Turning Back the Hands of Time
July 5, 2006 (WLS) -- The quest for a more youthful appearance usually starts with the face, but an increasing number of women are now focusing on their hands.
It's been said that a women's hands are the best indicator of her age. Now more and more women are looking to disprove that old saying. They're doing so with the help of dermatologists and plastic surgeons offering dramatic advances to help hands look years younger.
A manicure, even a massage, can help give hands a quick pick me up. But the dark spots, wrinkles and those unsightly veins are still there. A woman's hands can tell a lot about her age.
"I decided to do something to make me feel good about myself," said 59-year-old Jean Brink.
Recently, Brink had cosmetic surgery on her face and was feeling great about her "fresher" look until she noticed her hands.
"You can see the lack of volume in your hands, and that affects how your skin looks, and it just looks more wrinkled," said Brink.
The skin on the back of the hands is more delicate and as we age fat that normally pads this area begins breaking down. The result: you see more of the bones, muscles and veins.
Brink wants her hands to match her face and plastic surgeon Michael Epstein has some solutions. First, sclerotherapy to eliminate the veins. It's the same procedure used to eliminate spider veins in the legs.
"You can easily, very easily inject the back of the hands and cause those veins to thrombosis which is basically to clot off. Once they clot off um they just shrivel up and fade away," said Dr. Michael Epstein, plastic surgeon.
Then, in a more involved process called fat grafting, Jean's hands are plumped back up with small amounts of fat harvested from her leg, which are then redeposited in her hands through a syringe.
"Your own inherent circulation actually can create or help the fat cells survive and live there," said Dr. Epstein.
There are more conservative approaches to rejuvenating hands and keeping them youthful Dermatologist Omeed Memar says, for starters, make it a habit to slather sunscreen on your hands.
"The No. 1 cause of the signs of aging on the hands is sun damage," said Dr. Omeed Memar, dermatologist.
If you're looking to diminish fine lines, there are topical vitamin-A-based retinoid creams, such as Retin-A, which promote skin cell turnover and collagen stimulation.
There are pulsed light treatments that can target age spots and other laser type treatments to help restore volume.
"You give deep heat and you build collagen and you are reversing this thinning of the skin," Dr. Memar said.
Microdermabrasion can also be used on the hands to gently blast away damaged skin, leaving a smoother appearance.
Jean Brink is glad she went with the surgical procedures, and even though her hands are still healing, she likes what she sees.
"I want it to seem real natural. So far that has been one real advantage of the procedures I've had done. I just look better," Brink said.
You can expect to pay several thousand dollars for fat grafting and $300 to $600 for sclerotherapy. Other procedures, such as the laser treatments and microdermabrasion, will also run several hundred dollars.
Again, doctors say one of the most inexpensive ways to help slow the aging process is to protect your hands from sun damage with sunscreen.
Dr. Michael Epstein
1535 Lake Cook Rd. Suite 211
Northbrook, Il. 60062
Dr. Omeed Memar
30 N. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, Il. 60602
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