Written by Margaret Kontras Sutton, M.D.

It is often said that looking at someone’s hands will reveal their true age.  I believe this to be true for many reasons.  Our hands take the most wear and tear of any other places on our bodies.  We wash our hands many times a day making them vulnerable to physical and chemical irritation and increasing our chances of hand rashes.  Our hands come into contact with the many harsh and allergy-promoting agents in our environment.  While we cover our faces with the shade of our wide-brimmed hats, our hands may be exposed to sun for hours on end.  Let’s face it, our hands are our workhorses and take a lot of abuse.

So I have devoted a four-part blog on what we can do to keep our hands looking their best possible selves:

Part 1)Understanding the Ways the Hands Show their Age and How to Prevent These,

Part 2)Products to Use on the Hands,

Part 3)Procedures to Improve Appearance of the Hands—Lasers

Part 4)Procedures to Improve Appearance of the Hands—Fillers

Part 1, Understanding the Ways the Hands Show their Age and How to Prevent These

The unprotected exposure of the hands to the sun are the number one cause of the undesirable brown spots that we acquire as we age.  Use of a sunscreen with minimum SPF of 30 is recommended every day of the year.  When I am out for long walks I have started wearing sun gloves which are light-weight gloves offering sun protection.  These are easily found on-line in many styles and colors.  See my blog https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3nrO69-T210&feature=youtu.be.  Also a glove worn while driving will offer protection from the UVA which can penetrate window glass.  For brown spots which may already be present we will discuss procedures such as lasers to diminish the appearance of these in Part 3 of this series.

Easy bruising is another tell tale sign of age.  This is caused by thinning of the skin layers due to sun damage and just plain old aging.  Just a minor little bump can result in a bright purple bruise.  Most times we are not even aware of what has caused the minor trauma.  Consider prevention of minor trauma by wearing long sleeves, maybe even multiple layers.  Also avoid pressure on the forearms from purse straps or shopping bags.  Next week I will tell you about a product called DermMend which when used topically on a regular basis can improve the easy bruising of the hands and forearms.  Of course if you are on any kind of blood-thinning agents (including aspirin, certain herbal supplements, Vitamin E, etc.) the tendency for bruising will be accentuated.

As the skin ages it tends to become thinner and atrophic.  This allows for deeper structures such as veins and tendons to be more visible and is certainly another troublesome sign of hand aging.  Stay tuned for Part 4 of this series where we will address the use of fillers to conceal these.

See you next week for Part 2!

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