Anti-ageing treatments and complaints about skin, and fine lines and wrinkles tend to be primarily focused on the face, and while this can certainly give your age away (while draining your confidence), another tell tale area can be just as obvious…but tends to get forgotten very easily – your hands.
The skin on your hands may be thicker than that on your face (the delicate skin under your eye can be as thin as 0.3mm), but it tends to be subjected to far worse treatment, and can end up looking quite mismatched, especially if you’re taking good care of your face. Just like your face, your hands are usually exposed to the elements, but I certainly don’t take as much care of them as I do my face.
I know a girl that works in the skincare industry that has the most beautiful skin on her face – and I mean air-brushed, has-she-used-a-filter-in-real-life, completely envy inspiring skin – who has hands that appear to belong to a chain-smoking washer woman in her seventies…the contrast is almost freaky.
So how does this incredible discrepancy occur?
- Forgetting about your hands
Obviously enough, if you take immaculate care of the skin on your face and completely disregard that of your hands, you’re likely to end up with two different results (it’s like two different people essentially, with totally different skincare routines). Sunscreen of course should be extended to your neck and hands, and I now tend to wipe any excess of serums, moisturisers etc on the backs of hands during my skincare routine.
2. Mistreating your hands
Washing dishes in hot, hot, ouchy hot water, constant hand washing and glove wearing (the glamorous side of my job), shampooing your hair in hot water, lifting weights, exposing your hands to sunshine, cold temperatures and wind. The onslaught our hands are exposed to on a daily basis is quite surprising when you actually think about it. It’s easy to even just plain wash your hands in much hotter water than you would wash your face with (lukewarm, yes?!) and almost impossible to remember to moisturise as regularly as you really need to. I have recently started carrying around a tube of Elizabeth Arden’s 8 Hour cream as it works as both a lip balm and is fantastic for dry cuticles, but actually applying it is proving to be a slow habit to form.
3. Manicures (sorry!)
Yes, I know manicures involve taking care of your hands…but if you are a serial shellac or gel manicure addict, you are exposing your hands to regular doses of UVA rays – and it is specifically these UVA rays (as opposed to UVB) that are responsible for skin damage and the signs of ageing like pigmentation and wrinkles, along with skin cancer. I have cursed not being able to wear nail varnish in work (or the fact that I’m not supposed to anyway) for years, but it has saved me some unnecessary rays as I simply couldn’t justify getting a gel manicure for a weekend, only if I was going on holidays. Just 12 visits to the nail salon is all that is required for detectable DNA damage to take place – which let’s face it, is pretty easy to achieve. I’m not suggesting quitting long lasting manicures forever, they can be amazing for holidays (especially active ones like skiing), but at least be aware of the damage you are causing, and decide for yourself when it’s worth it.
Have you noticed any ageing of your hands? Because of my job, I have struggled with dry, neglected hands for years , and would love to hear any ideas or products you have for keeping yours in good condition – and specifically looking below the age of seventy.
You can also treat your hands in The Glow Clinic now, with a light peel.