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Why your hands age faster than your face

Often neglected when it comes to not just skincare, but care in general, it almost comes as no surprise that our hands age faster than our faces. From fine lines to age spots on hands, our mitts can be a giveaway when it comes to our date of birth.

How is the skin on our hands different from our faces?


Comparatively, the skin on our hands is much more fragile than the skin on our faces. It doesn’t have the same cushioning and volume, nor does it have as many sebaceous glands, meaning it can’t make as much oil to keep itself soft and supple.


These factors, combined with constant exposure to stressors like UV rays, cold weather and movement can speed up the ageing process. Age spots start to appear, as do fine lines and wrinkles, with a loss in firmness and elasticity. We can’t avoid these stressors entirely, but what we can do is protect and treat the skin to lessen their impact.


What causes your hands to age faster than your face?


We’ve put the spotlight on the main culprits:


Sun exposure


Much like your face, your hands are one part of your body that you can guarantee will be on show all year round. But unlike the face, you’re probably not protecting your hands with a daily SPF. With nothing to shield your hands from sun exposure, the ageing process will be accelerated, and they’ll be quicker to develop sunshine side-effects like age spots on hands and premature wrinkles.


A good comparison is a pair of shoes that have been on display on the shop floor compared to a pair that have been tucked away in the stock room. The display pair will be distorted in colour due to exposure to light whereas the protected pair will remain as good as new.


To ward off future damage, be sure to apply SPF to the backs of your hands, and reapply regularly – especially after washing them.


Weather


Winter is bad news for the skin on your hands. A combination of plummeting temperatures and whipping winds outside, alongside moisture-zapping central heating inside means skin can quickly become dehydrated. Wearing gloves outdoors will help, as will applying a protective layer of thick, comforting moisturiser in the morning and evening.


Movement


If expressions like frowning, squinting and smiling can cause lines on our faces, imagine the potential for wrinkles on our hands. From typing to holding our phones, gripping the steering wheel to lifting weights, our hands are almost constantly on the move. This can’t be avoided, but it’s a good way to understand why hands age at a faster rate than other parts of your body. These movement lines become more prominent as skin ages, as its elasticity and ability to bounce-back decreases.


Daily activities


Movement aside, our hands go through a lot in a day. Handwashes and sanitisers can be drying, stripping skin of its natural oils. Add more astringent household cleansers like antibacterial spray and washing up liquid into the mix and hands can quickly become uncomfortably dry and coarse – making fine lines more prominent.


An easy solution? Invest in a pair of marigolds and wear them religiously when doing household chores. As for hand washing, follow with a moisturiser each time to replenish lost hydration.


Lack of skincare


We pay plenty of attention to the skin on our faces, lavishing it with creams and TLC. Our hands? Not so much. During the day, we’re washing our hands regularly, meaning even if we did apply a hand cream, it has a limited window in which to work their magic. Overnight, there are less distractions, giving this fragile, busy skin time to rest and repair.


At the very least, how about smoothing the excess from your moisturisers and serums onto the backs of your hands every AM and PM? Even better, treat your hands to their own targeted active treatment depending on their needs. That could be retinal for fine lines, peptides for loss of elasticity or vitamin C for age spots on hands. Just don’t forget to follow with SPF, especially when using retinal.