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3 Worst Signs of Aging on Hands — And How to Fix Them

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Ask pretty much any woman which of her body parts makes her look older, and you’re likely to get a few common answers: Her graying hair, the fine lines on her forehead, or maybe the crow's feet she sees in the mirror every time she smiles. But there’s another, less obvious body part that can be even more revealing of a woman’s true age than hair color and face wrinkles: her hands.

It’s true: Your hands really can give away the number of candles on your birthday cake. In fact, in a June 2006 study published in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, researchers found that most people can accurately guess a person’s age just by looking at their hands. If you’ve ever been concerned about what story your hands might be telling, now’s a great time to find out what you can do to make your hands look younger. That way, you can start reaching for every handshake with confidence. (And you’ll be more likely to show off that beautiful manicure, too!)

Why do my hands look old?

Your hands are one of the busiest parts of your body, so it makes sense that they are one of the first to show signs of aging, too. Considering how much our hands encounter on a daily basis it’s actually kind of amazing how resilient they are. Obviously some wear and tear is going to be expected over the course of a lifetime, but some features make hands look older than others. Here are a few of the most common signs of aging on your hands:

1. Wrinkles

Whether it’s from a memory of our grandmothers’ hugs or a handshake with one of our teachers when we were kids, most of us can recognize the dry, papery skin of an old person’s hands. Some call it “crepey” skin — that thin, parched dermis that doesn’t bounce back right away when pinched or pressed. As we age, our skin loses the plumpness it has thanks to that youthful abundance of collagen and elastin and becomes dryer, duller, and less firm.

2. Extra-Visible Veins

If you’ve ever looked down and wondered, “Why are my hands so veiny?” you’re definitely not alone. Because the skin is thinning and losing fullness as it ages, the veins underneath the skin become more visible. Noticeable veins on hands aren’t typically any cause for concern — but for people who want to avoid looking like they have “old lady hands,” visible veins can be a pesky, embarrassing reminder that we’re just not as young as we used to be.

3. Age Spots

Another age-related bummer for your hands are dark spots known as age spots or liver spots, which are common in adults older than 50 but can appear on the skin of people much younger, as well. These dark age spots can appear anywhere on the skin, but usually show up on the hands, face, shoulders, and arms, and are especially common among people who spend a lot of time in the sun. Caused by an excess production of melanin, or pigment, in the skin, age spots are usually harmless and don’t require treatment, though they can be quite irksome each time a new one is discovered. Keep in mind, however, that spots that are very dark or are rapidly changing in size or shape should be evaluated by a dermatologist.

How to Make Hands Look Younger in Four Simple Steps

Ready to stop asking, “Why do my hands look so old?” and start making them look as young as possible? There are a few things you can do to make sure your hands look as youthful as you feel — and none of them are expensive or difficult to do. For younger-looking hands, try one of these tricks:

1. Try an anti-aging hand regimen.

The first anti-aging skincare line designed specifically for hands, Hand MD ($51) is a set of products that hydrate the skin and not only prevent signs of aging but also diminish the ones already there. The line contains cruelty-free and paraben-free anti-aging elements like retinol, hyaluronic acids, sea kelp, and jojoba oil, all of which work in harmony to give you softer, smoother, younger hands in eight weeks. (Oh, and Teresa Guidice is reportedly a fan!) In clinical trials, 100 percent of those studied said their skin felt more hydrated, 88 percent reported an increase in skin radiance, and 86 percent reported an improvement in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

2. Drink more water.

The skin on our hands is thinner and drier than other parts of our body, so it doesn’t hold moisture as well as other areas of the body. As a result, your hands need all the hydration they can get — and there’s no better way to boost hydration than drinking more water. Yes, we’ve all heard before that we should be drinking more H2O, but avoiding crepe paper skin on our hands might finally be the motivation we needed to finally start doing it! How much water should you be drinking? The average, healthy adult woman living in a temperate climate should drink about 9 cups (2.2 liters) of water a day, according to the Institute of Medicine

3. Wear rubber gloves while you clean.

Using a cheap pair of rubber gloves while you wash dishes can help protect your paws from extreme temperatures and chemicals in your dish soaps. Some ladies even like to add a bit of moisturizer to their hands underneath the gloves for a mini hand spa treatment while they get chores done. Sounds like a win-win for your anti-aging efforts to us!

4. Don’t forget sunscreen.

We remember it at the beach, but how many of us are putting on sunscreen every day, year-round — all the way to the tips of our fingers? Sunscreen for your hands is a must to prevent premature wrinkling and slow down those pesky age spots, especially considering our hands are one of the few parts of our body that’s almost always exposed to the sun.

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