How to Get Softer, Smoother, Younger-Looking Hands

Aly Walansky
Photo: Iryna Shpulak/Moment/Getty Images

Photo: Iryna Shpulak/Moment/Getty Images

The condition of your skin is all too often a dead giveaway as to just how well you take care of it. That’s doubly true of the areas of our body with thinner skin—particularly, our hands. We don’t love the saying that “you can tell a woman’s true age by her hands,” but we have to admit, there’s some truth behind the matter. These tips will get you on the right track to treating your hands with the same care you would the rest of your skin.

Telltale Signs of Aging
The skin on our hands is subject to the same damaging effects of the sun and environment as the face, especially since we rarely cover them, except with gloves in the winter, says board certified dermatologist David Bank. Hands also rarely reap the soothing benefits of moisturizers and sunscreens that we give the rest of our bodies. And yes, it’s true that the hands show a person’s age more than any other part of the body, due largely to to the fact that we frequently wash and strip them of natural oils, says Revision Skincare expert Emily Velez. The hands also end up with more sun damage due to constant exposure, and washing them throughout the day makes consistent protection difficult. Finally, the hands lose fat and volume, which leads them to have a bony and veiny appearance—not exactly the picture of youth.

Always Wear Sunscreen
Hands get extra sun exposure, believe it or not, from their position on the wheel when you’re driving your car and the backs of your hands get all the sun’s damaging rays right through the windshield, says Dr. Bank. Use a higher SPF sunscreen on the backs of your hands when you know they’ll be exposed for periods of time, just as you would on the rest of your body.

Gentle Hand-Washing
When you wash your hands, use the mildest anti-bacterial cleanser you can find to prevent them drying out too much, which can cause your hands to look older faster, says Dr. Bank. Also, be sure to wear gloves when washing dishes or bathing your children (or pets!)—hot water is very drying to the skin.

Keep Nails Neat and Trim
Want younger looking hands? Grab the clippers! Nothing screams modern and youthful more than short nails, says Anna De Souza, an on-air trend and lifestyle reporter. And forget protecting with just a clear coat—your nails need a tinted moisturizer of their own to breathe a little bit of life and impart a rosy, healthy glow. De Souza loves Julep Oxygen Nail Treatment because not only does it offer protection, but it’s like perfecting makeup for your fingertips. “It basically blurs all the imperfections on the surface of your nail that ages your hands—it even smoothes out ridges and gives you a glassy finish! It’s magic, and my go-to,” she says.

De Souza’s rehab-in-a-jiffy tip that heals and plumps up the thin skin on the back of your hand: Slather a very healthy dose of Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream all over hands, especially your cuticles, before bed, and wear gloves to sleep. When you wake up you’ll find that any hangnails and even small cuts have healed overnight. Next, spray Kate Somerville DermalQuench Liquid Lift Advanced Wrinkle Treatment and massage the bubbles onto the back of your hand—the hyaluronic acid will plump everything up. “I tend to abuse my hands, and this trick works every single time when I’m due to display my hands on air for QVC!,” de Souza says.

Keep Hand Stuff Handy

“It’s a great idea to keep moisturizers by your sink,” advises Charlene Deegan, Director of R&D at Borghese. Apply moisturizer to still-damp hands after washing to minimize moisture loss, especially in the colder months. Don’t forget your cuticles—they’re subject to drying and cracking, so be certain to take a moment to massage them in moisturizer, too.

Read more: 7 Surprising Body Areas Prone to Dryness (and What to Do About Them)