Bothered by old-looking hands

April 08, 2019

Susan B is a 56-year-old woman who felt shocked and dismayed recently when a close relative commented on how her hands were looking old.

She took a look herself and noticed that her hands were bony and a lot of blood vessels were crossing over the back of her hands. Her face looks youthful, but her hands look old, even slightly wrinkled. Susan wants to know what she can do to keep her hands pretty, outside of wearing gloves all the time.

We all look at our faces when it comes time to check on how well we’re aging, but fewer of us take into account how our hands are looking. Do they give away our age? Well, often they are a dead giveaway. So what makes our hands look old?


- Age spots, which really result from over exposure to sunlight

- The skin over the back of the hands looks thin and crumpled

- Prominent veins

- Scaly skin

- Stained yellow or brown finger nails

- Brittle nails


Our hands are often the most uncared for part of our bodies and tend to show aging much earlier than our faces. Also, as collagen and fat disappear from our hands with aging, the tendons seem much more prominent and the hands more bony.


The answers to the above hand problems are:

- Apply sunscreen to your hands several times daily and after washing your hands. Use SPF (Sun protection factor) 30 or greater

- You can apply over-the-counter fading creams, which contain hydroquinone, to the back of the hands daily for a limited time to get rid of aging spots

- Visit a dermatologist or doctor for prescription dose Retinoidal creams, which are applied at night time to lessen the thin, creased older look of the back of the hands and increase collagen production

- Conceal prominent veins to the back of the hand with Dermablend cream, which is available at some pharmacies

- Use moisturising creams on the hands often to combat scaly skin

- Visit your doctor to take a look at discoloured finger nails. This could be a fungal infection.

- Decrease frequent exposure to water to prevent brittle finger nails. You can also speak with your dermatologist about this

- Take vitamin C which is a good skin vitamin

Avoid sun damage and avoid frequent use of chemicals without protection to your hands. Medications being taken can also affect the hands by causing atrophy and thinning. Avoid cigarette smoking which ages the skin rapidly as we get older. And don’t keep too skinny, as the look is often more haggard than youthful.


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