Ageing hands? Tips, treatments and creams that make your hands look younger

Ageing hands? Tips, treatments and creams that make your hands look younger

3rd January 2024 | Author: Victoria Woollaston-Webber

We’ve compiled the ultimate guide to tackling the signs of ageing on hands – from dermatologist tips to the best hand creams and more


No matter how well you look after your face, if you don’t also take care of your hands then they’re going to reveal your true age to the world.

They’re also the first part of the body to show the signs of ageing, from scaly skin to age spots, brittle nails, and wrinkles, because they’re one of the most exposed parts of your body.

“If you think about what your hands go through in a day, they work tirelessly and are exposed to the elements from the moment you wake up: the weather, the sun, pollution, water, even down to the job you do,” Liz Warom, co-founder of Temple Spa tells mamabella.

The good news is, there’s time to rescue your hands from further damage and in some cases reverse the clock and improve the signs of ageing on your hands.

Anti-ageing skincare for hands will be your saviour because it’s packed with ingredients to keep your hands soft, boost the elasticity of your skin, and improve pigmentation.

And as we always stress, we’re not saying ageing hands are anything to worry about or be ashamed of. This guide is for people who are concerned about it, or whose confidence has been knocked because of it. We know that being able to age is a privilege! 

FURTHER READING: Best anti-ageing hand creams


Signs of ageing on hands

The main signs of ageing on the hands are:

  • Scaly, rough skin
  • Saggy skin
  • Lack of elasticity
  • Fine lines and wrinkles
  • Age spots, or dark spots
  • Irritation, eczema or contact dermatitis
  • Brittle nails

Causes of ageing on hands

Age spots and signs of ageing on handsShutterstock

As we age our skin cell turnover begins to slow and our skin produces fewer natural oils, which can lead to dry skin. The skin on our hands is thinner than the skin on our face, meaning it has fewer sebaceous glands to produce these natural oils in the first place, meaning they’re usually the first to look older.

When the skin on our hands loses fat and elasticity, this reduced volume means the skin is more likely to crease and wrinkle. It can also lead to the development of age spots on your hands.

Age spots on hands are overactive pigment cells. UV light speeds up the production of melanin, a natural pigment that gives skin its colour. On skin that has had years of sun exposure, age spots appear when the melanin becomes clumped or is produced in high concentrations.

Elsewhere, in a post-COVID world, many of us are washing our hands more than ever. Although this is the best way to limit the spread of germs, too much can also speed up the ageing of your hands. That’s because the limestone found in water is especially harmful to the hydrolipidic film – the surface of your skin that is the primary defence against bacteria.

This limestone is left on your skin in small crystal form, absorbing your skin’s natural moisture and can lead to your skin feeling rough, dry and potentially inflamed from irritation.

What’s more, frequent hand washing for a long period can cause long-term changes to the skin, resulting in conditions such as contact dermatitis and eczema.

FURTHER READING: Remove dark spots on your face, hands and body with our pick of the best dark spot correctors


Dermatologist Tips for ageing hands

Dermatologist Tips for ageing handsShutterstock

One of the most important dermatologist tips for the treatment of ageing hands is moisturising.

Your hand care routine should include moisturising after washing to lock in the moisture, plump your skin and prevent your skin from drying out. Losing the plumpness of your skin on your hands may mean your veins become more visible, making your hands appear older.

Ideally, you need to be doing one or more of the following:

  • Wearing SPF on your hands every day. You can buy dedicated sun creams for your hands but sunscreen for your face works just as well.
  • Using a lotion that contains retinol or glycolic acid. To maximise the effects, apply this lotion before going to bed and wear cotton gloves to trap the moisture in. If you’re using retinol, your skin becomes more sensitive to the sun so wearing SPF becomes even more important.
  • Applying a light chemical peel, every one to three months
  • Laser treatment – this is a more expensive, more drastic option but can be worth it if you’re ageing hands are a particular concern.

Other dermatologist tips for ageing hands include protecting your hands from the sun.

Your hands are easily exposed to the sun and the UV exposure will weaken the collagen, which can lead to premature ageing of your hands. Collagen is the protein in your skin that keeps your skin firm and hands wrinkle-free and this is why it’s so important to use sunscreen on the tops of your hands, even on a cloudy day.


The best treatments for ageing hands

The easiest way to treat ageing hands is to drink more water, get more sleep and (try to) be less stressed. Easier said than done we know! Dehydrated skin is far more likely to wrinkle and crease.

You can test how dehydrated your skin is by pinching the top of your hand and seeing how long it takes for the skin to return to normal. If it moves back slowly then that’s an indication you’re dehydrated.


Hand wash

Using a hand wash with antioxidants means you’re less likely to cause inflammation to your skin, and will soothe your skin while it’s being cleaned.

Our favourite is the Rough Buster Exfoliating Hand Wash (£10) from Mio.

Not only is it rich in vitamins and antioxidants but it also contains jojoba esters and perlite to exfoliate and remove dead skin cells and limestone.

By removing the dead skin cells, you’re also giving any treatment or cream you apply after washing a better chance of penetrating the deeper layers.

The best treatments for ageing handsLa Roche-Posay

SPF

In terms of sunscreen, although the La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Baume B5 Repairing Balm SPF50+ (£11) isn’t specifically designed for your hands, it works as a great SPF hand cream. It can help relieve any dry skin on your hands and most importantly contains factor 50, so it’ll protect your hands from damaging UV rays.

It’s a 40ml tube, so you can easily carry it around with you and reapply as and when you need to throughout the day. We’ve also got more recommendations in our best sunscreen guide.


Exfoliant

If you’ve not kept your hands protected from the sun then you’re probably wondering how you can restore collagen in your hands.

To increase collagen in your hands you’re going to want to use a glycolic or retinol cream as a form of exfoliation, to remove dead skin cells and stimulate new skin cells to grow. It’s a form of chemical peel hand rejuvenation.

The No7 Pure Retinol Hand Cream (£17.95) helps to slow down your hands’ ageing process by reducing the production of melanin and minimises the development of hyperpigmentation. To avoid any irritation from the retinol it also contains shea butter and bisabolol.

Alternatively, Ameliorate’s Intensive Hand Therapy (£6.40) contains a blend of Alpha Hydroxy Therapy, LaH6 Hydration Complex and essential oils to exfoliate, renew, soften, moisturise and protect the skin on your hands.

Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) help exfoliate your skin by removing dead skin cells and stimulating the growth of new skin cells. It’s a nice hand cream that soaks in well and is the perfect choice if you’re looking for a hand cream for dry hands.


Serum

If you have age spots on your hands, opt for a treatment that contains Vitamin C. It’s one of the most potent brightening antioxidants in skincare, which is why it’s fantastic at reversing age spots on hands.

We particularly like the Vitamin C Ester Intensive Dark Spot Treatment from Perricone MD (£61). It’s not cheap but it’s designed to target your age spots and dark brown sun spots with its three forms of vitamin C – proprietary Vitamin C Ester, alongside alpha-arbutin and resorcinol.


Anti-ageing hand cream

Loccitane shea butter hand creamL'Occitane

Another good choice when it comes to anti-ageing skincare for hands is a cream that prevents hand wrinkles and can even prevent age spots. The best hand creams for ageing skin that we’ve tried are the L’Occitane Shea Butter hand cream (£22), and the Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream (£4.15).

The L’Occitane cream is made with 95% natural, plant-derived ingredients while the Neutrogena hand cream has 40% glycerine and will make your hands feel better after application. Opting for the unscented version means there’s also less chance of irritation if you have sensitive skin.

The Temple Spa Palm Balm Nourishing Hand Cream is another great option. It’s full of vitamins, so it’s a hand cream with great anti-ageing benefits.

These include Vitamin C to lighten and firm your skin, as well as Vitamin E, which helps to protect your hands from UV damage. There’s also Vitamin B3 which will strengthen your skin barrier and improve your skin’s pigmentation.


Nail treatment

Having brittle nails is another obvious sign of ageing on your hands. If you’re over 60 you’re more likely to have brittle nails due to the impact of menopause and ageing. However, if you’re younger and find you have lines running lengthways (like little ridges), or you find your nails break easily then you’re going to want to use a lotion with Vitamin A, zinc, Aloe Vera or Vitamin E.

Ideally, you’ll want to soak your nails in water for five minutes before applying a nail and cuticle treatment serum like the Strength to Strength from Templespa (£12). It contains a range of minerals including calcium, magnesium, zinc and iron, that will help strengthen your nails and improve their resistance to breaking.


In-clinic treatments

Elsewhere, if your age spots are big or your ageing hands are a particular concern, you might want to consider hand rejuvenation techniques such as laser therapy.

It can help restore lost collagen, tighten your skin and renew skin tone and texture. Microdermabrasion, a chemical procedure that uses fine crystals and a vacuum to remove dead skin cells, is another option too.


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