These Products Can Help Your Hands Age Gracefully, According to a Skin Expert
When it comes to skincare, we all tend to focus on the neckline and above, but we can't forget about the real worker bees: our hands.
Your hands do a lot for you, so it only makes sense to create a routine for them. There's a slew of anti-aging hand creams on the market these days, so we spoke with Maria Semykoz, the co-founder of whatsinmyjar.com – a skincare community platform focused on providing easy-to-understand analyses of product formulas – to learn how to best care for our hands. Semykoz's expertise in data analytics is supported by dermatologist Dr. Sandy Skotnicki to help consumers answer questions like: "What active ingredients am I paying for?" and "Can a skincare product deliver on its promise?"
Here are the main things you should consider when caring for your hands:
"In a moisturizer, look for glycerin, hyaluronic acid, or urea," Semykoz says. "Glycerin is actually a great ingredient - it's just not seen as very sexy, but it is as effective as hyaluronic acid."
Such ingredients help attract water to the upper layer of the skin. You also want your moisturizer to have emollients and occlusives like shea butter, mineral oil, sunflower seed oil, coconut oil, or squalene in them, Semykoz adds.
You may find moisturizers with ceramides, colloidal oatmeal extract, or niacinamide in them, which are great additions to any formula but not essential.
If you're looking to really lock in moisture, you can use any moisturizer as an overnight hand mask, Semykoz says. Just apply a thicker layer of moisturizer at night. To make the effect even stronger, you can wear a pair of cotton gloves on top of the moisturizer.
Mama wasn't kidding when she told you to wear SPF. Sun protection is just as crucial for hands as it is to your face and the rest of your body. Be sure to check that a sunscreen offers broad spectrum sun protection against UVB and UVA rays, Semykoz says. UVA rays are aging rays that can lead to age spots and hyperpigmentation – they don't burn like UVB rays.
You can use any normal sunscreen on your hands if you don't want to purchase a separate product.
Sanitize, and Repeat.
"Washing hands regularly and thoroughly is crucial, but every time we wash our hands we challenge our natural skin barrier," Semykoz says. Choosing a gentle hand wash that's fragrance-free and soap-free can help prevent your hands from drying out.
When a soap's pH is too high, it interferes with the acid mantle on our skin, which leads to dryness and increases the potential for irritation, Semykoz explains.
"It is actually easier to find gentle washes in the body or baby wash category than in hand washes," she says. "You can absolutely use them to wash your hands, they are as effective in removing dirt and microbes."
If you're out and about, choose a fragrance-free hand sanitizer that's alcohol-based or includes Benzalkonium Chloride.
There you have it, a hand routine that's as simple as your ABCs. If you don't already have go-to moisturizers and SPFs in your makeup cabinet, Semykoz recommended the following products. As with any skincare routine, you don't have to purchase expensive products to have great results – but hey, treat yourself where you want, we don't judge.