It's often said you can tell a person's age just by looking at their hands. Though our hands don't technically age faster than the rest of our bodies, the skin there is "more delicate, and can more easily show signs of aging," says board-certified dermatologist Dr. Marisa Garshick, MD, FAAD, which is why it can be worth adding a hand cream for mature skin to your arsenal.
Is a wrinkle hand cream right for you?
Our skin begins to lose its moisture and elasticity right around age 25. As this happens, it causes the already delicate skin on your hands to become thinner, more fragile, and more sensitive to the effects of the sun over time. Additionally, the body's dip in collagen (a protein that smooths our skin and keeps it firm) and the cumulative exposure to the sun makes "the skin on the hands appear thin, crepey and wrinkly," says Dr. Garshick.
Because we often don't give our hands the same TLC as our faces, these changes are pretty standard as we age. Sure, body lotions can help with adding moisture, but they won't be able to address some of these specific skin concerns that appear on your hands, like dark spots, fine lines, and crepiness. "Typically, hand creams are formulated to be thicker than traditional body lotions and, as a result, do a better job of locking in moisture," says Dr. Garshick.
What to look for in a hand cream for mature skin
A good mature-skin friendly formula should be filled with ingredients that help replenish and repair your skin's moisture barrier. Dr. Garschick recommends checking the label for ceramides, which strengthen the skin barrier, humectants, which draw in water, and occlusives, "such as oils, butters, and petrolatum," which create a protective seal on top of your skin to lock moisture into place.
While moisturizing can help nourish mature and aging skin (fun fact: our skin dries out as we age), if you're looking to target more specific signs of aging—like lines and discoloration—consider trying a formula with more potent active ingredients. For example, SPF and antioxidants can help protect against the environmental aggressors that cause wrinkles and dark spots; retinol boosts collagen production to smooth and firm skin; and exfoliants increase cell turnover for an overall brightening effect.
To help you narrow down which hand creams to include in your everyday routine, take a look at these expert picks below.
The best wrinkle hand creams
When it comes to moisturizers for mature skin, Neutrogena rarely disappoints. Derms are constantly recommending the brand’s Hydro Boost Face Gel, and this Norwegian formulated hand cream is just as coveted by beauty experts for many of the same (ultra-hydrating) reasons. It restores moisture loss thanks to glycerin, which draws water into the surface of your skin and locks it in place, and leaves your skin feeling baby soft after even the longest days of dishwashing and hot showers.
If you have calloused and rough hands that need some TLC, stat, listen up! Not only does this cream moisturize your skin, but it also exfoliates it in the process. (FYI, exfoliating your skin helps speed up cell turnover, which can soften fine lines and wrinkles.) Here, this is done with the help of urea, a powerful humectant that draws in moisture while also melting away dead skin cells.
Part of what makes this cream special is its occlusive nature. The formula contains allantoin, a compound usually found in scar treatments to help reduce inflammation. This can help reduce redness and dryness in cracked and rough skin. Additionally, it’s chock-full of humectants like glycerin to help draw in water and build your skin’s moisture barrier.
Three key ingredients make this hand cream soar above the rest. “It combines shea butter to help boost moisture, phospholipids to help strengthen the skin barrier, and glycine, an amino acid that can help to improve the overall appearance of fine lines and wrinkles,” says Dr. Garshick. Consider us sold.
Dermatologists love CeraVe’s Moisturizing Cream, and the same can be said about this hand cream. For board-certified dermatologist Dr. Shari Sperling, DO, the CeraVe Therapeutic Hand Cream is a home run for super-dry, chapped skin for two reasons. ”The cream has hyaluronic acid for moisture, ceramides to protect the skin barrier, and niacinamide to calm the skin,” says Dr. Sperling. The formula is also ideal for sensitive skin types due to its unscented nature.
Petroleum jelly has about a zillion different uses, but its ability to prevent water loss is second to none. And if you want to keep your hands hydrated throughout the night, products like Vaseline Healing Jelly are great for locking in moisture as you sleep. It’s an occlusive, after all, which means it provides a sealant-like protective layer on the skin to keep out irritants and other harmful particles. Dr. Finney recommends using thicker, petrolatum-based products before bed to keep your skin barrier strong and hydrated.
One of the most common causes of crepiness, dark spots, and rough skin on the hands is unprotected exposure to UV rays over time. They can break down collagen and elastin, two proteins responsible for giving its skin its firmness and flexibility. Thankfully, this hand cream is designed to protect your hands against those UV rays using a chemical SPF 50. Thanks to the addition of anti-inflammatory plant extracts, like green tea and oat, it also helps to calm redness and sensitivity.
Although some SPF can dry out your skin, you don’t have to worry about that with Supergoop Handscreen. “While you can use any sunscreen on your hands, this one is specifically designed for them as it is both hydrating and fast-absorbing,” says Dr. Garshick. It also contains antioxidants to help protect the skin against free radical damage and evens the appearance of dark spots and discoloration.
The reason derms love this product is all because of its robust formula. In addition to its ability to replenish the skin’s moisture with hydrating ingredients like ceramides, emollients, and vitamin E, it also brightens dark spots using sclareolide, which Dr. Garshick says can be instrumental in evening discoloration.
Caudalie continues to deliver on its promise of long-lasting hydration with this bottle of hand and nail cream. Its moisturizing powers come from its antioxidant-rich formula, which includes grape seed oil and shea butter. Together, these ingredients help boost the skin’s ability to repair itself and form better protection against free-radical damage, one of the leading causes of skin aging. As a bonus, the cream absorbs quickly once applied and doesn’t leave behind greasy-type residue.
For treating fine lines, wrinkles, and dark spots
Although a bit of an investment, this ReVive Fermitif Hand Renewal Cream is beloved by derms thanks to its skin-enhancing abilities. For example, it works to hydrate the skin and “restore elasticity and firmness,” which can ultimately help improve any dull skin or crepey texture on the hands, says Dr. Garshick.
This Paume Probiotic Hand Balm contains a potent blend of essential oils and “natural probiotics” to help improve skin texture and tone. For those who are unfamiliar, probiotics are good bacteria that can help keep your microbiome balanced. This formula includes lactobacillus ferment lysate, a non-living probiotic that may help with reducing redness and wrinkles.
What makes this formula stand out is its powerhouse list of skin-tone evening ingredients. Among them? Arbutin, a brightening agent that helps reduce discoloration, and beetroot extract, which increases hydration. It’s also made with NIA-114, the company’s special form of niacin/vitamin B3, which helps to strengthen the skin’s outer layers to hold more moisture.
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