Most women fret about lines, pigmentation, tanning and sagging skin on their faces. But they forget their hands and arms. Our hands are always exposed and aren't cared for as much as the face. Many people think that slathering cream and even a regular manicure is the answer. Unfortunately, these are not the solutions to paper dry, wrinkled, vein-y, pigmented knuckles and spotted hands.
Taking care of hands and arms isn’t all that hard. There are many at home and in-office treatments that would make a difference. Just follow these simple steps to solve your problems.
Problem: Dry and red skin
Skin needs moisture to stay soft. It becomes dry and flaky when the top layer of skin is stripped of moisture. While clean hands are good for your overall health, too much hand-washing can lead to loss of natural oils. Regular exposure to sun, detergents, alcohol-based sanitizers and scrubs all tend to dry out our hands.
Treatment: Stop using detergents and harsh soaps. Switch to gentle cleansers instead. Don’t expose your hands to water more than is necessary. After washing your hands, or any other contact with water, apply a good moisturiser. If there is any redness of the skin along with dryness, then use then use moisturisers with chamomile or aloe Vera. These will soothe your skin. In case of chapped skin, use barrier creams that contain ceramides and hyaluronic acid.
Always wear sunscreen before stepping out in the sun as it prevents ageing.
Treatment:Hydroquinone reduces the pigmentation. Overnight uses of hydroquinone in 4% concentration will do wonders. Then tretinoin 0.025%, a vitamin A derivative, at bedtime reduces the spots as well as wrinkles over the period of time. It's best to take these in consultation with a trusted dermatologist.
Resistant spots can be managed by lasers, ND: yag, Intense Pulse Light (IPL) and fraction laser are widely used as in-office treatments. Once again, a reliable dermatologist should be able to help you. Prevention is better than cure. Always, ALWAYS use sunscreen. No matter what treatment you use, if you fail to apply sunscreen, your problems will resurface.
Always moisturise skin around elbows and back of hands regularly to avoid rough skin.
Problem: Dark elbows and fingers
Many people face the problem of dark elbows with rough and dry skin and fingers that are darker near the nails. The skin around the elbows (as in the case of knees) may become pigmented and rough or hard. This could either be because of the lack of proper care or due to a skin or medical condition. Moisturise skin around elbows and back of hands regularly. You may also use skin lightening creams. If the skin remains rough, dry and dark, consult a dermatologist.
Use Retinoic acid based products as it improves skin texture and decreases wrinkles.
Problem: Loose skin, wrinkles and prominent veins
Hands, like the face, gradually lose fat with age. This makes the skin loose, thus, creating wrinkles and protruding veins.
Treatment: Retinoic acid improves skin texture and decreases wrinkles. Exfoliation also encourages new skin formation. Chemical peels can offer quick results by improving the skin’s tone and texture.
There is treatment for protruding veins too. As an in-office treatment a dermetologist can treat these with the use of a diode laser, which shrinks the vessels, thus, resulting in reduction of protruding veins. Immediate results can also be achieved by injecting fillers into the space between the tendons.
Cover your skin to avoid tanning from sun.
Problem: Tanned skin (uneven skin tone on hands and arms)
You’ve probably noticed this a lot and probably also suffered from it at some point. The parts of hands and arms exposed to the sun get tanned and darker as compared to the skin that is covered. When this happens your choice of wardrobe becomes limited. Who wants to walk around with arms striped like a zebra!
Wear full sleeves clothes to cover arms whenever out in sun or while driving. Apply a good quality sunscreen liberally on your hands and arms too. The tanning or pigmentation can also be treated through chemical peels and other skin lightening treatments. As always consult a dermatologist for the options that would work best for your skin.
Thankfully, lifestyle changes and good skin products coupled with availability of easy treatments can rejuvenate your hands and give them a youthful look.