By Pure Matters
You probably have some sort of skin care routine that includes watching your face before bed and using a moisturizer or anti-aging cream. But when was the last time you gave your hands the same attention? In the course of a day, everyone from colleagues to cashiers has some sort of contact with your hands. Here's how to keep them looking young.
Protect skin from sun damage.
Applying lotion after every hand washing boosts hydration by sealing in the water that skin has absorbed. Use an SPF 15 hand cream that's formulated with humectants like hyaluronic acid, glycerin, or urea, which draw moisture into the skin. The sun protection will prevent sun spots and thinning of this already thin skin.
Treat yourself to manicures.
In one study, people thought women were younger when their hands were adorned with polish and rings. Look for a polish labeled as formaldehyde free; the preservative can dehydrate and weaken nails that have thinned with age.
File nails short.
To help soften the appearance of prominent veins or pronounced knuckles, keep the white tips of nails about 1/8 inch long. File them in one direction using a soft emery board. Sawing back and forth weakens nails and causes them to split.
Fill in ridges.
If your nails have pronounced ridges (vertical wrinkles caused by age, genetics, and sun damage), use a base with built-in ridge fillers.
Be pretty in pink.
Painting nails with a sheer, creamy coat of polish, such as a pale shade of pink, deflects attention away from age spots and creepiness.
Remove polish gently.
Nails often become dry and brittle with age, so it's key to treat them gently. Before removing polish, massage a drop of hand cream or cuticle oil around your nail beds. Then use an acetone-free polish remover to preserve the moisture and natural oils that keep nails flexible.
Eat nail-fortifying foods.
A diet rich in egg yolks, lentils, and peanut butter has been shown to slightly increase nail strength. Several studies also show that supplementing daily with biotin significantly improves the strength of age-weakened nails -- so they're less likely to crack or chip.
Take time off your hands.
Facial care products that you probably already use work great on sun-damaged hands. Retinoids, alpha hydroxy acids, and peptides build collagen and thicken skin that's been broken down by sun exposure -- just rub whatever cream is left after treating your face into your hands, instead of washing it down the drain or rubbing it off on a tissue. You'll be fighting waste and wrinkles at the same time.