|Take Off Ten Years with Five At-home Hand Treatments|
|Written by Liberty Craig|
Our eyes may be the window to the soul, but our hands reveal the truth about our age. We women typically spend at least some time every day caring for our skin – on our faces. We cleanse, tone, moisturize, protect, and occasionally peel, buff or Botox. We apply makeup and each of us has our own routines for feeling as though we look our best when we leave the house. Our hands, however, we neglect.
The fact is, our hands receive at least as much UV exposure as our faces; often a lot more. We abuse our hands with endless dishwashing and household chores, often using harsh detergents that dry and damage the skin. We garden in the summer and expose our hands to the elements in the winter. The result is scaly skin, mottled sun spots, ragged cuticles... and hands that look older than we’d like them to. Try these five at-home treatments for beautiful hands to match your beautiful face.
So your daily moisturizer contains an SPF? Good for you... but that doesn’t mean it’s protecting your hands. We wash our hands so often during the day (especially during cold and flu season) that your facial moisturizer barely makes it to the door. Prolonged sun exposure is almost solely responsible for all those brown “age” or “liver” spots you see on old people’s hands – and that may be appearing on your own. It also causes veins to become more prominent, due to collagen damage that thins the skin. Use a heavier sunscreen with a higher sun protection factor for your hands, and reapply often.
Tip: Carry a sunscreen in your purse with SPF 60 or more, so you can reapply every three hours while you are out.
Too often, we buy expensive lotions and potions for our faces but use basic, inexpensive body lotion for our hands. Because our hands are subject to so much wear and tear, we must treat them well, and a light-weight moisturizer will not do the trick. Look for a hand lotion containing humectants like hyaluronic acid and glycerin plus ingredients like cocoa butter to prevent moisture loss. Reapply whenever you wash your hands.
Tip: Wear leather gloves in cold weather. The leather will keep your hands hydrated and protect against dry air and harmful UV rays.
Correct and Camouflage
One easy way to bring a youthful look back to your hands is with the moisturizer we’ve already talked about – it will smooth and plump your skin and take off years with regular application. For those brown sunspots, you may want to try a skin-brightening product containing vitamin C or kojic acid. They take a few months to really work, and you must be sure to use a sunscreen whenever you are outdoors. If you want to take it further than at-home treatments, microdermabrasion, chemical peels, and intense pulsed light (IPL) therapies can effectively address those pigment spots.
Tip: If you dislike the look of bulging veins on your hands, try a “light diffusing” moisturizer with micronized mineral particles designed to reflect light and camouflage problem areas.
That is – manicure! Ragged and overgrown cuticles, yellow nails and uneven nail lengths make hands look worn down and just plain older. Use a rejuvenating scrub to perk up your hands. Massage cuticle cream into each nail bed, and use an orange wood stick to push back your cuticles. File your nails until they appear even, and make sure to moisturize!
Tip: A professional manicure goes a long way. You may want to simply use these techniques to maintain and prolong your manicure between appointments.
Yet another area of the body we need to wax? Not to worry – paraffin wax is a hand treatment that feels wonderful and leaves your hands plump, nourished and velvety soft. You can melt your own paraffin wax at home using a double-boiler, or purchase at-home paraffin wax kits. Many manicures now come with a paraffin wax option.
Tip: Paraffin wax treatments are also used therapeutically for relief of joint and muscle pain. If you have aching hands, you can kill two birds with one stone!
Adding a little sparkle and shine can help perk up your makeup, your attire and, yes, your nails, too. However, as with clothing, the right shades make all the difference. Choose flattering colours that you would wear close to your face, like soft pinks and neutrals. A basic polish is great for an at-home treatment, or treat yourself to the newer shellac options available at the salon.
Tip: Avoid painting your nails with trendy blue or green tones, as they will bring out the colour of your veins.