‘The skin on our hands is structurally different from the rest of the body, with even the palms having completely different skin to the backs of the hands,' explains Dr Sophie Shotter. 'The outermost layer of the skin on our palms is thick and robust and below you’ll find a generous fatty layer. But with no oil-producing glands it’s very short of natural moisturising factor – substances within the skin that help keep it hydrated, smooth and supple – making warding off dryness and irritation a challenge. While the backs of the hands have very thin skin with hardly any fatty tissue and the thin nature of the skin here means collagen loss can be very noticeable, and volume loss is harder to disguise,’ adds Shotter.
Combine these factors with pandemic cleansing, and the fact that our hands are constantly exposed to the environment making UV damage rife. It’s no wonder that handcare is becoming a huge focus in both the beauty and aesthetics arena.
There are new products and treatments galore that aim to address our most common concerns, ranging from dryness, irritation, and pigmentation, to crepey skin, volume loss and prominent veins. Read on to discover some hero buys and treatments to make caring for your hands simple…
Be gentleFYI, ‘there is such a thing as over washing,’ shares Shotter, who advises that when washing we should wash thoroughly – don’t forget in between your fingers – but chose a soap that doesn’t strip the skin’s oils unnecessarily.
Try: Faith in Nature Lavender & Geranium Hand Wash, £4.39
Hydrate 24/7‘Have a hand cream rich in moisturising and skin barrier protecting ingredients. Use it regularly throughout the day and always post each hand washing session,’ says Shotter. Look for ceramides, emollients, and microbiome friendly formulas.
Try: Gallinée Hand Cream
Cover Up‘Apart from our face our hands probably take the greatest UV ‘hit’ of anywhere on the body – making sunspots rife. To avoid this you should be applying sunscreen throughout the day in the same way as you would your face,’ explains Shotter. But to treat the pigmentation you’ve accumulated over the years try a chemical peel on your hands to even out skin tone.
Try: ZO Skin Heath Daily Sheer Broad Spectrum SPF 50
Fill it inAs we age we tend to lose fat in the backs of our hands. This coupled with the natural thinning of our skin, will result in less volume and elasticity, leaving the skin looking very thin with prominent veins and hollows between the tendons,’ says Shotter. Cue dermal fillers. Not just for the face, fillers can add volume in the hands and stimulate collagen production too.
Try: Hyaluronic acid fillers for instant volume or calcium based fillers to stimulate collagen and add volume
Protect & PreserveHand models swear by them, so it’s worth investing in a range of gloves. ‘Go for cotton ones at night after slathering on a hefty dose of moisturiser. When doing housework be sure to don a pair of rubber gloves and gardening gloves are a must when you’re tending to your blooms,' says Shotter.
Try: Boots Cotton Gloves, £2.59