Did you know that the three areas which reveal aging are the face, neck and hands? Have you noticed how the old your hands are appearing lately? You would like to wear the beautiful rings you have but are embarrassed to attract too much attention to your hand? You have worked hard to fight off the signs of aging on your face and neck, now it is time to start working on your hands.
As with any part of the body, be it the face, neck or hands, remember the sun and it’s harmful rays are the biggest agers. The sun gives off both UVB rays which brown or burn us and UVA rays which age us. These UVA rays are the rays that break down the collagen and elastin and make your skin look wrinkled and old appearing. Therefore one of the first and easiest steps to younger hands is to keep them protected from the sun. Sunscreen on your hands everyday is important and will protect you for years to come. Remember this especially when driving. Our hands are exposed to the sun right through the glass of the windshield and for some are exposed to hours of these aging rays. Not only does the sun break down the collagen and elastin, it also stimulates the pigment producing cells in the skin, the melanocytes, to produce those ugly brown spots sometimes called sun spots or age spots.
So that is prevention. But you are saying, “I already have damage. What can be done to correct it?”
There are several methods to correct the damage. One is to continue to wear sunscreen. Yes, it will help lighten the already formed spots. The next is to use a prescription product such as 4% hydroquinone. This medication suppresses the production of melanin, the pigment released from the melanocytes which causes the brown spots. We have a product which combines the 4% hydroquinone and the sunscreen together called Sunfader by Obagi. This is what you can do to help your hand everyday. At night follow with a collagen and elastin building cream.
The next treatment option is to have photo-rejuvenation treatments to your hands. This is similar to the photo-rejuvenation treatment we preform on the face (See our blog for sun damage). This is a light energy based treatment. It works by “burning out” the pigment fro deep inside so the cell no longer functions. Immediately after the treatment the spots will become darken. Over the next one to two weeks they will begin to fade away. The treatment feels similar to a rubber band snap and after there may be a slight warmth sensation. This will leave the complexion of the skin on your hands looking even.
But you say that your problem is also bony, spindling looking hands. Not to worry, there is a treatment for that problem as well. As we age we loose volume not only in our faces bur in our hands as well. The solution to that is to replace the lost volume with dermal fillers. My preference is Radiesse. The procedure is very simple and virtually pain free if done by an experienced injector. A local anesthetic is first injected which makes the top of the hand numb. This is followed by injection of the dermal filler. Most patients will need one syringe for each hand. There are two methods of injections which can be done, one which I have developed. I have learned after years of experience injecting hands that not everyone needs the fillers injected in the same manner.
After the numbing medication wears off, it does feel as if you have hit the back of your hand and an achy sensation may be noticed for a few days.
The results of injecting the hands with dermal fillers takes years off of your hands. It leaves the skin firm and wrinkle free. The tendons are hidden and your hands regain that plump youthful appearance. As for the veins, some of them may not as obvious, but they may not all be hidden. From a medical point of view, it is actually important and beneficial to have some visible hand veins. If you ever need surgery, elective or emergent, it is important for your doctor to be able to locate a vein. This could be life saving. So some visible veins on your hand are a beautiful thing.
Having dermal fillers in your hands should last about one year. However I have found having a small touch up at about six months, with less than originally placed during the first treatment, makes your hands appear more youthful for a longer duration.
With the new techniques in used in combination, you can regain and maintain your youthful hands. So make the move and put your hands forward because help is within reach.