  If your granny was a real lady who wore gloves every day then you may be struggling to understand what these spots I am talking about look like, and that’s exactly the point!  In order to keep your hands looking youthful they need to be protected from the sun, whether by a physical barrier like gloves, or by using sunscreen.

The sun, or more specifically UVA, is also the number one culprit for the decline in collagen in your skin.  When you choose a sunscreen make sure you have checked that it protects against UVA and UVB.  Many sunscreens protect only against UVB and that’s great since it will prevent you from burning, but unfortunately with these products you are not being protected from the long term effects the sun has on our skins that cause aging.

Hand washing:  Listen, hand washing is literally ALWAYS encouraged.  Don’t go getting Ebola and then saying it’s my fault!  BUT, constant hand washing dries out your skin.  That’s really part of the point of it: killing germs by making the environment unliveable for them (germs love moisture).  This is fantastic and has countless health benefits, and actually benefits your facial skin too (if you’re touching your face with grubby hands all day you can’t wonder why your face looks like a pizza), but by dehydrating your hands you are making them more prone to aging.

As with all skin on your body, hydration plumps the skin and keeps it healthy and youthful; dehydration creates wrinkles and makes the skin more prone to damage and breaking that can lead to scarring.  Now the solution to this one is NOT to stop washing your hands, but instead to be aware of what you are washing your hands with and whether or not you are replacing the moisture you are removing from them.  Hand soaps that contain alcohol are going to ensure that most of the bacteria on your hands is gone, but they are going to dry your hands out more than necessary too, so if you are using alcohol to clean your hands make sure you moisturize afterwards.  Keep a travel-sized hand cream in your handbag and moisturize your hands as frequently as you wash them.  Moisturizing from the inside out by drinking plenty of water is also encouraged!

What’s also important to note is that if you are applying sunscreen to your hands in the morning, and then washing your hands all day, the sunscreen isn’t going to last very long, is it?  To combat this, try to apply a moisturiser that has at least some SPF in it.  Our hands are most exposed to the sun when we are outdoors and driving, so apply a higher SPF before spending time in your car or outdoors.

General maintenance:  All of us follow some form of skincare routine, some more complicated than others, but nonetheless.  Do you follow a hand care routine though?  If you are using retinoids or fancy night creams or applying masks to your face and décolleté, do your hands a favour and give them a treat too!  This will ensure that the skin on your hands remains soft and supple and will keep wrinkling at bay for that little while longer.

Aesthetic treatments:  If you are showing signs of aging in your face and are using treatments like Botox® or fillers or Dermapen or laser to combat these signs, do not forget your hands!  Treatments like dermal fillers can easily be used to reverse the signs of aging and give your hands an instantly more youthful look by plumping them up and stimulating collagen synthesis.  Similarly laser treatments or Dermapen can also be used on the hands to get rid of uneven pigmentation or stimulate collage and remove wrinkles and fine lines.  If you’re going to see a doctor about your face, consider asking what the cost would be to treat your hands too.  Often you will be able to work out a deal if you are doing more than one treatment in one appointment.

It may seem like an unnecessary expense to use pricey treatments, sunscreens and moisturizers on your hands, but most of us use our hands as much as we use our faces to communicate, and on top of that we adorn them with gold and diamonds that further draws the eye towards them!  There is nothing more suspicious than granny hands paired with a youthful face!  Think about it…

To find out more about aesthetic treatments like fillers or Dermapen for the hands send us an email on info@capeaesthetics.co.za, or to make an appointment give us a call on (021) 6833048 extension 1.

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