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So What About Those Anti-Aging Products for Hands?

By Amalah

Hi Amy,
What’s your opinion on buying special anti aging/moisturizing hand lotions versus just bothering to religiously apply a halfway decent sunscreen with a high SPF? I currently apply neither, a strategy which hasn’t boded well for my granny looking hands. I’m sort of hoping your recommend something fabulous by Bliss or L’Occitane, but I’m sort of hoping you say don’t waste your money, No-Ad sunscreen will work just fine…but for heaven’s sake, use something! I don’t know why I keep neglecting my hands, but feel free to throw in a stern lecture and talk some sense into me.

Sunscreen and a basic, fragrance-free cheapo moisturizer, baby. Those are all your hands need. I go nuts with the fabulous products on my face, because…well, it’s my FACE, and it’s a temperamental, annoying bitch, but my ENTIRE guiding principle in all things skincare is that you go with what works. I will get just as het up over an ineffective cream that cost $8.99 as one that cost $28. Just WORK! Don’t make vague promises based on pseudo-science and the awesome power of greenteaoxidatides and proteinosity! Don’t blather on about clinical trials while showing me a rapid-fire Photoshop job on the teevee, just DON’T SUCK.
This kind of crap is REALLY prominent in the anti-aging category, because…well, our skin just gets older. Fact! The miracle product du jour is an endless cycle of marketing and hype, so I prefer to go with what works for me. And the one true anti-aging remedy I feel like I’ve managed to pluck out of all the BS is that the sun accelerates the appearance of aging, so protect yourself accordingly.
Personally, I must admit that I don’t wear sunscreen on my hands and body every day, like I do on my face. I used to be truly terrible — sunblock was something you wore to the beach, and that was it. But if I spend any amount of time outside, I MUST slather up every exposed inch or I will burn. Or get weird-looking moles. Just like my father, who has undergone surgery for skin cancer (basel cell, thank goodness) probably close to a dozen times. Screw wrinkles, I want to LIVE.
But hands have another reason to look haggard and aged, and that’s the fact that we USE them so damn much. They touch everything, including countless allergens and irritating substances daily. We wash them with public restroom water and mystery soap and engage in all kinds of blister- and callus-causing activities for fun. So if you feel like your hands deserve something fabulous, go for it. I’m just not sure that I buy the promises of the products specifically marketed as anti-aging, ESPECIALLY since a few of them DON’T EVEN CONTAIN SPF. WTF.
I used to use a great hand cream by Ahava religiously — oh MAN did I love that cream. Strong enough to keep my hands from cracking and drying in the winter, but not greasy or hard to absorb. I was a wild-eyed zealot for the entire Ahava body line, and anyone who tried to tell me that some plain-old drugstore cream worked for them…well, I’m sorry, but I’m not sure we can be friends anymore.
Oh, kidding. Kind of. And then Ahava came out with new packaging and (I suspect, but do not know for sure) that some of their products were tweaked and reformulated. My best friend and fellow Ahava addict reported dismay after her latest purchase, saying that something was different. And the next time I replenished my stash I had to agree.
I have since gone through dozens of hand creams in search of something I like. I realized that just about ANYTHING with artificial fragrance made my fingers crack and my hands feel dry and tight, at least in the winter months. I sampled stuff at Sephora and the drugstore and fancy natural products and Udder Cream and long-time Smackdown readers totally know where this is going.
Now I use Curel. Cheap, awesome old Curel. I buy a couple gigantic bottles and the whole family uses it, summer or winter. They’ve come out with a “targeted therapy” hand cream that I haven’t tried yet (it’s not available in a fragrance-free version, although I have used the Original Formula in the past without major allergy problems — at the very least it doesn’t seem like Curel adds very much fragrance). I probably will try it soon, if only because of the convenient handbag-sized tube.
Since your hands are almost always exposed to the elements and UV rays, it makes sense that we should all be treating them as carefully as we treat our faces. Hands are super-prone to sun spots, so if YOU decide to spend crazy money on a specialty hand cream, demand one with SPF in it, because that’s above and beyond the best thing you can do for them. A good moisturizer is a very close second, and while you easily can spend a lot of money on one, you can also probably find something really nice in the supermarket aisles. Keep your hands healthy and protected, and they’ll reward you by looking pretty…at least until, you know, YOU GET REAL OLD, and then who cares, you’ve got a lawn and a rake and some whippersnappers to threaten.

You may also enjoy reading these articles:
UPDATE ON: Sunscreen That Won’t Sting Your Eyes
Sunblock that won’t sting your eyes
How Often Should I Apply Sunscreen to My Face?
Why you should not wear sunscreen products to sleep
Why you should use anti-aging products in your early 20s?

About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch


Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to [email protected].

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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