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The Hand Connection

Annet King June 2013 issue of Skin Inc. magazine
Hand treatment

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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.

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Treatment How-to: Customized Hand Treatment

Duration: 30 minutes

Cost: $45

Contraindications: Open cuts, abrasions, or any signs of fungal or bacterial infections around the nails.

Equipment and supplies needed:

Essential oil-infused steamed towel

Warm water

Warm towel

Ultrasound, galvanic iontophoresis or microcurrent

Plastic hand liners

Toweling mitts

Products needed:

Gentle, nondrying cleanser

Oil-based or anti-aging exfoliant

Concentrated anti-aging and hyperpigmentation serum

Nourishing hydrating cream


Nourishing hand and nail treatment with SPF

Sunscreen (optional)

Step 1: Analyze your client’s hands and check for any possible contraindications, such as open cuts, abrasions, or any signs of fungal or bacterial infections around the nails.

Step 2: Cleanse the hands with a gentle, nondrying cleanser and remove with a steamed towel that has been infused with a blend of water-soluble essential oils.

Step 3: Massage an oil-based exfoliant over the hands, including ingredients such as lactic acid, retinol, and vitamins C, D and E in a plant-oil base. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for timing and removal. Alternatively, use an exfoliant that addresses aging skin.

Step 4: Remove the exfoliant with warm water, pat dry and wrap the hand in a warm towel. Repeat Steps 2–3 on the other hand.

Step 5: To address irregular pigmentation and other signs of aging, apply a concentrated anti-aging and hyperpigmentation serum over the back of the hands and penetrate with ultrasound, galvanic iontophoresis or microcurrent using the feathering option.

Step 6: Next, massage in a nourishing hydrating cream. Pay special attention to areas that can be overused, such the base of the thumb, the joints and the palm of the hand.

Step 7: Dip the hands in paraffin, making sure to check that the temperature is precisely right. Place the hands in plastic liners and cocoon inside toweling mitts. Let hands rest in this blissful state for 15–20 minutes. This is a perfect time to massage the arms, exfoliate the face or give foot care service.

Step 8: Remove paraffin and apply a nourishing hand and nail treatment boosted with SPF or apply a body sunscreen to help guard against further UV damage.

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