All the chores you do around the house without even thinking about it mean your hands are probably in and out of water all the time.
And that’s without the gardening – if you have an outside plot – what a toll that takes on hands and nails!
Of course – you can protect your hands from the worst – by wearing gloves. Washing up, disposable or gardening gloves – we know we’re supposed to wear them but how many times do you throw them off to get to grips with a task? Or they get damaged and let in the moisture and the grime.
Apart from the damage you inflict on yourself – some symptoms of aging are hard to avoid – at least as far as your hands are concerned.
One of the first places you notice age spots is likely to be the back of your hands – not surprising really give the constant exposure to sunlight. Long gone are the days when little white gloves were worn with summer dresses to go out and about.
Other problems of skin aging make an impact on the way your hands look too. Skin thins and is more prone to crepiness – veins appear darker and more visible. Hands can be a real giveaway of true age – no matter how good your face looks!
Assuming you don’t want to go for a more permanent solution like laser treatment – what about skin care? Can you improve the look of your hands with a good anti aging hand cream?
Putting the moisture back
Working hands get dry with rough and flaky or itchy skin. Even central heating and modern hand washes can strip essential oils from your skin. Your first strategy is to hydrate with regular use of a good moisturising hand cream.
What you need to look for is quick absorption and long lasting hydration – there’s nothing worse than spending ages in the ladies room trying to get a runny lotion to sink in and ending up wiping the excess off on a towel.
Lanolin or glycerine are often used to form the base emulsion of most hand creams as they can hold large quantities of distilled water. Glycerine in particular will give a hand cream a wonderful light smoothness – without leaving a greasy feel on the skin.
Additonal natural moisturising ingredients include shea butter, aloe vera and oils like olive, coconut and sweet almond. If the skin on your hands is severely cracked then a high active honey like manuka is a wonderful natural restorative treatment in a hand cream. Just make sure the cream has enough of any natural ingredient in it to make a difference. Check how high up the ingredient list it is – the nearer the top the more you get.
Barrier creams tend to stay on the skin longer and resist water to some degree at least. Look out for silicones and beeswax – both give good levels of protection without stickiness if the cream is a good one.
Thin or thicker hand cream is a question of personal taste – a thinner cream doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be less moisturizing in practice.
Ingredients to look out for in your hand cream
There are quite a lot of hand creams around now that claim to actively rejuvenate the skin on your hands. The main areas targeted are photo aging (age spots) and skin wrinkling.
Not surprisingly – the most popular active ingredients are the same as you would see in any good anti aging moisturizer – retinol and AHA (glycolic acid) to increase exfoliation and fading agents like licorice extract and kojic acid to reduce age spots.
Many hand creams – even when they don’t claim to be anti aging – have antioxidants like vitamin C and E to promote radiance and protect from UV damage.
The problem is how well can these active anti aging ingredients work in a hand cream? They need to be present at high levels to have any effect whatsoever and the ingredients need to be capable of passing below the top layer of the dermis to layers below. That means a high end delivery system like micro encapsulation.
If you buy a good retinol cream for your face – you will know what level of retinol you are getting because the best of them tell you. The same is probably true for a face cream product with glycolic acids – but hand creams are different. Try as I might I couldn’t find a hand cream with the levels of these actives listed which makes me suspect the levels are far lower than for the equivalent face cream.
Prices would seem to back up that conclusion – hand cream is much cheaper than anti aging creams for the face even from the same brand.
Anti aging hand creams that work
Having said all of the above – there are a lot of people out there – me included that believe it is possible to find effective hand creams that rejuvenate and restore older hands better than just applying a moisturising hand cream alone. So what do users say actually works – here’s a few to try and none of them will break the bank:
1. Robanda Anti Aging Hand Cream – this is one of the better creams that claims to have anti ageing effects. By all accounts it works too – lots of loyal fans and good reviews on Amazon. Lightening agents and high SPF address the age spot issue and users say it does reduce their appearance and tone up skin. Has won beauty awards.
2. Shea Hand Cream from French skin care company L’Occitaine – One of my personal favourites – a lovely thick cream rich in shea butter that soothes and restores hands in minutes. Added antioxidants in addition to the shea content give this it’s anti aging claim – tackles loss of radiance and tone. Buy it for its superb moisturizing without greasiness. Some users say they don’t like the fragrance which I found difficult to understand – I would describe it as light and soft and it doesn’t degrade which so many cheaper skin care perfumes do. The thing about L’Occitaine is the perfumes are based on natural distilled plant extracts – that’s what they are about after all. Still – if you prefer unperformed then this ay not be the one for you.
3. Protect and Perfect Hand Cream – I couldn’t leave this one out – formulated with some of the anti ageing punch of the original Boots No7 serum plus added sun protection. I first tried this in a generous sample size and liked it enough to buy again. Sinks in beautifully and does improve the look of older hands. Small enough size to slip in your purse.
4. Crabtree and Evelyn Gardeners Therapy – this is always around in my house although it is a bit hefty to take on your travels. May not classify strictly speaking as a rejuvenating hand cream but who cares when a product is as good as this? If you like your hand creams thick but not greasy this is a great formulation – if you partner it with the Gardener’s Therapy Scrub you get a great duo that really work wonders on working hands. Very well reviewed by other users – so it’s not just me that likes it!
Getting the best out of your hand cream
How you apply anti aging products is half the battle and hand creams are no different. To get the maximum benefit possible from any active ingredients in your cream give your hands a thorough wash in hand warm water using a soap or hand wash that won’t strip out natural oils.
Leave your hands under water for a while to soften and warm the skin then dry off most of the moisture but leave a little moist. Now is the time to smooth in the cream making sure it gets fully absorbed – moisture and warmth help actives in the cream to sink into the skin fully.
Even better if you can do all this last thing at night before you get into bed – you can massage in more generous amounts of hand cream at night and wear cotton gloves to sleep in if you want. You certainly wake up with baby soft hands that way and none of it has rubbed off on the sheets!