Turning twenty-five for me was a sentinel event. At the time, a commercial running on TV showed a woman’s youthful hand transforming into a cactus while the commentator’s voice was heard saying, “Do your hands look like they are over 25 years old?” Today at 67, I wish my hands looked liked they did when I was 25! So for almost 4 decades I have been on a crusade to find the best hand cream for aging hands.What causes skin aging?
The skin on our hands ages faster than on any other part of the body. Dry skin and age spots are all signs we typically associate with aging skin and generally appear first on the hands because we wash them constantly and some people use hand sanitizers like crazy. Hands are exposed to detergents and chemicals all the time.”
Research has shown there are many factors which impact skin aging and even more so for the hands. These factors are usually divided into 3 categories:
Usually determined by our genetic makeup, with declining hormones and other natural changes in our bodies, our skin (including that of our hands) gradually begins to lose its ability to function as it did at younger ages.
Daily exposure to the sun’s UV rays, pollution, smoke, variant climate changes such as harsh weather and drying winds damages collagen (the connective tissue in the skin), melanocytes, and the moisture barrier that protects underlying skin structures. These changes result in sagging, uneven skin tone, dark spots and a rough, dry skin texture.
As a result of our daily activities of living and motions repeated over and over such as frowning or squinting may result in wrinkle formation. For the hands, repeated scrubbing or washing with hot water, unprotected use of caustic or drying chemicals, and even an unbalanced diet can cause stress to skin structures.What happened to my hands?
Generally around the mid-20’s we begin to notice our hands becoming drier than before. Use of ineffective lotions and petrochemical-laced creams further leads to a breakdown in the skin’s natural epidermal lipids (fat loving cells that protect the moisture barrier).
By ages 30 and 40, collagen and elastin levels in the skin start to break down and the skin becomes thinner. Healthy, young skin which once sealed moisture into the skin through skin cells sealed together with lipids (ceramides, lipids and fatty acids) begins to look and feel drier. This combined with lifestyle cycles (babies, housekeeping, career) increases activities detrimental to the skin on the hands.
By ages 50 and 60, weakened blood vessels in the skin result in a decrease in nutrients and oxygen supply in the lower levels of the skin. Skin on the hands becomes even thinner and will continue to thin. Veins, age spots, bruising, slower wound healing and roughness begin to present problems with cracks along cuticles and fissures at pressure points on the fingers.Can I Prevent Skin Aging?
One of the least recognized causes of avoidable skin aging on the hands is caused by incidental sun exposure even if you are not in the sun for extended periods of time. A daytime sunscreen is advised.
How to Turn Back the Clock
Healthy, youthful skin – especially the skin on our hands – gives us a sense of confidence and beauty. Even if you did not properly care for your skin in years past, there are many new naturally derived ingredients and exceptional botanicals that help repair sun damage and reverse some effects of both biological and mechanical aging. There is good news! Now we have products that allow us more control than we realize over the rate at which our skin ages. Maintaining youthful-looking hands starts with good skin care. Using products specifically formulated for the hands is the first step to healthy, beautiful hands.Finding the Best Hand Cream for Aging Hands
Most moisturizers for aging hands will have a thick consistency and be cream-based. The product should be well-formulated using quality ingredients most identical to the epidermal lipids (the ones in the Stratum Corneum):ceramides, cholesterol, and fatty acids and include antioxidants. Additionally, products containing Goat’s Milk may be beneficial in terms of added fatty acids and a mild exfoliating factor which removes old skin so that new skin surfaces more quickly. Hand creams for men with dry hands are also available in non-greasy formulas.Moisturizing tips
Renewing the youthfulness of your hands not only depends on what moisturizer you choose, but when and how you apply the moisturizer. Here are some tips:
When looking for a commercially-prepared hand cream, avoid those containing Mineral Oil, Petrolatum and other petrochemicals. If Aqua (water) is the first ingredient, put it down and walk away. A high quality hand cream for aging hands should contain a predominance of natural butters and oils such as Shea, Cocoa Butter, Safflower, Sunflower and Grapeseed Oils. Fragrance is a matter of choice, but if your skin is sensitive it is best to select one with natural Essential Oil fragrance or forego it completely.
The best hand creams are not necessarily found in the large department stores or in the pharmacy aisle. Oliomanna makes Intensive Hand Creams and Goat Milk Hand Creams which contain only natural butters and oils - no water!
Even though we’re rough on our hands, there’s plenty you can do to keep them looking young.
Arthritis affects women more than men. Our author suffers from osteoarthritis, which along with rheumatoid arthritis are the two most common forms of arthritis. We will discuss living with arthritis and new treatment modalities and dietary changes that directly affect the development and progression of arthritis as well as new natural ways of providing relief! There is hope for arthritis sufferers - let's talk about them. Sharon RPh
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