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Julie Kay: Her Struggle Against Aged and Sun-Damaged Hands

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Sun Protection for Body
Reviewed by JulieKay May 4, 2010 24 Comments

Do You Believe in Fairies? Say Quick That You Believe. If You Believe, Clap Your Hands! ~J.M. Barrie

The Age of Aquarius… Let the sun shine. Let the sunshine in, the sun shine in. To those of us who remember these lyrics/melody from Hair, I apologize if I’ve tossed them out to rattle in your heads the rest of the day (or longer). It’s May and the sun is shining and it’s always the time of year I grow melancholy for a good soak in the sun. I do miss a good tan and the honest sun soak that achieves the look. Although those gamma rays have been proven deadly, I always felt so much healthier with an all over tan. Ironic, huh. Did I use sunscreen? I didn’t then, and I still don’t. I want to learn how. I feel quite helpless in this day and age, and I know it must sound quite lame. What I do now is avoid the sun. One extreme to another. This is soooo me! But not a great solution in any case. I could use some good simple advice in this arena. I’m always willing to learn.

The sun did so much more than make my skin produce melanins. If I had a breakout, all I did was sit outside with a perfectly scrubbed face and point it directly sunward for 15 minutes a day for three days or so in a row. I’m telling you, it was my best cure for a breakout! Incredible to admit. Today when I take my Vitamin D3 supplement because I don’t get enough direct and continuous contact with the sun, it is swallowed with an imagined bittersweet taste. This is irony! It is recommended that we humans lay in the sun “naked” for 10-20 minutes each day for a proper intake of Vitamin D3. Can you imagine; can you really imagine!? I’ve thought about it; more than casually, trust me- it poses so not a pretty picture.

Which brings me to today’s point:  My hands. While my face and décolleté escaped the ravages of sun damage, I knew a dozen years ago that my hands were beginning to expose me for every single ray. That and genetics. I partially have my mother’s hands. My mother always had old hands And to the detail-oriented child this Aquarius was (is) I simply was aware. I’ve referred to my mother’s Polish eyes when speaking my life-long dark circles, for example. So, it wasn’t unusual for me to stare at her hands as they really began to age and be stricken. They were puffy and the skin looked like snake skin. They didn’t look, even to a daughter, like hands I wanted to hold. When my own hands began to lose elasticity, I felt dismal. I have small slender hands that I’ve always been proud of. I don’t polish my nails, but I keep them short and even. My wedding ring is my only jewelry. During my sunning days (yeah, yeah, okay- YEARS!), my hands were right out there! But they were gorgeous. Nice brown hands, long slender fingers.  Suddenly, in my mid 40s, I was seeing frailer pinkish snakeskin appendages. Hands that I was either going to have to hide constantly or figure out how to correct. Big time. But what and how, and where. Oiy!

I’ve spent hours researching products online and used dozens of hand lotions- few have any impact beyond making my hands feel greasy and/or overly fragrant, to downright smelly. I got serious when I bought StriVectin-HC for Hands about six years ago. It claimed to be developed solely for the hands and was concentrated. When I read: “The Skin on the back of your hands is not the same as the skin on your face…StriVectin-HC Ultra-Concentrate Cream For The Hands restores the texture of thin, parchment-like skin on the back of the hands…” I was sold. The truly good advice I got from the packaging, which I still use today, was to put a small dob on the back of one hand and then rub the back of the other hand against the dob, as not to waste any product. I used StriVectin-HC faithfully for three to four months (or longer, the tube was near empty). I kept telling myself the damage was too great to see improvement too soon. It would take time. Naïve. I finally had to admit nothing was happening. I reject StriVectin-HC.

I moved on. I bought several hand lotions online. Lancome, Bliss, Adovia mineral hand cream, Uskincare Healing Hands with echinacea, Robanda anti-aging hand treatment with gatuline whitening and retinol.

One I like is Nourish Younger Hands Cream. The ingredients include nothing harmful and some wonderful things like mallow, ivy and black willow bark. Works with good oils including sunflower, jojoba and emu. Nourish even manages a peptide, Acetyl Hexapeptide-3, which satisfies my cosmetic active trigger! The fragrance is fascinating, and I quite like it. After using this lotion for a few weeks, I actually felt I was building up substance beneath the thin skin of my hands. Not much and probably not noticeable to others, but there was a texture change. To date, Nourish is my favorite “dedicated” hand cream, and I recommend it.

However, my favored routine to date, day or night (or in between) is as, I finish my facial routine, I add a dob of moisturizing product  (whatever potion I may be using on my face) on the back of my left hand and work it with the back of my right hand, then with my palms, work it well up my arms. I do this as often as possible. My hands look better today than five years ago, but I still wish for better every day!

For it was while working the nuisance of my hands that the horror of my arms was revealed. I don’t know why I was so shocked. The loss of elasticity doesn’t stop at our hands. Especially for us *past* sun worshippers. This is a true case of hindsight being 20-20. We dry up. Sahara. No built in oasis here. It’s as simple as that. Tanning magnifies what age is going to present naturally. A huge decrease in hydration. Here’s where hydration as a dedicated practice becomes my mantra. This is why I added my arms to my Burt’s Bees Orange Essence soak in the shower. The good news: I caught my arms early. A year ago they showed a marked snake pattern. Today if I care for them regularly, I can stave off this effect. I’m fairly certain this is an impact of sun damage, but I would be interested to hear from readers who have aging skin on their arms and hands who haven’t had a particularly strong past in the sun. Heck, I’d like to hear from both sides: Sunnies and Shadys- What works for you and your hands (arms, elbows)?

So heads up. Use your body lotions now you 20s, 30s and 40s, and you’ll be ahead of the pack by loving your skin- all of it- now. You 50s and 60s are probably working on it, and I’d like to hear what works (and doesn’t) for you.  ~Peace… Julie Kay

StriVectin-HC Ingredients:

Water, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Dimethiocne, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Behenyl Alcohol, Isopentyldiol, Polyglyceryl-2 Stearate, Saccharomyces/Xylinum Black Tea Ferment, Cetearyl Methicone, Glycereth-26, Ammonium Acryloyl Dimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Biosaccharide Gum-1, Crambe Abyssinica Seed Oil, Meadowfoam Seed Oil, Diacetyl Boldine, Barley Extract, Soybean Sterols, Sandalwood Extract, Phellondendron Amurense Bark Extract, Phopholipids, Linoleic Acid, Glycerin, Xanthan Gum, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Hexylene Glycol, Caprylyl Glycol, Disodium EDTA, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Potassium Sorbate, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben, Butylparaben, Isopropylparaben, Isobutylparaben.

Nourish Ingredients:

Aqua (Water), Emulsifying Wax NF,  Aloe Barbadensis (Organic Aloe) Leaf Juice,  Kosher Vegetable Glycerin, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Cetyl Alcohol, Simmondsia Chinensis (Organic Jojoba), Emu Oil, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil (and) Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Camellia Sinensis Malva Sylvestris (Mallow) Extract,  Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Leaf Extract, Primula Veris Extract, Alchemilla Vulgaris Extract, Veronica Officinalis Extract,  Melissa Officinalis Leaf Extract, Achillea Millefolium Extract, Acetyl Hexapeptide-3, Vaccinium Myrtillus (Bilberry) Extract, Saccharum officinarum (Sugar Cane) Extract, Acer Saccharinum (Sugar Maple) Extract, Citrus Auranium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract, Citrus medica limonum (Lemon) Extract, Vaccinium macrocarpon (Cranberry) Extract, (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Allantoin, Ascorbyl Palmitate Vitamin C Ester, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Salix Nigra (Organic Black Willow Bark) Extract, Sodium Hydroxy Methyl Glycinate, Germall Plus

  • August 4, 2011

    by Julie Kay

    I only used the exfoliator once, felt it was too harsh on the tender skin on the backs of my hands- and, yes, the skin has thickened some... not much, but some is something! Let's keep us informed. ~jk

  • August 4, 2011

    by Junko

    Oddly enough Julie I'm currently I'm using the same. AM & PM cream but not the exfoliator and I think it's actually thickened the skin on the back of my hands. Not totally happy about the sunscreen in the AM cream or the Retinol. Always, always the search of better...

  • August 4, 2011

    by Julie Kay

    Unfortunately I discovered the same thing, but good news! I am now using Zo Skin Health Oraser Hand Care System. It has a day and night cream and a sugar-based exfoliation mixture. I found a good deal on it at Nordstrom's... $50 for a $90 set. With dedicated use, I have seen good results as well! I believe Zo is under the Obagi umbrella product line. Thanks for asking! ~jk

  • August 3, 2011

    by Junko

    Julie, I went to look for this hand cream and it looks like they don't make it anymore? Went to your skin energizer site and they're not listing it and neither does the Nourish site. Is this still your favorite? If you're using something better now can you tell us what it is?

  • July 19, 2010

    by Jaysie

    Naja - Sorry I missed your reply at the time it was posted. Thank you so much for all the info. I'm going to try a TCA peel but think I'll wait until October. It's just too hot & sunny right now so I'd rather wait until I can wear long sleeved tops so I don't absentmindedly expose my arms to wickedly strong sun.

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