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 Marisa Garshick, MD, FAAD—which is why many have opted to add hand creams made specifically for mature skin to their arsenal.
Indeed, our skin begins to lose its moisture and elasticity right around age 25—and when this happens, it causes the already delicate skin on the hands to become thinner, more fragile, and more sensitive to the effects of the sun over time (hello, age spots). Additionally, the body’s loss of collagen and cumulative exposure to the sun makes “the skin on the hands appear thin, crepey and wrinkly,” says Dr. Garshick, and because we often don’t give our hands the same TLC as our faces, these changes are pretty standard as we age.
Is an anti-aging hand cream right for you?
Sure, body lotions can help with adding moisture, but they won’t be able to address some of the specific skin concerns that appear on the 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
When looking for a hand cream for mature skin, the general rule is, “the thicker, the better,” says Robert Finney, MD, FAAD, board-certified cosmetic dermatologist at The Dermatology Specialists and clinical assistant professor at Mount Sinai Icahn School of Medicine.
As you shop, you might also want to consider a hand cream that contains ingredients that help replenish and repair your skin’s moisture barrier, because fun fact, our skin dries out as we age. Dr. Garschick recommends checking the label for ceramides, which strengthen the skin barrier and humectants, “such as oils, butters, and petrolatum,” to draw in moisture, as well as occlusives, which create a protective seal on top of your skin to lock moisture into place.
A deeply moisturizing hand cream can help nourish mature or aging skin, but if you want to target more specific signs of aging—like fine 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.
Best hand creams for mature skin
Best hydrating hand creams for mature skin
Originally $6, now $4
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, leaving your skin baby soft even after the longest days of dishwashing and hot showers.
Originally $16, now $10
If you have calloused and rough hands that need some TLC, consider this hand cream from Eucerin. Not only does it 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.
Originally $68, now $47
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 a cut 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.
Originally $11, now 10
Dermatologists love CeraVe’s Moisturizing Cream, and the same can be said about this hand cream. For board-certified dermatologist Shari Sperling, DO, the CeraVe Therapeutic Hand Cream is a home run for super-dry, chapped skin. “The cream has hyaluronic acid for moisture, ceramides to protect the skin barrier, and niacinamide to calm the skin,” she says. The formula is also ideal for sensitive skin types due to its unscented nature.
Originally $6, now $2
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.
Best anti-aging hand creams for protection
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 the 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 combats 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 grapeseed 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.
Originally $30, now $21
It’s possible you’ve heard the name “Rich Girl” before, but have you tried it? Formulated by Deborah Lippmann, the brand (and nail artist) behind some of the most iconic polish shades, Rich Girl is an award-winning hand cream that is ultra hydrating without feeling sticky or greasy. Formulated with moisturizing shea butter, avocado, and jojoba oil, the superpower in this cream is the broad-spectrum SPF 25 that protects hands from UV rays.
Best anti-aging hand creams for fine lines, wrinkles, and dark spots
Although 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 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 or vitamin B3, which helps to strengthen the skin’s outer layers to hold more moisture.
More ways to take care of aging hands
Besides hand cream, there are other things you can do to keep your hands looking their best. For at-home care, Sheila Farhang, MD, board-certified dermatologist and double fellowship-trained cosmetic surgeon, recommends pampering yourself with a hand mask. Another skincare tip for your hands? Apply whatever leftover skincare products you use on your face to the back of your hands so they can absorb all those good ingredients, she says.
Frequently asked questions
What is the difference between hand serum and hand cream?
Consistency is one of the main differences between hand serum and hand cream. “Serums are lighter and more watery products versus creams which are thicker,” Dr. Farhang says. Additionally, she says serums are usually packed with skincare ingredients. In particular, she’s a fan of the L’Oréal Revitalift Derm Intensives Night Serum with retinol.
That said, Dr. Farhang notes that if a hand serum and a hand cream contain the same ingredients, they will likely provide the same benefits. If you opt to use both a hand serum and a hand cream, she recommends applying hand serum first and then hand cream.
At what age should I start using a hand cream for wrinkles?
As far as prevention, Dr. Farhang recommends starting with regular hand cream application in your 20s. If you’re in your 30s and notice dark spots or wrinkles, then she suggests incorporating anti-aging products into your hand-care routine as well.
Why are my hands always dry even after I apply lotion?
Dr. Farhang says the most common culprit is hand-washing frequency. So if you’re washing your hands many times throughout the day, you’re washing off the lotion over and over again. She also says that she’s seen an increase in dry hands since the pandemic due to handwashing and hand sanitizers. One pro tip she shares to prevent dry hands is to use lukewarm water rather than hot water to wash your hands. What’s more, the hand soap you use also matters, and Dr. Farhang advises using a gentle hand soap.
How often should you use hand lotion?
Dr. Farhang says the ideal frequency varies from person to person depending on how dry their skin is, where they live, and their lifestyle. In general though, you can apply hand lotion as many times as you’d like.
Can hand and body creams be used interchangeably?
According to Dr. Farhang, you can use hand and body creams interchangeably so long as you don’t mind the consistency of it. For instance, body cream may feel too thick or oily on the hands for some people. So if your beauty cabinet is stocked with some of the best body moisturizers for aging skin, then by all means use it on your hands as well.
Loading More Posts...