Are Your Hands Aging You?

While our eyes, face and smile play important roles in first impressions, it's our hands that most often make the first contact--when we extend them for a welcoming shake. Why then, do we obsess so much over our facial skin, yet overlook the skin on our hands, which tend to be one of the first places that shows signs of aging?

Dry, dehydrated hands can look drab in color and texture, as well as bony or perhaps simply unhealthy, as our fingernails often express what's going on inside. Like your facial skin, there are some regular rituals you can perform for your hands to keep them looking young and supple.

Protect those palms: It seems counter-intuitive that water could make your skin dry, but it turns out regular exposure will do just that. And wouldn't you know, we tend to wet our hands excessively each day-either washing them or using them to clean (accompanied by cleaning products at that). It sounds like simple advice, but wearing gloves to do most of your chores will protect your hands, as will applying a cream immediately after washing to lock in any moisture.

Don't see spots: Sun spots or age spots often appear on the hands. Why? Because they're almost always exposed to the sun, yet we often neglect to protect them. So don't wash away excess sunscreen after applying it to your face or body. Instead, rub it onto the backs of your hands and show them a little bit of love too. If spots are bothersome, consider a product with hydroquinone to lighten them. Or talk to your plastic surgeon about Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) to laser them away.

Keep them groomed: Nails that are fairly short and uniform in length look more youthful and well-maintained. Plus, they're less likely to snag. If you're concerned with your skin tone, experiment with a darker nail polish rather than a nude. A darker color can work as a nice accent to draw attention away from discoloration in the skin. Another tip--apply an oil to your cuticles, both morning and night, to get healthy, hangnail-free digits.

Eat well: As the saying goes, you are what you eat. Consider a diet filled with high-quality protein (eggs are an excellent choice), whole wheats and grains, healthy omega-3 fatty acids (sprinkle on some flax seed) and plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Talk to a professional: If you notice ridges or color changes in your nail beds, consider seeing a dermatologist who can analyze what your nails may be saying about your overall health. A lack in specific vitamins could be the cause.


Related links:
Hands as Soft as a Bunny
Discoloration Treatments for the Face That Can Also be Used on Your Hands
When Celebrity Hands Aren't Ready for Their Close-Up