Whether you just got engaged (congrats!) or you feel a proposal coming soon, there’s no easier way to spread the news to all your loved ones than with a sparkling ring selfie. However, for some, it might be a bit uncomfortable to have your hand shoved into the spotlight.
Afterall, not everyone has taken the best care of their hands over the years: hand care doesn’t exactly fall at the top of most people’s skincare agendas. Regular manicures combat any nail issues, but the skin everywhere else tends to be neglected. Knuckles get dry and cracked, and the backs of hands are subject to sun damage — and the spots that go along with it. Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to tackle those hard-to-treat hand concerns. We tapped David Cangello, MD, board-certified plastic surgeon in New York for his best methods to improve the look of your hands before you flaunt your ring selfie for all to see.
Intense Pulsed Light
Wearing sunscreen on your face every day is non-negotiable, and wearing sunscreen on the back of your hands is highly recommended, too (shop some of our favorite SPF-infused hand creams here). Unfortunately, if you’ve already had your fair share of sun exposure on this area, your hands might be speckled with sun spots. “With repeated sun exposure, many of us — particularly fair-skinned people — develop light brown, pigmented spots on our skin,” explains Dr. Cangello. “Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) is used to treat those brown spots.”
IPL works by using high-intensity light to target pigmentation. Unlike lasers, which only deliver a singular wavelength of light, IPL uses multiple wavelengths to penetrate down to the second layer of skin without harming the epidermis (outer layer of skin). Because of this, it has minimal downtime, and it can often be done on a patient’s lunch break. Sometimes, spots can fade with just one IPL treatment, but two or three may ultimately be required for them to fully disappear. On average, each IPL session can cost between $150 to $350, but prices will vary based on your location and the training of your licensed provider, so consult with them before your appointment.
For an overall improved look, Dr. Cangello recommends fractional CO2 (or as he refers to it, “microlasering”) to his patients. With a microlasering treatment, there is no more downtime than about one to two days. Here’s how it works: “The laser vaporizes cellular debris on the skin’s surface,” says Dr. Cangello. “The columns of laser that make the little holes in the skin actually heat the skin to stimulate more collagen production.”
Dr. Cangello then combines this with platelet rich plasma (PRP) to help heal the skin quickly and stimulate more collagen. PRP uses a patient’s platelets — taken from their own blood that is put through a centrifuge — to mend abrasions on the skin and reduce inflammation. “All of this combined clarifies the skin and tightens it,” adds Dr. Cangello. “Pore size decreases, skin surface irregularities decrease, and the skin becomes tighter and more robust.” For hands, this means smoother texture, a brighter and more even tone, and firmer skin — no Instagram® filter necessary. For a fractional CO2 treatment with PRP, patients can expect pricing of approximately $1,500, but again, consult with your provider to find out what they charge for this procedure.
[Editor’s note: As always, talk to your doctor before starting any new treatment.]
No surprise here, but hydrated skin is simply prettier than dehydrated skin. “Moisturizing the hands is key,” says Dr. Cangello. “Skin looks dull and not as plump or full when it is dehydrated.” A quality hand cream is essential for helping the skin maintain its elasticity and a healthy glow. Try slathering on a formula like the Eucerin® Daily Hydration Hand Cream with SPF 30 ($7) or the Supergoop!® Forever Young Hand Cream with Sea Buckthorn SPF 40 ($12) to keep hands feeling soft and supple each day. Both products contain SPF so you’ll be healing cracked fingers, while also preventing future sun damage with every use.
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