Should Your Hand Cream Have Anti-Aging Benefits?

The short answer is yes. Like your face, the skin on the hands would benefit from products that feature protective and corrective ingredients. Here’s how to curate an age-defying hand care routine.
Written by Taylor Lane
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Should Your Hand Cream Have Anti-Aging Benefits?Olive Tatiane/Unsplash

Have you thought about how much your hands withstand daily? The skin on the hands is exposed to the damaging effects of the sun, harsh climates, weather changes, and constant washing. But unlike, say, the face, it seldom receives the level of care and attention it deserves. “We have become masters at protecting our faces, but our hands often are forgotten,” says Joshua Zeichner, MD, a board certified dermatologist in New York City. As a result, the hands are one of the first areas of the body to show signs of aging (think: fine lines, wrinkles, dark spots, and dryness).

So, how can you slow down or, better yet, prevent the damage? Much like your facial skin and sun care routine, your hands would benefit from products with protective and corrective ingredients. And, thanks to innovations in hand creams, getting a dose of prevention is easier than you might think. Ahead, everything you need to know about cultivating an anti-aging hand care routine.

How the Hands Age

“The skin on the hands sure takes a beating since we use our hands every day, all day,” says Purvisha Patel, MD, a board certified dermatologist and founder of Visha Skincare. In addition to being put through the very drying rigor of frequent washing and sanitizing, it’s easy to forget that the backs of our hands experience year-round exposure to the sun (you can thank driving, walking, and just about every other daily task for that one).

Sun damage isn’t reserved for the skin on your face. “Between [typical] collagen breakdown and environmental exposure of the elements to the skin of the hands, collagen can break down and affect the hands’ age,” Dr. Patel explains. And then there is the genetic component of aging. Dr. Patel notes that you should look at the hands of your family members to have an idea of how yours will age.

Signs of Aging on the Hands

Uneven skin tone and uneven skin texture are the two most common signs of aging on the hands. They manifest as:

  • Fine lines and wrinkles
  • Crepey skin
  • Dark spots
  • Dullness
  • Dryness

While Dr. Zeichner notes that “sun damage and environmental exposure” are behind the skin tone concerns, there is another factor at play when it comes to skin texture. “Just as we lose volume in our faces, we also lose it in our hands,” he explains. “This leads to prominent appearing blood vessels and wrinkly hands.” The culprit? That pesky collagen breakdown we mentioned earlier. “As the collagen thins, the skin thins, making the vessels and tendons of the hands stand out more,” Dr. Patel shares.

How to Prevent Skin Damage on the Hands

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: Prevention is far easier than correction. The best way to keep your hands looking youthful is to care for them the way you care for the skin on your face. A consistent skincare routine for your hands will help to stave off signs of aging and damage, and that means a separate approach for day and night.

For starters, choose a sunscreen-infused hand cream for daytime. “Wearing sunscreen that has at least SPF 30 whenever outside will help to prevent aging of the hands,” Dr. Patel says. “Photoaging of the hand is preventable — but takes work.” Needless to say, your protective hand cream needs to be reapplied throughout the day. Our tip? Put more on every time you wash your digits.

When it comes to your evening hand care routine, the anti-aging power players our experts recommend are sure to look familiar. "Retinol is a wonderful ingredient to help with cell turnover and boost collagen production,” Dr. Patel shares. That means smoother skin. “Stimulating ingredients, like retinol, can help strengthen the skin and improve the appearance of crepiness,” Dr. Zeichner says. Additionally, “antioxidants — such as vitamin C, vitamin E, and ferulic acid — and niacinamide help prevent skin damage," Dr. Patel notes.

Anti-Aging Hand Cream Ingredients:

  • Antioxidants (think: vitamin C, vitamin E, ferulic acid)
  • Niacinamide
  • Retinol
  • SPF

If there ever was a time to DIY your own skincare, now is it. You can boost any hand cream’s anti-aging benefits simply by mixing in your favorite serum, oil, and/or sunscreen (and don’t forget to always massage any excess product you have from applying your facial skincare routine into the backs of your hands). Dr. Patel recommends her Visha Skincare Advanced Correcting Serum because it contains a host of actives that “help brighten sunspots” and “prevent and reverse signs of aging” — from head to hand.

The Best Anti-Aging Hand Creams

Now that you know what you need to keep your hands in tip-top shape, you may be looking to up your hand care game. Below are some hand creams that fit the bill:

Supergoop! Hand Screen SPF 40


Just as you don't leave the house without your hand sanitizer, you shouldn't leave the house without a protective hand cream. Antioxidants complement the broad spectrum SPF 40, while sea buckthorn fruit extract, meadowfoam seed oil, and argan oil leave the skin smooth and supple — but never greasy. $38,

Algenist GENIUS Liquid Collagen Hand Cream


This cushiony cream features the brand's proprietary vegan collagen and alguronic acid to plump the skin, glycerin and shea butter to boost moisture, and antioxidants to improve the appearance of dark spots and dullness. $38,

Juice Beauty Green Apple Age Defy Hand Cream


This jack-of-all-trades moisturizes, brightens, and tightens tired mitts thanks to a nourishing blend of jojoba and sunflower oils, vitamin C, fruit acids (i.e. malic acid from, you guessed it, organic green apple), and peptides. $12,

PCA Skin C&E Hand Renewal


Let's get this out of the way: This hand cream is a splurge. But, if you are looking for a formula that packs a serious anti-aging punch, this one pairs 10 percent l-ascorbic acid (read: vitamin C) and 5 percent tocopherol (i.e. vitamin E) with backuciol (a gentle alternative to retinol) and hexylresorcinol (a brightening compound) to improve tone and texture. $80,

La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Hand Cream


If dryness is the source of your aging hand concerns, look no further than this ultra-soothing balm. Niacinamide reinforces the skin barrier, while shea butter, glycerin, and mineral-rich thermal spring water hydrate for up to 48 hours. The best part? It’s quick-absorbing despite its rich texture. $10,

All products featured are independently selected by our editors, however, AEDIT may receive a commission on items purchased through our links.

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TAYLOR LANEis a contributing writer for AEDIT.

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