5 Simple Steps to More Beautiful Hands
Hands take a beating. The skin is thinner—it has the consistency of an eyelid—and more sensitive than the skin on your face. Plus, hands have to endure all that sun exposure, frequent washing, and oversanitizing. Here’s how to give them a little more attention when it comes to your beauty routine—and end up with a pair you’ll be proud to show off.
When you get the rare opportunity to treat yourself, chances are you focus on your face. But because your hands work even harder and are more prone to signs of aging, extend some self-care south with these at-home treatments. Use a scrub (a face or body one will do) to help remove dead skin cells so your cream works better. Make dingy nails dazzle by running a lemon wedge over nailbeds— a trick hand models use. Before bed, slick on a balm (try Rituals The Ritual of Dao Night Balm, $17; dermstore.com) and put on moisture-sealing cotton gloves. If you have a special event, stick on the hyaluronic acid–infused Beauty Bioscience Upper Hand Brightening Patches ($50 for 8 pairs; nordstrom.com) to smooth and plump.
On Her Nails: Chanel Le Vernis in Légèreté, $28; nordstrom.com.
The sun is the hands’ number one enemy, and since hands are often exposed, they accumulate a lot of UV damage, causing discoloration. “Our most powerful defense against photodamage is sunscreen,” says Michelle Henry, MD, clinical instructor of dermatology at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City, who recommends applying an SPF 30 broad-spectrum sunscreen during the day to ward off new spots and a brightening serum with tranexamic acid at night to reduce existing spots. SkinMedica Lytera 2.0 Pigment Correcting Serum ($154; skinmedica.com) is pricey but potent and works on your face too. “Wear sun-protective fingerless gloves when gardening, golfing, and driving long distances,” suggests Day, who wears activewear with thumbholes that covers her hands. For faster results, ask your derm about a chemical peel to cast off discoloration or laser treatments like Fraxel, which may brighten skin.
On Her Nails: Essie Gel Couture in Take Me to Thread, $11.50; target.com.
“Locking in moisture each time you wash your hands can help reduce the appearance of fine lines,” says Shereene Idriss, MD, of Union Square Laser Dermatology in New York City. “Daily application of SPF 30 sunscreen moisturizer is key,” says Rebecca Kazin, MD, associate director at the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery in Washington, D.C., who advises keeping one in your bag to reapply throughout the day. “Apply it from your hands to your elbows so you aren’t cutting off at your wrists,” says Doris Day, MD, a dermatologist in New York City and the author of Beyond Beautiful, who recommends retinol to treat lines. Try Chantecaille Retinol Hand Cream ($78; bloomingdales .com). Apply it every other night until your skin builds tolerance to the retinol, then bump up to nightly use. “Whatever anti-aging products you put on your face should also be applied to the backs of the hands,” says Kazin. “Wear gloves when cleaning with chemicals and limit gel manicures to special occasions, since UV light can be damaging. When you do get one, apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen 20 minutes prior.”
On Her Nails: Apply two coats of OPI Infinite Shine Long-Wear Nail Lacquer in Frenchie Likes to Kiss? ($12.50; amazon.com) and let dry. Using a striper brush, dot the center of the lower nail with Essie Seaglass Shimmers Collection in World Is Your Oyster ($9; essie .com), then paint from either side to complete the half-moon.
Pump Up the Volume
Like our faces, our hands lose collagen over time, resulting in crepey skin and more prominent veins. “The less fat you have in your hands, the more your veins will show,” explains Day, who offers her patients the FDA-approved filler Radiesse. “It’s one poke, and you get instant results that last up to a year,” she says. Most patients need one or two sessions and experience mild soreness and swelling. If you prefer to skip the needle, “apply a hyaluronic acid serum to the backs of hands,” says Kazin, who likes PCA Skin Hyaluronic Acid Boosting Serum ($115; dermstore.com), which doubles as a facial serum.
On Her Nails: Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure Madeline Poole Collection in Vinyl Tap Mix, $8; jet.com.