How to turn back the hands of time.

No mat­ter how line-free your face is, your hands can give the age­ing game away, says Kelly Rose Brad­ford. Here’s how to turn back the clock

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De­spite how well we may have held back the years on our faces with high-qual­ity skin­care treat­ments and a healthy diet, there is one area that is prac­ti­cally guar­an­teed to be­tray us – our hands.

And an­noy­ingly, they are prob­a­bly the part of us – sec­ond only to our face – that are al­most al­ways on show. Waved around to em­pha­sise a point or say hello, grasped by our chil­dren or stroked by our loved ones, our hands – and all their im­per­fec­tions – are of­ten in full view.

For­tu­nately though, there is hope for our time-rav­aged mitts. Myr­iad prod­ucts and treat­ments are avail­able to help pre­vent the age­ing process and life in gen­eral giv­ing away our age through our hands, with some even promis­ing to turn back time.

But it’s fair to say that anti-age­ing hand care doesn’t quite get the promi­nence it de­serves. We’re all used to the beauty in­dus­try telling us about our crow’s feet, frown lines, sag­ging jowls and un­der-eye bag­gage, but we’re not so clued up about what ef­fect age­ing has on our hands and more im­por­tantly, what we can do to put the brakes on.

Dr Den­nis Wolf from The Pri­vate Clinic of Har­ley Street, Lon­don, re­veals it’s all about recog­nis­ing the first signs of age­ing on the hands, which is ev­i­dent from a change in skin tex­ture and some­thing women can ex­pect to see from their 30s and 40s on­wards.

“The changes will gen­er­ally de­pend on the in­di­vid­ual, their life­style, ge­netic make-up and en­vi­ron­men­tal fac­tors,” he says. “On the whole we start los­ing adi­pose tis­sue [fat] in our hands from our mid-30s to 40s on­wards. The first signs of change may be the smooth­ness of the skin – it may show more wrin­kles – and veins will start to ap­pear be­cause of loss of fat and also a loss of elas­tic­ity in the veins, which then be­come more vis­i­ble and ap­pear en­larged.”

Just as with the age­ing of fa­cial skin, Dr Wolf cites sun ex­po­sure as the main con­trib­u­tor to hand age­ing – a key point in this re­gion with our scorch­ing hot sum­mers.

“Whilst aware­ness of the ef­fects that the sun can have on our health and skin has in­creased dra­mat­i­cally in re­cent years, I find that people still of­ten ne­glect to pro­tect the skin on their hands,” he says, ad­vis­ing women to al­ways ap­ply sun screen, prefer­ably of fac­tor 50, to all ar­eas of ex­posed skin even when it’s dull or over­cast out­side.

“Reg­u­larly mois­tur­is­ing your hands, in the same way you do your

face, is also ad­vis­able,” he adds, “But un­for­tu­nately sun ex­po­sure has a de­layed ef­fect and we only re­ally see the dam­age in later years. This dam­age is to the DNA of the skin cells and is ir­repara­ble.”

Na­dia Ivanova Briggs, founder of The Cure Beauty Spa, Dubai Me­dia City, agrees. “Your hands need as much pro­tec­tion as your face,” she says. “Use fac­tor 15 on them be­fore you leave home and reap­ply it as soon as your hands feel dry.

“I also think gloves are a hand’s best friend – day or night! When you are driv­ing, for ex­am­ple, your hands are ex­posed to the sun’s rays even more than your face. Gloves will pro­tect them from the UV rays.”

Na­dia rec­om­mends light cot­ton gloves in the sum­mer – say­ing they will be ‘ir­re­place­able’ in the car when the tem­per­a­tures peak.

“And when you are us­ing wa­ter in com­bi­na­tion with [wash­ing or clean­ing] de­ter­gents, al­ways wear la­tex gloves,” she adds. “Noth­ing dries your skin more than de­ter­gent.”

Na­dia also sug­gests oil­ing or mois­tur­is­ing your hands be­fore bed, and slip­ping on a pair of cot­ton gloves for an overnight treat­ment. Maricar Pera, from Pas­tels Sa­lon, Jumeirah branch, agrees that the sun is the big­gest en­emy when it comes to age­ing hands, but also cites stress, pol­lu­tion, tobacco and de­hy­dra­tion as fac­tors, along with a gen­eral lack of vi­ta­mins in the body.

“We can work to pre­vent age­ing though,” she says, ad­vis­ing women to al­ways use a suit­able sun­screen and take an­tiox­i­dants too. “And of course, have treat­ments.”

Maricar and her col­league, Luche Abatayo, from Pas­tels sa­lon, Ritz Carl­ton, Dubai Ma­rina branch, sug­gest treat­ments that nat­u­rally pro­mote cel­lu­lar re­pair and in­creased blood flow to the hands, along with reg­u­lar main­te­nance pro­ce­dures, such as a spa man­i­cure. Sa­lon treat­ments plus daily care of your

The sun is the big­gest en­emy when it comes to age­ing hands… along with a gen­eral lack of vi­ta­mins

hands at home will all add up to softer and hy­drated skin.

“Some regimes we fol­low – such as hav­ing man­i­cures – can cause de­te­ri­o­ra­tion to the skin around our fin­gers,” Luche says. “We can help pro­tect the hands and nails at home with prod­ucts con­tain­ing rice brand oil, al­mond oil, tea tree and vi­ta­min E – they will all help soften and pro­tect the skin around the nails keep­ing them healthy.”

For those who are open to more ex­treme mea­sures, at his Lon­don clinic, Dr Wolf treats age spots with IPL (in­tense pulsed light) photo re­ju­ve­na­tion.

The non-in­va­sive treat­ment, which is also avail­able through­out the UAE, sub­jects marks on the skin to in­tense rays of light, which are then ab­sorbed by the pig­ment in the skin and ex­ter­nalise the dis­coloured spots. The body’s nat­u­ral heal­ing process then re­moves the sun spots, evening out the skin tone.

For those who want to recre­ate the youth­ful bloom of plumped out skin on the back of their hands in­stantly, Dr Wolf uses in­jectable fillers, and more in­va­sive (and costly) fat trans­ferred from other parts of the pa­tient’s body – usu­ally the thighs, flanks or tummy.

“Fat trans­fer treat­ment takes about one-and-a-half hours and is more ex­pen­sive than fillers, but there are some sig­nif­i­cant ben­e­fits,” he says. “Firstly, it of­fers a longer term so­lu­tion – once trans­ferred, the fat will act like any other body fat and re­main in place un­less the pa­tient loses weight gen­er­ally, whereas fillers tend to need to be re-ad­min­is­tered ev­ery 12 to 18 months.

“It is also a to­tally nat­u­ral filler – it is fat from your own body and there­fore there is next to no chance that your body will re­act or re­ject it.”

So from tak­ing sim­ple steps for mitts you’ll be proud to hold up high, to the most in­no­va­tive (and in­va­sive) treat­ments, there is a hope for us want­ing to point with pride. Now let’s have a show of hands to see who’s happy with that!

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