Our hands are our ID card. Better keep them young.


Written by Adele Sparavigna

Dermatologa e Venereologa / Dermatologist and Venereologist


Our hands are our ID card. Better keep them young.

Don’t hide behind a finger. Your appearance can be as tidy as it gets, but your hands will still betray our age. The solution is continuous care and specific products.

Our hands are one of the body parts which manifest the signs of time earliest. Their continuous use in daily activities leaves them at the mercy of environmental damage: chemical agents, UV rays, temperature fluctuations. Furthermore, they are the most frequently washed anatomical part: continuous contact with water and detergents can alter their pH and cutaneous hydro-lipid film.

 

Give your hands a hand

An aged hand looks “hollowed out”, wrinkly, blemished with solar spots. To prevent this from happening, which more than anything else reveals our age, it is fundamental to constantly use specific hydrating and anti-aging products. Daily use of solar protection is paramount for light- and intermediate-skin types. Regarding cleaning, if the frequency of hand-washing cannot be decreased, try to use specific products with a slightly acidic pH, and to concentrate the washing action of the palms, more probably the contact site with bacteria and microbes, rather than the backs. Contact with washing up fluid and irritating substances should be avoided by employing rubber gloves. Daily treatment with hydrating and protective creams should help maintain your skin soft and supple; remember to increase the frequency of application with the arrival of cold weather.

 

Natural cosmetic products: our hands’ best allies

The best solutions come from natural cosmetic products; oil-based treatments with sweet almond oil and beeswax are great examples of protective solutions against the slings and arrows of environmental damage. Regarding spots and blemishes, best turn to lightening natural extracts containing plant alfa-hydroxyl-acids, vitamin C, witch hazel, arbutin. By day fluid, easily absorbable formulations are more practical, but at night you should take advantage of the resting time to use richer and more consistent formulations, to be applied in a thick layer and covered with microfiber or cotton gloves.

 

For those who spend long hours sitting at the computer, I’d recommend not to keep your hands in the same position for too long on the mouse or keyboard, and to remember to make slow and repetitive movements to prevent, among other things, the onset of arthrosis. The hand’s hollowed-out appearance is due to deep alterations of the dermal and subcutaneous layers. Not only does it make bones and tendons look more prominent, it also highlights the bluish pattern of dilated veins due to the lack of wall support on behalf of connective tissue. This condition can be treated with high- or low-molecular weight hyaluronic acid injections.

 

Nails, too, require special treatment

With the passing of time, nails age, too. Their matrix is weakened, which translates to the development of deep vertical furrows in their surface. This phenomenon, called onicorrexis, is a clinical sign of nail fragility. Furthermore, with age, nails grow slower: statistically significant differences have been observed in the growth rate above and below the 40-year threshold.

 

If your nails are fragile, it’s best to avoid using nail varnish, solvents and files on the nail surface, often employed in a misguided attempt to improve their appearance, but which actually dry out and further damage the nail. I advise you keep your nails hydrated with lotions and unguents, and don’t forget to apply them also in the surrounding skin and cuticles.

 

Hydro-sprays are also available on the market: they adhere to the nail surface and strengthen its structure, while contributing to its hydration. These are hydro-soluble products, which are washed off after having applied them overnight, which is why daily use is recommended. Beautiful and manicured hands are a perfect business card: they boost your self-esteem (you can’t escape the sight of your hands!) and contribute to a regard of youthfulness on behalf of others.

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