At my recent laser conference in Orlando, hand rejuvenation was among the many hot topics. It is apparently really popular out on the west coast and in the south, and is rapidly spreading across the country.
One doctor presenter speculated that since engagement ring selfies are getting to be a widespread trend, and since the median age of women getting engaged and married is steadily increasing, hands are getting scrutinized more closely. Whether or not selfies are the motivating factor, nonsurgical hand rejuvenation procedures and questions about them are increasing steadily.
As our bodies age, the hands more prominently show the underlying structures such as veins, muscles, tendons and bones. Pigment changes in the form of “liver spots”, also known as sun or age spots, also occur over time caused by ultraviolet and sun exposure. Additionally, sun damage contributes to hand wrinkles, leathery texture of the skin, and brown spots.
So how do the hands get rejuvenated? First and foremost, the best offense is a good defense, as they say in sports. Covering the hands with sunscreen at least 30 minutes before going out in the sun is incredibly important.
In addition, reapplying sunscreen is critical. If you put your sunscreen on in the morning and then wash your hands later, you need to reapply. This generally means that you need to reapply sunscreen many times over the course of the day.
Moisturizing is another important part of hand defense. A moisturizer with antioxidant properties should be applied at bedtime. This nighttime application will help the natural cell repair process and enhance the benefits of both sunscreen use and any rejuvenation treatment.
For those of you whose hands have already aged, the best treatment or procedure for the hands will depend on the individual and the extent of prior aging or damage to that skin area. I will discuss a number of approaches from less to more aggressive, realizing that a particular person may require one or multiple treatments to reach their individual goals.
- Peels– For those with minimal skin damage, chemical peels applied by my aesthetician Denise can enhance the hand appearance. Peels will smooth skin texture, lighten some of the most superficial pigmentation, and result in even more even tone.
- Cryotherapy– This is a skin treatment I offer that involves freezing skin lesions with a liquid nitrogen-type preparation. This is generally the best approach for those with more structural lesions such as seborrheic keratosis (benign) or actinic keratosis (a precancerous lesion).
- Microneedling– This treatment can enhance skin tone and result in thickening of skin that has thinned through aging resulting in seeing the underlying structures.
- Laser therapy– I use several different lasers on the hands depending on the type and extent of aging and damage on the skin. Laser therapy can stimulate underlying collagen, resurface the superficial skin improving skin tone and decreasing wrinkles and sun damage. The most common and popular treatment is the directed removal of age spots, which results in significant improvement within several weeks. For this treatment, the spots actually look darker and even lightly scabbed for several days and then gradually fade or fall off resulting in younger and rejuvenated appearance.
- Fillers– As we discussed above, part of the hand aging process is the loosening of the skin as it loses skin tone and elasticity. Fillers have been used for a number of years to restore lost volume improving contour and making veins and tendons less noticeable. The procedure involves one injection under the surface of each hand and then the filler will be massaged for even distribution in the office.
These result-oriented treatments can show easy-to-see improvements, and can certainly make those hand selfies look much better. As always, treatment benefits will be wasted if the improvements are not protected by sunscreen and moisturizer use.
Also, in a world where lots of attention and money is expended on showing off nails (particularly among women), your hands should not be neglected. If you are interested in making your hands look as young and vital as you feel, give me a call at (207) 873-2158 for a free consultation