Time on Your Hands
- Posted on: Apr 23 2014
TIME ON YOUR HANDS
How to make your hands look younger fast
Next to our face, our hands are the most expressive and diverse part of our bodies. We greet people with a handshake, we love and protect by holding hands, and we show commitment by sliding a wedding band on the hand of our life partner. We throw our hands up to rejoice and fold our hands to pray. We use our hands to talk, to embrace, to eat and drink, and work. In fact, hands have designed and built every city in the entire world. It is the mobility and usefulness of our hands that makes us distinctly human beings. Our hands are two of our most beautiful gifts but we rarely treat them as such. Instead, we spend countless hours and a mere fortune to protect, beautify, rejuvenate and perfect our faces without a minute of thought about our hands.
Our hands, like our faces are always exposed to the hazards of the environment, especially the ultraviolet rays of the sun. Protecting them is simple: Do unto your hands that which you already do unto your face (or should do unto your face). That being said, I would be remiss and out of character if I did not state the obvious: Sun is bad for your skin. It emits ultraviolet radiation…yes radiation that accounts for more than 90 percent of our skin’s aging. Protect your hands by wearing a broad-spectrum 20-30 SPF sunscreen containing zinc or titanium dioxide. Most of the sun damage on our hands occurs during everyday living so apply sunscreen as part of your daily morning routine.
If time has already taken its toll and your hands are weathered and worn like a masterpiece quilt, don’t panic. There are numerous ways to take time off of your hands. For those of you who don’t wish to undergo “procedures”, daily use of glycolic acids, retinoids, and antioxidants like vitamin C will slowly heal and improve age spots and fine wrinkling. A series of chemical peels or micro- dermabrasion will also speed up the process. Prescription bleaching creams containing hydroquinone are also very effective at fading sun spots if used daily for 3-6 months.
If patience is a virtue that you simply do not possess, non-ablative laser procedures such as Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) can dramatically improve sunspots in three to six treatment sessions. Prior to each treatment, a numbing cream is applied to the hands, and then a cooling gel to protect the epidermis. Pulses of light are then aimed methodically through the skin to eliminate sun spots and improve fine lines.
If your hands are stucco-studded with pre-cancerous lesions, a new therapy called photodynamic therapy (PDT) can destroy these and many early skin cancers, non-surgically. The hands are first painted with a clear liquid called Aminolevulinic Acid (ALA) which is electively absorbed by sun-damaged, pre-cancerous and cancerous cells. After about an hour of incubation, the excess ALA is wiped from the skin which is then exposed to a special light. This light activates the ALA which then destroys pre-cancers and visible sun damage. Depending on the severity of damage, 1-3 sessions are required. Compared with traditional therapies (freezing and surgical removal) PDT is virtually painless and has a short recovery period of 3-10 days. The overall cosmetic and health benefits of PDT are superior to IPL alone as one PDT treatment generally equals five to six IPL treatments.
Damage caused by sun and the environment is known as extrinsic aging. Intrinsic aging is the natural loss of volume and elasticity that causes thinning and sagging of the skin. As we lose volume in our hands, tendons, ligaments, bones and VEINS become more prominent. Just like veins on the legs, these unsightly veins can easily be treated using sclerotherapy. Sclerotherapy involves a series of tiny, painless injections into the unwanted veins that causes the body to harmlessly reabsorb them. Tens of thousands of hand veins have been treated this way with no harm to the circulation. After the procedure, a gentle compression dressing is applied for several days and side effects are minimal with temporary minor bruising, tenderness, and swelling. Youthful volume and plumpness can be restored to the hands by injecting fat from other areas of the body or natural Hyaluronic acid fillers such as Restylane.
Don’t let your hands reveal your age; Cherish them, for they are beautiful just by the nature of their infinite purpose. Use them for all that they were created. If your hands have endured a lifetime of sun, age, and hard work, a bottle of sunscreen, common sense, and a little technology can ensure that you never get caught with too much time on your hands.
Dr. Kimberly Moskowitz, MS, MD~ Cosmetic Vein & Laser Center~ 12238 Panama City Beach PKWY ~ (850)233-0264
Board Certified: Phlebology & Internal Medicine, Medical Degree: Georgetown University ~ Residency: Georgetown University Hospital