Many of us remember to apply sunscreen to our faces daily, but how many of us remember to apply it to our hands? Most may not think about the damaging effects the sun can have on our hands but the skin on the backs of the hands is thin and very prone to sun damage and they are also high-risk places for precancerous lesions and skin thinning. Find out what you can do to protect your hands from damage when out in the sun.
Most of us are pretty knowledgeable in the subject of sun protection, but hands are tricky. They are busy all day being washed and rubbed against things like pockets, towels, clothing, etc., and this makes it difficult for sunscreen to stay on hands. Therefore, you need to use a durable sunscreen. Dr. Cynthia Bailey recommends following these steps as part of your daytime routine to keep hands protected:
- Apply durable, rub and water resistant sunscreen to the backs of hands every morning before you step outside.
- Don’t rinse or scrub sunscreen off, if possible. If you must wash your hands, try to wash palms only as this area of the hand is way more likely to need washing. If it does come off, reapply.
- If you are going to be in the sun for a prolonged period of time, make sure to take some sunblock with you so you can reapply every couple of hours.
- Wear a long sleeved shirt where the sleeve drapes down or covers hands when possible.
- Consider wearing sun protection gloves. You can buy gloves made out of UPF 50 fabric which will block 98% of sun rays. Most of these will have the fingertips cut off to maintain dexterity.
If your hand skin already looks like it is aging prematurely, there are things you can do to restore a youthful look. Common methods you can use include:
- Retinol: Used once daily, retinol can peel away some of the damaged areas and prepare skin for other treatments.
- Chemical Peels: These will eliminate brown spots almost immediately.
- Fillers: If you notice the skin on your hands has become thin, a filler can be a great way to add volume. With the loss of fat underneath skin, deep indentations, veins and bones become more prominent.
- Intense Pulsed Light (IPL): This is a non-abrasive and non-invasive way to rejuvenate hands. It is recommended for deeper, darker imperfections.
- Laser Hand Rejuvenation: Laser hand treatment uses powerful laser technology to refresh skin by stimulating collagen and elastin production. It requires no down time and has a low risk of side effect.
However, Dr. Bailey warns that despite the fact that there are many methods available to treat sun damage on hands to get them looking healthy, there is no substitute for the hands losing their natural thickness once damage has occurred. Prevention is still the best route.