Whether you’re showing off shiny rings or a pretty new manicure, your hands are often on display. Everyone loves to have pretty hands. But what are those little spots? Could they be age spots on your hands?
If so, the good news is that the age spots on your hands are harmless. But if their appearance bothers you, we’ve got you covered.
WHAT ARE AGE SPOTS?
Simply put, age spots are small, dark spots on your skin. They’re not raised bumps, nor are they itchy or flaky.
Age spots feel just like the rest of your skin — the only difference is the color. They can be tan, brown, or even close to black.
Typically, age spots appear on your face, hands, arms, upper back, or the tops of your feet. What do all those locations have in common? Frequent sun exposure.
Age spots are also sometimes called “sun spots” for that very reason — because they usually turn up on skin that’s most exposed to the sun.
While age spots are more common in your later years (after the age of 40 or 50), they don’t automatically appear as you age. You may find age spots on your hands at an earlier age if you spend a lot of time basking in the sunshine.
That being said, if you have suspicious-looking spots on your skin, don’t just assume they’re age spots. It’s always wise to ask a dermatologist if you’re concerned about your skin.
But once you find out they’re really just age spots and you’d rather do away with them, we’ve got some tips and tricks for you.
WHY DO YOU GET AGE SPOTS ON YOUR HANDS?
Before we tell you how to prevent and treat the age spots on your hands, let’s talk about why you get them.
Age spots are just little areas of skin that are darker than the rest of your skin. The fancy name for that darker skin is “hyperpigmentation.”
Ultraviolet light (think sunshine) speeds up the production of melanin, which is what makes your skin darker. Melanin is the reason that a day in the sun leaves you with a tan. But after years of repeated sun exposure, cells produce too much melanin and hyperpigmentation occurs.
You might be asking yourself if tanning beds also contribute to age spots on your hands. The answer is yes.
If you’re serious about warding off age spots, protect yourself from the sun and stay out of the tanning bed.
As lovely as it is to enjoy a day in the warm sun, ultraviolet rays can damage your skin in more than one way. Besides contributing to age spots, excess sun exposure can damage collagen.
And if you’re at all concerned about skin aging and wrinkles, you’ll want to protect your collagen. Collagen gives your skin strength and structure, and it’s what makes your skin look firm and youthful.
As you mature, your skin naturally produces less collagen. But there’s something you can do to slow that aging process down!
We’ve already mentioned one great way to salvage your collagen: protect yourself from the damaging rays of the sun.
Now that you understand the why behind age spots, let’s get practical. What can you do about them?
SIX WAYS TO TREAT AND MAKE LESS NOTICEABLE ON YOUR HANDS
1. Protect yourself with SPF.
Your hands are exposed to more sun than any other part of your body except your face. Protect them with a moisturizing SPF that counteracts the effects of UV rays, and helps minimize the appearance of dryness and tiny wrinkles.”
2. Brighten with lemon juice.
Once a week, rub a 1/4 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice on the backs of your hands for 30 seconds, then rinse with water. The acid in lemon juice naturally promotes skin cell turnover, reducing the appearance of sunspots and giving your hands a brighter, even tone.
3. Rev circulation with a massage.
Every day, press and rub each hand with the opposite hand for at least one minute. Massage stimulates your skin and improves circulation, which renews skin cells and tissue. Bonus: You'll relieve age-related stiffness in your fingers!
4. Reduce wrinkles with retinol.
Retinol, an anti-aging compound derived from vitamin A, is the most effective anti-aging topical around. Rub a pearl-size amount of an over-the-counter cream on the backs of each hands nightly before bed to lessen wrinkles and brown spots.
5. Go glycolic.
Slather on a cream made with a chemical found in sugarcane: glycolic acid. Dermatologists say it’s extra effective when applied to these delicate areas, where it can more easily quicken cell turnover and increase collagen production, making skin soft, supple and spot-free.
6. Don't neglect your nails.
B vitamins (especially biotin) are research-proven to strengthen nails, so take a multivitamin and eat lots of dark leafy greens. Keep nails — and cuticles — trim to keep them strong and avoid brittleness.