The 3 best ways to keep your hands looking youthful

They can be a tell-tale sign of our age, so how can we take better care of our hands?

Our skin makes up about 16 per cent of our body weight and, if stretched out fully, it would cover around two square metres.

To maintain our skin’s looks and softer touch, many of us lavish lotions and potions on our face.

But we often overlook the skin on one of the most industrious parts of our body – our hands.

General wear and tear, day-to-day stresses such as having our hands in and out of hot water, using household cleaning products, and the sun’s UV rays can all take a toll on the skin on our hands and leave them looking aged and uncared for.

“The process of ageing means we lose collagen – one of the main proteins of our skin and skin on the back of the hands gets thinner,” says Cathy Reid, of the Australasian College of Dermatologists.

“Minor trauma, like a knock to the hand, can cause bruising and we can get irregularities or pigmentation.

“The hands do get forgotten but there are things you can do to take care of them.”

Cathy shares her top anti-ageing tips for hands:

Keep your hands out of the sun

“When I examine someone’s skin, I often remind them that the hands and face are the first places where you will notice sun damage because they are exposed every day,” says Cathy.

“Your right hand may often be more damaged than the left because it gets more sun exposure when driving.”

Don’t forget to put sunscreen on your hands, or wear gloves when driving or bike riding.

Pigment changes can be treated with laser to improve their appearance.

Moisturise and moisturise again

If your hands are in and out of hot water because of household cleaning or because of your work, they will become dry.

Excessive handwashing strips away natural oils.

Use a moisturising soap and apply moisturiser after washing your hands.

“You don’t need expensive moisturisers because they are at least 80 per cent water,” says Cathy.

“Use one that contains glycerine or natural oils and use it liberally.”

Wear gloves when using chemicals

Cooking, cleaning, washing or working in hotels or a hairdressing salon can expose the skin on our hands to lots of different chemicals found in dishwashing liquid, liquid soap, bleach and other cleaning products.

Over time, strong chemicals can irritate and break down the skin barrier and make it more susceptible to eczema or dermatitis.

“Wear rubber gloves and if you need to wear them for prolonged periods, wear cotton gloves inside the rubber gloves to absorb the sweat,” says Cathy.

Written by Sarah Marinos.