Many women go to great lengths to keep the skin on their faces looking youthful, while neglecting their hands. It is easy to forget that the appearance of thin skin on your hands can give away your age. Although a certain amount of thinning of the skin on the hands in inevitable as you grow older, there are things you can do to keep your hands looking and feeling their best.
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Effects of Aging
The natural aging process contributes to thinning skin. A young person’s skin contains abundant collagen and elastin, the substances which give skin resiliency and strength. Young skin also produces its own hyaluronic acid, a natural sugar complex which traps and holds moisture, giving skin a plump and supple appearance. As you age, your body decreases production of these substances, leaving the skin on the hands looking fragile and thin.
Long-term exposure to the ultraviolet rays of the sun hastens the depletion of the skin’s collagen. Too much sun also causes a condition called elastosis, in which the skin’s elastin is altered and broken.The hands are nearly always exposed outdoors, and even those people who use sunscreen on their faces often forget to protect their hands. As a result, the skin on the hands is often the first place where people notice thinning skin. Excess sun exposure may eventually leave the hands looking wrinkled and skeletal.
Medications or Medical Conditions
Certain medications, including oral or topical corticosteroids, can weaken the skin and the blood vessels, causing fragility of the skin on the hands and elsewhere. Thinning skin caused by corticosteroids is reversible, and the skin recovers as soon as medication use stops. Thinning skin can also be caused by medical conditions such as Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and bleeding disorders.
Home Care and Protection
Protect thinning skin by avoiding too much sun exposure and applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen to all exposed skin, including your hands, before heading outdoors. Thin skin is fragile and easily bruised or torn. Since dry skin is more susceptible to damage, it is important to keep the hands moisturized at all times, using a thick cream. The Dermatology Blog recommends that people with thin skin consume a diet high in lean protein and take in sufficient calories to maintain the body’s healing capacity when a skin tear does occur.
Dermatologists can provide cosmetic treatment to improve the appearance of hands affected by thinning skin. Injections of the dermal fillers Restylane or Perlane, or of the collagen stimulator Sculptra, cost between $500 and $3,000 as of 2010, and can add a “buffer” layer between the skin and the tendons and bones of the hand. The results are only temporary, lasting between six and 24 months. Doctors can also plump up the skin on the hand through the use of fat harvested from a patient’s abdomen, thighs or buttocks. Such injections cost between $1,200 and $5,000 and last from two to five years, although they are more invasive and results are less predictable than with other skin fillers, according to MSNBC.com.