Although I make it a point to let go of regrets, there is one I have trouble tossing, and it’s that I never wore sunscreen or moisturizer on my hands. It’s understandable — your average 20-year-old sees herself as not just invincible, but immune to the aging process. The skin on the backs of my hands, however, begs to differ.
If you’re anything like me, you realized too late that your hands age right along with the skin on your face — faster, even — because they typically get more exposure the elements. Sun, cold, wind, and the like can really do a number on delicate skin. Here are the three main culprits that get in the way of smooth and youthful and smooth — and a few solutions to keep them looking beautiful moving forward.
What makes aging hands look old?
Three common mistakes we make when it comes to our hands and getting older are: smoke, sun, and neglect.
Smoke. The first issue is easy: quit smoking. There are so many reasons to stop, just one of which is that your hands always tell the truth. Not only can smoking cause internal hand damage like restricted bone healing and poor circulation issues, but it can also slow the wound healing process and speed up premature aging for the delicate skin on your hands.
Sun. We all know by now to wear SPF on our faces to prevent premature aging, wrinkles, and sunspots. But it’s important to remember other exposed areas that we might overlook, like the backs of our ears and neck, and the backs of our hands. It’s unfortunate, but just because they are smaller in surface area doesn’t mean they aren’t subject to the same sunspots and potential skin cancers as our backs or faces.
This summer, don’t forget to get an extra large bottle of sunscreen to bring to the beach with you. Or do yourself one better, and get a hand cream with sun protection, like this Supergoop Hand Screen (Buy from Amazon, $14).
Neglect. Do you know those moments in movies, or even your favorite old Brady Bunch episode, where Mrs. Brady would never be shown getting ready for bed without slathering moisturizer on her hands? Nightgowns, bedside tables, and hand cream were the trifecta of TV and movie moms. Well, they had the right idea. The skin on the backs of our hands gets thinner as we age, and therefore needs more protection and care.
How can I make my hands look younger?
First off, start treating the skin on your hands as you do the skin on your face and décolleté. If you have a skin care routine, extend it to your hands as well. This means cleanser, serum, moisturizer and SPF — every day!
Secondly, stay away from nail polish colors that can age your hands. In general, these are any colors that make your hands stand out, rather than blending in. For example, if your skin is fair, you probably want to stay away from black or dark polish, and go with a more neutral and sheer pink or beige.
Third, no matter what shade you go with, the most important thing when it comes to maintaining youthful-looking hands is regular moisturizing, using sunscreen, cuticle cream or oil, and regular trims and or visits to your favorite nail tech. Doing these things will not only help stop your hands from aging, but provide you with a nice treat every week or so! We say, go for it!
This article originally appeared on our sister site, First for Women.