[By Kelly Wong-Van Genderen]
For Lisa Ong, it was her “banana hands” that did it.
“You know how a banana skin starts to get dark spots as it gets older?” says the 52-year-old businesswoman and socialite. “I started to look at my hands the same way. I thought, ‘I looked like an aging banana here.’”
So Lisa had her hands “done.” More specifically, her doctor used a laser to zap away the age spots.
Wong Su-Fen, 48, a local actress had a different problem. Instead of spots, her hands had a sunken-in hollow look. Her solution was to have her doctor plump them up with an injectable filler. “We all worry about our faces, but your hands can give it away in two seconds,” says Su-Fen. “You put your hand up to your face and your face looks fine. But there’s a creepy old hand up there.”
Up until a few years ago, those hoping to hide their true age were forced to feint their way to a youthful facade with high-end manicures, gloves, and a collection of chunky distracting bracelets. But today, a new wave of hand rejuvenation procedures offers the cosmetically conscious a chance to turn back the hands of time.
“The newfound acceptance of laser and light devices, as well as the technological advancement infiller materials has remarkably changed the ‘face’ of hand rejuvenation,” according to Dr Kenneth Lee of the Sloane Clinic. “By using some of the latest technologies to restore lost volume and remove sun damage, we can reset the clock.”
In other words, these days the hands do lie.
In a 2006 study in England, nearly 100 participants were asked to examine unaltered photos of female hands and then guess their age. The results showed that hands with wrinkles, veins, prominent joints, thin skin and spots were routinely and accurately characterized as older. But when altered images of older hands were shown with veins, wrinkles, and age spots digitally removed, participants classified those hands as younger. (Nail polish and jewelry also helped lower the age, but not to the same extent.)
Plump up the volume
Cosmetic and skin docs have begun to offer their patients rejuvenation techniques that can shave 10 to 15 years off of a hand in fast as a 30 minute procedure.
Injectable fillers and volumizers such as Restylane and Juvederm Voluma are used to plump up thin, skeletal hands. Both fillers are made from non-animal sourced hyaluronic acid.
Dr Lee who plumped up Su-Fen’s hands says the problem with aging hands is that they lose both connective tissue and fat, which is why look ‘stringy’. “You end up seeing the tendons and veins you don’t see when you’re young,” he says. “By injecting filler – either Restylane or Voluma – you can give a buffer layer between the skin and the tendons and bones so the hand appears more youthful.”
The effects of Restylane last about six to eight months; JuvedermVoluma lastsbetween ayear to 18 months.
When freckles are no longer cute
Skin texture, skin color changes and age spots are another unmistakable telltale sign and for that, many people turn to laser therapy. As with fillers, there are a number of options; they differ in the type of technology used (light based devices versus lasers), to the amount of downtime involved post treatment (from none to several days of scabbing or flaking of the skin).
Intense pulsed light (IPL), marketed under names like Prolight or Nova Plus, throws a broad spectrum of light at the skin (think of it as a big flashlight turning on and off) and is good for removing brown spots and evening the tone.
Conversely highly focused lasers target a particular wave length (think of them as a pen light rather than a flashlight) with each laser having its own specialty. One laser, Revlite, addresses the color brown and is used to graduallylighten any kind of skin pigmentation without any downtime; another, Gentlelase, emits a red light, and selectively targets broken veins, freckles and age spots. After the procedure, treated areas form a scab which falls off after 5 to 7 days revealing renewed pigment-free skin. Finally Fraxel works by resurfacing the superficial layer of skin bit by bit, effectively eliminating pigmented lesions with the additional benefit of tightening loose skin and improving tone and texture. Expect a few days or redness, swelling, discrete peeling of the treated area afterwards.