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The Hand Connection

By: Annet King
Posted: May 28, 2013, from the June 2013 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

Your hands speak. Second only to your facial expressions and your voice, you tell your personal stories with your hands. Across all cultures and throughout history, human hands have also symbolized intention and personal power, from the sacred mudras of India to the traditional hula hand positions of ancient Polynesia. In a sense, everyone knows contemporary sign language; you gesture constantly, when words will not suffice.

Your hands are also ruthless timekeepers. Spots, roughness, dryness, lines and the flattening of the once-plump tissues—making hands look sinewy or skeletal, with prominent veins—not only tell the tale, but may even exaggerate the facts. The skin on the hands is the thinnest on the body; only the skin around the eye is more delicate. Combine this with the fact that hands contain no sebum glands, and that they are exposed to the elements, unprotected, for much of the year. And the integrity of the fragile lipid barrier of the hands is also regularly compromised by the use of alcohol-based antibacterial products to prevent the spread of infectious disease.

This means that hands not only tell a person’s actual age, but they may look older than skin on other areas of the body that are more abundantly nourished by sebum protection, are not subjected to frequent washing with harsh surfactants and are usually better protected from UV, such as the thighs and mid-body. Hands now are a key focus for cosmetic rejuvenation procedures, including resurfacing and the injection of fillers to restore volume and “lift” to tissues for a younger, smoother look with fewer visible veins and smaller knuckles.

Today’s professional skin care client is a holistic thinker who views smart aging as a total-body experience. And, clients start younger and younger, meaning that hand care makes sense now more than ever. Professional hand care treatments can be especially lucrative since they require no disrobing, are comparatively brief, and may be offered spontaneously, without an appointment. In addition, treatment of the hands, wrists and arms is a deeply soothing and de-stressing practice that helps to move lymphatic fluid more effectively, as well as relieve tension and discomfort from repetitive motions such as typing—especially true now in the world of constant digital dialoguing. This common phenomenon is exaggerated when ergonomics, such as work station posture, is not perfect. And whose is?

Hand massage

Children and teens are among the most frenetic texters and some even develop inflammation of carpal joints, especially the thumbs used in gaming. This includes boys! (For more information about hand injury-issues among tweens and teens, see www.kidzworld.com/article/15036-carpal-tunnel-syndrome.)