Like It or Not, Your Hands Are One of the Best Timekeepers

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Dermatologist Dr. Suzanne Friedler of Advanced Dermatology, P.C. with Tips On How to Restore a More Youthful Look to Your Hands

Dr. Suzanne Friedler

Other than the spots, creases and wrinkles on your face, nothing tells time better than the skin on your hands, especially on the back of your hands.

“Other than the spots, creases and wrinkles on your face, nothing tells time better than the skin on your hands, especially on the back of your hands,” said Dr. Suzanne Friedler, board-certified dermatologist with Advanced Dermatology PC. “That’s because the chronological wear and tear that the years have naturally on skin, coupled with the long-term damage caused by the sun’s ultraviolet rays, is most acutely obvious on hands where the skin is much thinner.” The good news is that thanks to advances in dermatology, however, products and procedures are available to help restore a more youthful appearance to them.

Even small losses of collagen and connective tissue in skin due to the aging process cause the texture on the back of hands to wrinkle and crumple and the veins to become more pronounced, Dr. Friedler said. Sprinkled into this cosmetic mix are what looked like cute freckles years earlier, but have now become larger, browner – and simply unsightly -- age spots, primarily the work of the sun.

Hands generally begin showing their age when people are in their 40s and 50s, but the telltale signs may appear earlier – even in a person’s mid-20s -- if the hands have been repeatedly exposed to sunlight, Dr. Friedler said. By the time a person has reached his or her 60s, the skin on the hands has lost volume; the veins bulge, she said.

Medical science has not yet discovered a way to reverse the “hands of time.” However, certain topical hand creams and lotions can temporarily improve the color and “look” of hands, new laser and non-laser procedures help smooth the wrinkles, and injected “medical fillers” are proving successful for increasing skin volume, Dr. Friedler said.

She uses dermal fillers like RADIESSE® and Sculptra to enhance skin quality for patients. Fillers can restore fullness to the back of hands, lifting and shaping skin so that veins and tendons do not appear to be popping out. They can be injected into the skin in an in-office procedure that takes as little as 20 minutes to 30 minutes. Results are almost immediate, and effects can last over a year.

The erbium and Fraxel® lasers, microneedling and the EndyMed Intensif radio frequency microneedling system offer patients advanced options for smoothing skin texture and improving the tone and pigmentation of the skin on their hands, Dr. Friedler said. “These newer technologies are proving more effective than older, standby procedures like chemical peels and bleaching.”

For younger individuals whose hands have not yet been overly affected by the sun, topical creams or lotions containing antioxidants, glycolic acid, tretinoin or retinoids and chemical peels can help improve skin and limit further sun damage, Dr. Friedler added.

Reducing exposure of skin to the sun by wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen with high enough SPF (50 or greater) and covering skin when outdoors is the “number-one” aging preventive, Dr. Friedler emphasized.

“If you are doing yard work, for example, wear a hat and work gloves. Even consider driving gloves when you are behind the wheel. Most people are unaware of the amount of harmful ultraviolet rays that penetrate car windows,” she said.
Dr. Friedler also offers these tips to protect hands:

  • Use over-the-counter creams and lotions, especially overnight, to keep the hands well moisturized.
  • Wash hands gently in lukewarm – not hot – water; don’t scrub them. “Scrubbing only irritates the skin and accelerates the aging process,” Dr. Friedler advised.
  • Stop using hand products that sting or create a burning sensation on the skin, and
  • If you smoke, stop it. “Smoking is neither good for your skin nor your overall health. It promotes a wrinkly, rough skin texture and sallow color,” Dr. Friedler said.

Suzanne Friedler, MD, is a board-certified physician and a fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology

Advanced Dermatology P.C. and the Center for Laser and Cosmetic Surgery (New York & New Jersey) is one of the leading dermatology centers in the nation, offering highly experienced physicians in the fields of cosmetic and laser dermatology as well as plastic surgery and state-of-the-art medical technologies.

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