The hands of time?

By Jo Finzi

How many of you take great care of the skin on your face but ignore your hands? Hands are a great give-away when it comes to ageing, but think about how you treat them every day. pictureOne minute the delicate skin on the hands is exposed to the ravages of the outdoors and as soon as they’re safely inside, they’re submerged in washing-up liquid, soap or detergents. No wonder they’re showing signs of wear and tear.

Even celebrities like Madonna have been guilty of hand neglect and she recently had her hands airbrushed in publicity photos to remove the tell-tale wrinkles and veins. So if you want to stay younger looking all over, now’s the time to give your hands the treat they deserve with this hands-on regime.

Inside out

Water levels

Getting enough moisture is vital if you want the skin on your hands to look their best, so body hydration is a must.

Drink at least two litres of water a day to keep those moisture levels topped up, and get extra moisture also with vitamins and minerals by eating fresh fruit and vegetables.

To make sure you’re getting enough water, carry a bottle around with you and take regular sips.

EFA effect

Just like the skin on your face or anywhere else, your hands need healthy skin cells. A diet rich in EFAs will feed the skin and plump it up, whilst helping with the skin’s moisture content.

To keep your diet rich in EFAs, eat nuts, seeds and oily fish such as sardines and salmon. EFAs can also be found in supplement form, with capsules containing ingredients like evening primrose. If in doubt, ask your health food store for advice.

To add extra EFAs to your daily diet, try sprinkling pumpkin or sunflower seeds onto your cereal, and use flaxseed or nut oils in your salad dressing.

Up the anti

To prevent your hands showing the onset of aging with premature lines, blotches and wrinkles, increase your intake of antioxidants.

They neutralise the damaging effects of free radicals. Antioxidant-rich vegetables usually have the brightest colours - so eat a rainbow of berries, broccoli, spinach, carrots and capsicums. Wholegrain foods are also a great source of antioxidants.

If you’re worried about not getting enough antioxidants from diet alone, you can add supplements such as vitamin C and E, and co-enzyme Q10.

Outer layers

Get moving pictureMassaging your hands gets the circulation going while moisturising the skin at the same time. For a special treat, try hand reflexology, which stimulates trigger points connected to thousands of nerves and can improve your general health and wellbeing.

Massage your hands for ten minutes a day and you’ll soon see an improvement. Use natural olive oil or your favourite moisturising cream.

Work the oil or cream into your palms, then stroke firmly up the joints of your hand to your wrist and on to your elbow. Use your thumb for firm pressure and work in circular movements across the palm and then over the top of each hand. You can do this while you’re watching TV, or anytime you have a spare moment.

Moisture treat

Make sure you give your hands the same treatment as the rest of your skin by giving them a daily treat.

Bharti Vyas recommends this tried and tested recipe with ingredients you can find at home. Mix two tablespoons of olive oil with a tablespoon of fine oatmeal and a teaspoon of salt. Massage the mixture all over your hands and up to your elbows, paying special attention to you nail beds.

This treatment exfoliates, moisturises and boosts circulation at the same time. For more information on natural holistic treatments go to

Hand workout

A daily workout keeps your hands supple, boosts circulation and generally keeps your hands in good shape.

1. Starting with your right hand, turn the palm so it’s facing down and pull each finger back one at a time towards the wrist, using your other hand. Then open the right palm stretching all fingers together. Repeat several times with each hand.

2. Pull your thumb gently back towards your wrist with your other hand, but without forcing it too much, then push it back towards the palm.

3. Make a strong fist, then open your fingers out slowly and stretch them out as far as you can. Repeat with the other hand.

4. Press your palms together so your fingers are pointing upwards. Now continue to press your palms, and lower your hands until you feel a good stretch in your wrists. Hold this position, then release and repeat.

Daily defence

Make sure your protect your hands against the ravages of sun and extremes of temperature. Use an SPF15 protective moisturiser daily to protect against damage from the sun’s rays.

Every time you wash your hands make sure your dry them thoroughly and apply a light waterproof cream to lock in the precious moisture.

Looking good

Follow these simple steps and your hands will soon be smooth, supple and silky. If you’re a fan of brightly coloured nails, your hands will now be ready to show off your new spring colours.

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