When considering the signs of aging, people tend to focus on the face, forgetting what is right there in front of them on the table — their hands. Our hands, thanks to their constant exposure to the sun and environment, coupled with the volume loss that is a part of aging, tell no lies when it comes to our true age.
At Williamsburg Plastic Surgery, we have a variety of procedure options targeted toward hand rejuvenation.
Am I a Good Candidate for Hand Rejuvenation?
Hand rejuvenation could be a great option for you if these characteristics sound like your hands:
- Your hands have prominent veins and tendons due to volume loss
- They are wrinkled and thin
- Your hands have age spots all over them
- Your skin tone and color is blotchy due to sun damage
How Does Hand Rejuvenation Make My Hands Look Younger?
There are really two goals for hand rejuvenation: remove the age spots and discolored areas where the sun has damaged the skin, and replace volume that you’ve lost as you’ve aged.
Hand Rejuvenation Treatments
- Dermal Fillers
- Intense Pulsed Light (IPL)
- Chemical Peels
- Laser Resurfacing
The goal of a dermal filler, as the name implies, is to either fill the depressed area under a wrinkle, or to fill a wider area, such as the cheeks, where you’ve lost volume as you’ve aged. On the back of the hands wrinkles aren’t as much of a problem as volume loss. If you compare the backs of your hands at 25 and 55, it’s amazing how much volume has decreased. This makes the hands look thin, and it allows the veins to really show themselves.
Radiesse is the dermal filler we use on the hands. It is the only filler that is approved by the FDA for use on the hands. Radiesse has two facets to its effectiveness. The filler is made of calcium hydroxylapatite microspheres suspended in an aqueous gel. When injected into the back of the hands, Radiesse spreads out and the combination of the gel and the calcium microspheres plumps the area. The microspheres actually help recreate some of the structural support framework that formerly was provided by collagen.
The secondary effect of Radiesse is collagen production. As the body absorbs the calcium microspheres, increased collagen production is triggered in the injection areas. This new collagen goes to work creating the structural framework to hide much of the volume loss.
We also use hyaluronic acid fillers such as Juvederm to return volume to shrunken fingers. Radiesse can’t be used on the fingers.
Intense Pulsed Light
Intense pulsed light (IPL) is light energy similar to laser energy, but in a wider span of wavelengths. This is valuable for treating age spots, solar lentigines, and other sun damaged skin. The IPL hand piece is placed over the back of the hands and light energy is pulsed onto the skin. The wavelengths are set to target the brown spots we want to remove, so when the light hits the skin it is absorbed by the melanin in the age spots (melanin give the spots their brown color). The light energy converts to heat and breaks down the melanin, causing the age spots to darken initially, and then peel off. Any deeper melanin remaining after peeling breaks down and fades away over a few weeks.
IPL treatment leaves your hands as if they had a mild sunburn, but this passes in a couple days. There isn’t any downtime.
At Williamsburg Plastic Surgery, we also offer various chemical peels that can resurface the back of the hands. The goal of a chemical peel is to remove the damaged, unhealthy outer layer of skin on the epidermis and replace it with fresher skin.
Our Vi Peel is a blended peel formulated with tricholoroacetic acid, salicylic acid, retinoic acid, phenol, and vitamin C. This combination of peeling agents encourages your skin to slough off its outer, damaged cells. But it does this without any downtime, unlike aggressive phenol peels that require weeks of skin recovery.
After your peel, the damaged spots darken and the back of your hands will look slightly bronzed due to the retinoic acid. This fades within an hour. Over the next few days, the skin on your hands will feel somewhat tighter, and age spots will darken. Light peeling begins around day three, but isn’t overly visible and can be managed with moisturizer. After six or seven days, the peeling is complete and healthier, fresher skin is exposed.
We use our Smartxide Fractional CO2 laser for skin resurfacing. The laser energy is directed at the back of the hands where it creates hundreds of microscopic channels through the epidermis down into the skin’s second layer, the dermis. These channels begin to heal instantly, completely healing within just a few hours. But the body responds to these microscopic holes as if it is wounded, increasing production of collagen and elastin, the two proteins responsible for skin firmness and elasticity. The outer skin will also peel and be replaced by new tissue.