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Helping Hands With Medical Esthetic Techniques

By: Elaine Linker
Posted: February 28, 2013, from the March 2013 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
professional skin care for hands

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To treat lighter spots, a combination of prescription-strength hydroquinone and retinoid is the dermatologic standard use during a three-month period. Hydroquinone blocks the production of tyrosinase, the enzyme needed to produce melanin, and the retinoid increases cell turnover to remove visible pigmentation. This protocol can be very irritating to the skin. Light peels featuring both lactic and glycolic acids can be used by skin care professionals as an in-spa treatment to increase the exfoliation of visible pigmentation. Many professional skin care brands now make a skin-lightening formulation using herbal and botanical lighteners, such as arbutin, bearberry and kojic acid. Used in combination with light peels, these formulations provide cumulative lightening results. Expect the backs of hands to be dry, but with less peeling than results on the face. Diligent follow-up is needed to maximize results; therefore, recommend home-care formulations from your retail area that use arbutin, bearberry and vitamin C as their active ingredients.

For stubborn spots, many lasers on the market can target sun damage. Hand revitalization units look like nail dryers, but claim delivery of pulses of high-energy LED, causing acceleration in the turnover of visible pigment. Six to eight treatments are recommended for 10 minutes each with results starting to show at the fourth treatment. Dermatologists also offer IPL lasers or a fractional resurfacing laser. These lasers emit a short pulse of intense red light, which absorbs the skin’s melanocytes—cells that produce the dark spots. The light breaks up the pigmentation into smaller particles that the body’s immune system can then remove. Dramatic results can be achieved, but sun spots will return without diligent use of sunscreen.

Pronounced hand veins

As fat is lost, the veins in the hands become much more visible. In some cases, the veins actually look bulging and quite unsightly. The fashion to be thin also exaggerates the prominence of veins.

Sclerotherapy, the same physician-administered treatment used to treat leg veins, can be used on the hands. A saline solution is most commonly used. It works by irritating the walls of the vein, causing them to collapse. Some stinging and burning is experienced, and hands will be bruised and swollen post treatment. One to three sessions are needed, depending on the thickness of the vein. A more natural solution might be to keep the hands deeply hydrated so that the skin looks plumper.

Loose skin

As part of the aging process, not only does the face lose collagen and elastin, but all the skin on the body gets less tight. Choices for improving appearance range from laser treatments to fillers. Often, both treatments are used in combination for best results. Fractional lasers tighten lax skin and fillers add back lost volume. The fat can be harvested from an area of the body—often saved during a liposuction treatment—or commercial fillers, such as Restylane or Juvederm, are used. These are hyaluronic-based dermal fillers that have semipermanent results.