The Daily Activity That Can Discolor Your Hands

Many dermatologists we’ve spoken to over the years have stressed the importance of taking care of your hands the same way you do your face and other parts of your body. Your hands will almost always be exposed, so any imperfections like dark spots and discoloration won’t go unnoticed. We got the scoop from the pros on how to get rid of them to keep your hands looking youthful and spot-free.

The best way to prevent dark spots from popping up on your hands is to wear sunscreen. “In most cases, dark spots are caused by sun damage,” says Nashville, TN, dermatologist Michael Gold, MD. “Most of the sun damage we receive happens early in life, and as we age, these lesions can become more and more prominent.”

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According to Baton Rouge, LA, dermatologist Ann Zedlitz, MD, one of the main culprits that causes sun damage in this area is driving with your hands on the wheel where they are exposed to sunlight. “I always keep a tube of sunscreen in my car door pocket and put it on every time I get in the car,” she adds. "I also have my car windows tinted to help block UVA rays, which cause aging of the skin.”

So how can you get rid of them once they’ve popped up? “It’s best to have a good physical exam first to make sure your spots aren’t potential malignant lesions,” says Dr. Gold. “If they are deemed to be benign and sun-related, there are several options available to improve their appearance.” Lasers and light-based treatments are some of the most popular options. “Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) and Q-switched lasers are most commonly used, and they can improve the appearance of spots very quickly,” says Dr. Gold.

Dr. Zedlitz says that chemical peels, such as glycolic and TCA peels, and topical skin care products, are also effective at removing unwanted discoloration. “Prescription-strength skin-lightening creams such as hydroquinone (4-12 percent) work well,” she adds. “I personally recommend that my patients use a 7-percent glycolic acid lotion on their hands at night.”

If dark spots aren’t your only concern and you’re dealing with wrinkles and lax skin, too, ask your doctor about injectable fillers to plump the area. “Radiesse, an injectable dermal filler, has been approved by the FDA to correct volume loss on the hands,” says Dr. Gold. “I think this will come into play even more as we combine it with our skin care products and energy-based devices.” 


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