You might not realize it, but your hands and nails make an important first impression on people. For millennia, well-kept hands have been considered a sign of wealth and status. The ancient Babylonians, Egyptians, and high-ranking officials in the Ming dynasty all placed a premium on hand and nail care, going back as far as 3,500 B.C. Today, the manicure has become an outlet for creative expression, with jaw-dropping photos of nail art taking over social media. Whether you want to showcase your personality, or simply keep your hands in great shape, good hand and nail care should be on your radar. Read on to learn what can cause your hands and nails to look older, and how you can keep your hands looking healthy, youthful, and blemish-free for years to come.
Our hands are constantly being exposed to the elements, daily tasks, and other stressors. When it comes time to wash your hands, give them a break by using milder soaps, avoiding water that’s too hot or too cold, and drying them gently. Use a patting motion, the same as you would for your face, and follow up with a moisturizer.
As we get older, our skin finds it harder to lock in moisture, which contributes to dryness and, wrinkles. To prevent this, opt for a thick moisturizer that contains glycerin, shea butter, and other occlusives to keep the moisture locked into the skin for longer. As an extra step, some people wear soft cotton gloves over moisturized hands at night. Moisturizing regularly is one of the best things you can do to plump up and smooth the skin of your hands, and your nails will thank you, too. As a bonus step, running a humidifier in your home or office can help.
Since you use your hands a lot, it’s essential to protect them not just from use, but also from the sun and elements. As mentioned above, sun exposure is particularly hard on hands. Even in winter, make sure to apply sunscreen with a UV+ rating of at least 30, and reapply every four hours. This will go a long way to preventing sun spots, wrinkles, and other signs of aging caused by the sun.
Aside from wearing gloves in the winter, make sure to protect your hands during activities like gardening, washing the dishes, and working out at the gym. This will protect your hands from the physical wear and tear these activities can entail, and you’ll surely notice a difference in how your hands look over time.
Your hands can benefit from the same topical creams, lotions, and serums that you use to care for your face. Retinol is one of the most effective ways to combat the signs of aging. Since it promotes cell renewal, a topical treatment containing retinal, or tretinoin-A, can improve the look of sunspots, discoloration, sagging, wrinkles, and uneven texture. While there are products on the market that cater specifically to hands, beauty experts attest to using face products on their hands as well for the greatest benefits.
Avoiding snags is essential to keeping your nails looking neat. Smoothing out the edge of the fingernail with a file makes them less likely to split or tear, while nails that are too short may not adequately protect your fingertips. Always file nails in one direction only—away from the nail bed—instead of back and forth.
A fresh coat of nail polish always looks great, but you don’t want to leave it on for too long. Like your skin, your nails need to breathe to stay healthy. Additionally, bold or dark colors of polish can cause staining and discoloration. Wearing polish too long, without giving your nails a break, can cause overall weakening of their structure. Aim to keep polish on for no longer than a week, and remove it with a cotton pad and non-acetone polish remover, which is gentler on nails.
Just like your hands need to be moisturized, so do your nails. While you have the moisturizer out, rub a little into the base and sides of your nails, including the cuticles, the protective barrier between your nails and the skin underneath. Moisturizing your nails and cuticles keeps those areas more pliable and less at risk for cracking, tearing, and hangnails, which can open the door to skin infections. If your cuticles are very dry and prone to tears, you may want to consider applying nightly cuticle oil to offer an extra dose of moisture.
Research has shown that some supplements can improve the look of hands and nails. Biotin is a B-complex vitamin that promotes healthy cell growth and aids in the metabolism of protein-building amino acids that are essential for nail growth and may help strengthen your brittle fingernails. Other supplements, like Omega-3, Vitamin C, Iron, and Zinc, can also boost nail strength and keep the skin of your hands looking good.
The same advances in medical aesthetics that deliver anti-aging results to the face and body can benefit your hands as well. Venus Versa™ photorejuvenation treatments resolve common signs of aging in hands such as sun spots, discoloration, and visible veins. The treatments use Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) technology to safely and effectively reduce hyperpigmentation for a smoother, more youthful handshake.
Over time, our bodies produce less collagen, which can result in volume loss, skin laxity, and fine lines. Venus Legacy™ wrinkle reduction treatments and Venus Versa™ skin-tightening treatments apply radio frequency energy to naturally boost collagen production in the skin, restoring their youthful appearance quickly, effectively, and with no downtime.
Treating your hands and nails right will keep them looking amazing for a lifetime. See what a difference an aesthetic treatment can make in how they look by searching for a qualified provider near you.