A Show of Hands
How to protect the skin that shows aging the most
Between the typing, tapping (on smartphones), washing, sanitizing and boiled seafood eating, our hands go through a lot every day. Though we spend money on anti-aging and hydrating products for our face, hands also show signs of aging – sometimes more than the face – and yet good hand cream tends not to be a priority beauty purchase. There may be an inexpensive tube of hand cream living in the bottom of a purse or smooshed in the glove box; it’s typically bought as an after-thought, that product grabbed at the check-out counter. It is time to consider putting as much thought and money (OK, slightly less, but more than usual) into hand cream as we do face potions.
Like facial serums, a good quality hand cream can be the first and best defense against aging. Think of it this way: those dark spots and patches, veins and loose skin on your hands are often a dead give-away about how many candles are on your birthday cake. It was recently pointed out to me that comparing your hands with someone 10 years older or 10 years younger is very revealing, and not in a good way.
According to dermatologists, the skin on the back of our hands is thinner and more likely to chap, and hand-washing, though important, can strip hands of moisture. To combat over-dryness with hand washing use warm, not hot, water; pat your hands dry; and immediately rub in hand lotion or cream. At my house, every sink has hand soap and lotion sitting side-by-side. Convenient and portable, hand sanitizers are another dry skin culprit, typically composed of more than 60 percent extremely drying ethyl alcohol.
Drinking water; taking vitamins B and C for collagen; pumping up the Omega 3s; and increasing the amounts of skin-on fruits and vegetables one eats is said to help with skin hydration from the inside out – but hands especially need a boost of hydration topically. Hand models take things the extra mile with regular exfoliations; generous amounts of lanolin or coconut oil rubbed onto hands; and cotton sleeping gloves at night. They also recommend hand masks and paraffin treatments.
No time or inclination for all of that? Check out these highly rated hand creams, tried and tested (by me) to leave your hands softer and younger-looking.
Aesop exfoliating hand wash and hand cream is a good everyday combination, and the hand creams come in a few divine unisex scents.
Clinique “Even Better” (for reducing age spots) or “Deep Comfort” (softening) creams
Chanel Body Excellence Nourishing and Rejuvenating Hand Cream
Kieh’s Ultimate Strength Hand Salve
EOS Hand Lotion is soothing and portable with a light scent
Laura Mercier Hand Crème is heavily scented but effective; Fresh Fig or Almond Coconut Milk are the best
La Mer The Hand Treatment is pricey but worth it for diminishing age spots
Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Intensive Moisturizing Hand Treatment – the name says it all
Caudalie Hand and Nail Cream kills two birds with one stone: it smells great and is nourishing but not greasy
Chanel Lip balm
Anastasia brow powder
Zoeva eyebrow brush
Dior Nude Air Luminizer; or the dupe, Maybelline’s Expert Eye Wear Eyeshadow in “the glo down”
Bare Minerals liquid lipstick in Swag
OPI Gel Break in Barely Beige