Stories from Skin-Care Tips

Your Hands Deserve a Skin-Care Routine, Too—and This Is the Only One You Need

Tehrene Firman

Tehrene FirmanJanuary 26, 2020

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When you think of skin care, your think of your face. That’s probably what 99 percent of the beauty products on display in your bathroom are for, whether they’re melting cleansers or luxe serums. That other 1 percent? Moisturizing body lotions. The only area of your body that’s often neglected in skin care is your hands, and experts say they’re more than deserving of a routine too.

The hands rarely get an adequate amount of TLC, and that’s exactly why they often end up looking much older than other areas of your body as you age. “The hands are very vulnerable because the skin is thin,” says Gretchen Frieling, MD, a Boston-based dermatopathologist. “We forget that we need to exfoliate our hands and moisturize them just as we would our face. Hands also tend to be dryer than our faces because they have fewer sebaceous glands, which produce sebum, an oily substance that helps protect the skin by keeping it lubricated and waterproof.”

In addition, the hands aren’t protected by makeup or clothing. Because of that, Dr. Frieling says the sun’s powerful UV rays cause about 80 percent of the unsightly skin changes that are associated with aging. To make sure you’re properly taking care of your hands—from using SPF to exfoliating on the regular—here’s your expert-approved routine.

The only skin-care routine your hands need

1. Use a broad spectrum SPF sunscreen every day

Dr. Frieling’s go-to: Supergoop! Forever Young Hand Cream with Sea Buckthorn, $14

Dr. Frieling says applying a daily sunscreen is crucial in keeping your hands protected and youthful. That means year-round, no matter whether it’s a sunny summer day or you’re in the middle of a full-on blizzard.

2. Slather on a daytime hand cream

Dr. Frieling’s go-to: Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream, $18 for pack of 4

Aside from using a daily sunscreen, you should also be using a daily daytime moisturizer. “Apply one every morning that contains ceramides,” she says.

3. Use a mild exfoliant

Dr. Frieling’s go-to: Deborah Lippmann Marshmallow Whipped Hand and Cuticle Scrub, $29

To slough off dead skills and allow other products to absorb better, Dr. Frieling recommends using a mild exfoliant on your hands once a week. “It will also give your skin a glow,” she says. “Only apply the exfoliator to the back of your hands.”

4. Use a heavy nighttime cream

Dr. Frieling’s go-to: Burt’s Bees Mini Hand Salve, $19 for pack of 5

Along with a day cream, you should also be using a night cream on your hands. “For nighttime, you should go with an even heavier cream with ingredients such as like hyaluronic acid, emblica (a natural skin lightener to aid in the correction of age spots), and soothing extracts or essential oils,” she says.

Here’s exactly how to layer your skincare products:

Here’s exactly what to look for in a hand cream. Then meet the hand sanitizer for people who hate hand sanitizers.

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