I’ve been noticing my hands a lot recently. Sometimes, when I’m taking pictures of beauty products my hands end up making their way into the photo. And when I pull up that photo on the computer, the image that gets blasted onto the screen is such a magnified version that I can’t help but notice all the little lines and creases that have etched themselves onto my hands over the years. Honestly, I’m amazed by how much older my hands look today than say, three years ago!
This really shouldn’t be a surprise though. Your hands, just like your face, are constantly exposed to the elements: the sun, extremely cold/dry weather, lots of water. But unlike your face, your hands take a far worse beating from all the harsh soaps, cleaning products and rough tasks to which we often subject them. And frankly, I’ve subjected my hands to a great deal of hard work in the past couple of years. I’m talking about serious manual labor, people! Drawing water from a deep well, washing clothes by hand, chopping wood (very badly, I admit) with a hatchet. Every day. For two long years while I lived the rustic life of a Peace Corps volunteer in Central Africa. And though I’m proud to say I have worker’s hands, I think it’s about time to give back some tender loving care to these babies.
So here is a list of ways we can begin to lovingly care for our hands:
Water can strip your skin of moisture so it’s important to moisturize your hands frequently, especially after each time you wash them. Keep a small tube of moisturizing cream on you. The ideal cream would be one that’s good for your hands AND your nails (like Melvita Extra Rich Hand Cream). Also, if you are doing a lot of work around the house, using a rich oil-based cream early in the day and later in the night can help to protect your hands. Even oils in your kitchen cabinet, like olive oil and coconut oil, can be massaged into your hands to keep them hydrated.
2) Sun proof
If you have learned just one thing from this blog, I hope it’s the importance of protecting your skin from the sun. And your hands are no exception. Over time, unprotected sun exposure can result in wrinkles and little dark spots on your hands, which can make them appear older than they really are. As the proverbial saying goes, an ounce of prevention today is worth a pound of cure. So start sun proofing your hands early on. A good practice is to slather a bit of your daily facial sunscreen onto your hands each morning. Or better yet, pick up a hand moisturizer with built-in SPF (like Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Anti-Ageing Hand Cream SPF 25). This is a great way to keep your hands moisturized and sun proofed throughout the day.
3) Work proof
Any time you subject your hands to dish soap and cleaning chemicals, wear rubber gloves. Before you start digging around in the garden, put on some gardening gloves. When it starts getting cold and windy outside, wear mittens. Get my drift? Gloves are a working girl’s best friend!
Cheesy photo alert!
As you age, your hands will begin to develop the following: dark spots, wrinkles and thinning skin. The effects of the first two can be greatly reduced if you follow the preventive practices thus aforementioned. But sooner or later, your hands will need some restorative care. For wrinkles, the same anti-aging cream or serum that you use for your face can also work well for your hands. Look for ingredients that include retinol, antioxidants and peptides (like Roc Multi-Correxion Night Treatment). For dark spots there are numerous spot correcting hand creams out there (like Clinique’s Even Better Dark Spot Correcting Hand Cream). As for the problem of thinning skin on hands, there ARE some people who are into that bony, veiny kind of look… But if that’s not your thing, you can find a cream that will help to boost the collagen and elastin protein levels in the hands to restore their volume and firmness (try Strivectin-SD Volumizing Hand Treatment).
If you are not giving your hands the care that they need, your nails will evetually begin to suffer. There are vitamins and supplements you can take to help strengthen your nails, such as vitamins C, A, E and calcium and zinc. Recently, I’ve been taking biotin to help strengthen my nails. It is a B vitamin that is found naturally in many foods, including salmon, egg yolk, mushrooms, bananas and carrots. But even if you do not suffer from biotin deficiency, biotin supplements may be the additional boost that your nails need.
So there you go! I hope this was helpful, and if you have additional thoughts and ideas write me a line. I’d love to know what you do or what products you use to care for your hands.