You Have Skincare For Your Face, but Are You Neglecting Your Hands?

While you may have enough face cleansers, serums, or moisturizers to fit a small storage unit, chances are that your hands get less attention. Though the appendage helps us do some of our favorite things — eat, hold hands, eat some more — rarely do we return the favor. And it shows — some people even say it's the first place that shows your age. "Your hands are probably the skin that is most exposed to sunlight throughout your life," says dermatologist Nava Greenfield, MD, of Schweiger Dermatology Group. "This is because your hands are never covered by clothing, so everything from driving a car to walking around outside exposes your hands to ultraviolet light." That means the easiest way to prevent your hands from aging is by always lubing them up with an SPF.

If you're already experiencing some unwanted sagging or wrinkles, or if you just want to give your hands a little pampering treat, keep reading for dermatologist-approved tips.

Keep Certain Ingredients Handy
Unsplash | Camilla Carvalho

Keep Certain Ingredients Handy

Any kind of sheet mask is fun to use, and that's reason enough to try one — even on your hands. "Some hand masks are legit," said Dr. Greenfield. "Types that include glycolic acid can help reduce the signs of sun damage, but nothing will take it away altogether." This option from Karuna ($10) has the exfoliating ingredient, along with hydrating shea butter, which makes it worth putting your phone down for.

The dermatologist also suggested using vitamin C serums on your hands, as the antiaging ingredient can help reduce the appearance of dark spots. Dr. Greenfield also called the drugstore moisturizer AmLactin "somewhat effective," too.

That said, nothing does the job as well as good old SPF. "I have many patients who regret that they were not more careful with their hands when they were younger, because they now have lots of sun spots," she said. And it's not just enough to apply in the morning and go about your day. "Whenever you wash your hands, you should reapply SPF. I keep sunscreen in my car so that I apply it right before I start driving."

Try a Laser Treatment
Unsplash | Daiga Ellaby

Try a Laser Treatment

Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) isn't a laser per se — it heats up skin just like laser does but with a crystal filter rather than a glass one. If your hands are truly bothering you, Dr. Greenfield recommends the procedure for reversing the signs of wrinkled or sun-damaged hands, since IPL works to reduce body pigments. Plastic surgeon David Cangello, MD, recommends using a mix of IPL and filler to treat hands. "IPL reduces sun spots, and filler does a tremendous job of hiding visible veins and tendons," he said.

As long as you go to a reputable doctor, IPL doesn't have too many side effects. (That said, improper use of IPL can result in burning, so be sure to go to a certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon, not a medispa, for this treatment.) "As a result, your sun spots will turn dark and may form a crust until they fall off after a few days," he explained. Because of the required downtime, it's best to get IPL when your schedule is fairly empty — in other words, don't do it the day before your wedding. Same goes for filler: side effects of that procedure include slight bruising or redness for up to 24 hours.

Ice, Ice Baby
Unsplash | Jakob Owens

Ice, Ice Baby

Dr. Greenfield also recommends localized cryotherapy, or cold therapy, to treat hands. Originally developed in Japan as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, this procedure developed a second life due to its aesthetic benefits, too. Full body cryotherapy, which subjects users to temperatures as low as negative 300 degrees Fahrenheit for two to three minutes, is perhaps the trendiest way to take this fancy ice bath. However, the procedure can also zero in on one body part — hands — and firm up wrinkles.

John Hoekman is the founder and CEO of NYC's QuickCryo, where Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel are reportedly clients. "Cryotherapy stimulates collagen and elastin production, plus it increases blood flow and circulation," Hoekman said.

But don't expect it to be a quick fix. "It's something you would need to do on a regular basis," he explained. "If you want to try it from an antiaging perspective, you would need to do a lot at first, then less over time."