Best Anti-Aging Hand Cream and Routine to Rejuvenate Hands
By Cynthia Bailey MD. This page was updated on Wed, May 27, 2020
Using the best anti-aging hand cream is important to reversing dry, crepey skin with fine lines and wrinkles and dark spots on your hands. Anti-aging skin care isn’t limited to your face. Hands often give away, and show the signs of, aging for both women and men. The aging concerns of hand skin is starting to get everyone's attention and the right anti aging hand cream can make a huge difference. You also want to treat dry hands because dry skin on your hands looks even older. Using hand creams for dry hands or a rich hand balm are important but you can do so much more than just using hydrating hand creams to combat signs of aging hand skin.
The anti-aging benefits of many facial ingredients can be put to work for your hand skin. In fact, many of these ingredients can penetrate the skin on your hands to reverse many of the signs of aging. You may even have some of these skin anti aging products already in your bathroom. Some ingredients can be both the best hand cream for age spots and hand cream for wrinkles because they tackle both. Used on a regular basis the results can be astounding – and fun!
What makes the skin on your hand look old?
The 7 visible signs of aging hand skin:
- Wrinkling and skin surface crinkling
- Crepey skin
- Dryness and roughness
- Dark spots (solar lentigines)
- Age spots (seborrheic keratosis)
- Rough cuticles and nails
Loss of fat under the skin also allows the veins and tendons to show through. Reversing the loss of fat on the back of your hand is beyond the reach of any product; skin care transforms your skin but it can never add volume in the deeper fat layer. You can, however, make great strides in improving the appearance of the skin that lies over the fat and this will significantly rejuvenate your hands!
Doctor explains aging hand skin
The entire skin on the back of your hands changes with age and sun damage. Starting from the top:
- The stratum corneum (top dead skin cell layer) has fewer lipids and the barrier is weakened resulting in more hand dryness. This is also seen as rough cuticles and nails.
- The epidermis (first layer of living cells) thins. There is less hyaluronic acid resulting in dryness, less skin suppleness and a crepey texture. Dark spots form due to:
- Solar lentigines. These are flat freckles due to localized hyperpigmentation. They are also called “liver spots” or “sun spots.
- Seborrheic keratosis. These growths happen when the living cells of the epidermis grow into a brown, rough and raised spot. Some people call these skin barnacles. Both of these brown spots are linked to sun exposure.
- The dermis (second living layer of skin where you blood vessels and collagen reside) thins. Collagen is both lost and damaged due to sun exposure. There is also less natural hyaluronic acid resulting in crepey texture and lack of suppleness.
The dryness, lack of lipids, damaged collagen and reduced hyaluronic acid all lead to crepey skin, wrinkles and crinkles. The good news is that all of these changes, plus the dark spots, can be treated with your anti-aging hand skin care routine.
How the best anti-aging hand cream and routine will work and why they can be effective?
- They can replenish skin lipids and add water to reverse skin dryness.
- They can thicken the epidermal cell layer, reduce skin pigment in dark spots and flatten seborrheic keratosis.
- In the dermis they can stimulate new collagen formation and turn off collagen destruction.
- Throughout the living cell layers of the epidermis and dermis they can stimulate natural hyaluronic acid formation and also supply it when it is an ingredient in the product. This is a key to youthful skin.
In summary, they can transform and rejuvenate your hands. They can also prevent and reduce further skin aging.
How does a hand cream for wrinkles help?
A good hand cream for wrinkles combats the 2 causes of hand wrinkles:
- Dry skin, which crinkles and wrinkles into fine lines. This can happen to anyone at any age but is more likely to happen with age as your skin loses skin lipids and the skin barrier weakens. Reduction in hyaluronic acid will also contribute to dryness, crinkling, crepey skin and wrinkles. In contrast, hydrated hand skin is supple, soft and more youthful.
- Loss of skin collagen and thinning of the top layer of skin called the epidermis. These changes lead to more permanent wrinkles. 80-90% of this happens due to the sun’s UV rays and is called skin photoaging. Know that using a collagen hand cream can’t remedy the collagen loss because collagen never penetrates through skin – ever! To build skin collagen, you need to use ingredients that stimulate collagen renewal inside your skin. Collagen production takes time so you need to be patient. Over the course of months, you will see fewer fine lines and wrinkles and less crepey skin texture on the back of your hands when you use a powerful hand cream for wrinkles. Wear daily sunscreen to get faster results and to maintain the results you get.
How does a hand cream for age spots help?
They regulate melanin production and normalize melanin distribution so that it is not localized in freckles. They also exfoliate the rough surface of seborrheic keratosis and sometimes even get rid of them. The end result is more even skin color and smoother skin texture with less roughness. As with wrinkle treatment on your hands, wearing daily sunscreen gets you faster results and maintains results.
What are the main ingredients in the best anti-aging hand creams and what does each ingredient do?
The top age fighting ingredients to use are:
Retinol and other retinoids (such as tretinoin). These are unsurpassed in fighting wrinkles - even on hand skin.
These vitamin A related compounds stimulate collagen renewal by your fibroblast cells that reside in your dermis. This is the ONLY way to get collagen production in your hand skin to reverse wrinkles and crepey skin. Also, retinol and tretinoin turn off the destruction of existing skin collagen that is turned on by UV exposure via matrix metalloproteinases. Professional levels of retinol or tretinoin should be in your hand cream for wrinkles! They also stimulate natural skin hyaluronic acid production and thicken the epidermis. If that isn’t enough heavy lifting, these ingredients regulate and normalize melanin pigment production to help create more even skin color. They also exfoliate to soften and smooth seborrheic keratosis. But retinoids are broken down on contact with light so applying a hand cream with retinol as a day wear hand cream makes no sense and won’t work. Get the benefit of retinol to create young hand skin when you use it at bedtime.
Glycolic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) with all the skin age fighting benefits of retinoids but it works by a different mechanism of action.
It means that using both will get you even greater results. Plus, each will help the other penetrate better into your skin. Glycolic acid also changes the dead skin cell layer effectively compacting and ‘polishing’ it to finer smoothness. It fights wrinkles, dryness and age spots to create smoother, more supple, less wrinkled skin with fewer to no dark spots. Glycolic is the best and easiest ingredient to use as a 'young hand cream' but because AHAs can be irritating your routine and how you use it is important.
Zinc oxide mineral broad-spectrum sunscreen is an essential part of your anti-aging hand skin care.
Wear a water-resistant product daily to fight wrinkles, skin thinning and dark spots. Without sun protection, your skin will continue to age due to photodamage meaning that daily hand SPF is an essential hand cream for age spots and wrinkles. But hand SPF that is not water resistant will come off after the first handwashing.
Dermatologist approved ingredients to hydrate the skin of dry hands to fight roughness and crinkles include:
- hyaluronic acid,
- lanolin from wool and,
- oils to heal skin and replenish lost skin lipids such as botanical oils including olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, seed oils (such as sunflower castor, rosehip, pomegranate seed oils), shea butter, essential oils especially sea buckthorn fruit oil. Botanical oils also contain antioxidants to help fight free radical damage. Petroleum products such as petrolatum jelly and mineral oil were the top dermatologist approved treatments for severely dry skin during the last century but today, we have rediscovered the therapeutic benefits of botanical oils in dermatology.
What are the best anti aging hand creams and what are the pros and cons of each?
Let’s put it all together into a powerful routine that really rejuvenates your hands. I like to combine deeply hydrating creams and oils. These natural ingredients restore moisture and contain antioxidants and vitamins. I combine them with powerful anti-aging ingredients that are pharmaceutical grade actives capable of stimulating skin collagen renewal and natural hyaluronic acid production. I incorporate deeply healing night hand mask treatments for overnight hand rejuvenation and a hand cream with SPF broad spectrum sunscreen that is water resistant to dependably protect your hands. Together this creates a highly effective hand skincare routine to treat the signs of aging and rejuvenate your hands.
Just as with your anti aging facial routine, there is no single product that will accomplish every rejuvenating benefit you want for your hands. The key is to create a Complete Skin Care Routine and it’s easy if you know a few important things. For example, retinol is unsurpassed in fighting wrinkles and building skin collagen, but it is broken down by exposure to light. Likewise, using a hydrating hand cream with SPF at night makes no sense either. Daytime use of ultra hydrating hand creams, hand balm, healing hand salve or hand mask is inconvenient because they make your hands feeling greasy, leaving a greasy residue on things you touch. At night that’s not so much of a problem because you can cover your hands with gloves while you sleep to allow this deeply hydrating hand therapy to soak into your dry hands.
Dermatologist’s simple day and night hand skin care routine for the best anti aging benefits for your hand renewal treatment.
7 Best Hand Cream for Wrinkles
My top hand creams for fine lines and crepey skin due to dry hand skin:
This is the perfect absorbing hand cream for day use because it is quickly absorbed and it’s not greasy. It is enriched with glycerin, hyaluronic acid and green tea to hydrate and heal dry chapped hands. Use it many times a day after washing your hands.
- Pros: this high-tech formulation is the perfect hand cream because it also contains pharmaceutical grade stable green tea antioxidants to fight free radical damage and dimethicone to provide subtle protection from harsh chemicals and weather.
- Cons: this is not technically a natural formulation; it is a pharmaceutical formulation made in an FDA registered laboratory facility.
You can also make one of the best ultra moisturizing hand creams by boosting it with a few drops of my vegan Omega Enriched Booster Oil made with organic botanical oils including healing sea buckthorn, borage oil, argan oil, kukui nut oil and seed oils of castor, rosehip, sunflower, and pomegranate. This oil is as good for your hands as it is for your face. These two products are economical and create an affordable hand cream that beats the best luxury hand creams by a mile when it comes to intense hydration.
An entirely natural and vegan friendly hand cream option is to use either my:
#3 Natural Butter Cream made with organic avocado oil, shea butter and aloe.
Boost either of these botanical creams with the Omega Enriched Booster Oil as rich night creams for your hands. Both of these products are vegan, abundant in vegetable glycerin and can be used as your daytime hand cream.
- Pros: both of these natural products are made with organic botanical oils rich in vitamins and antioxidants. They also contain vegetable glycerin to hydrate skin.
- Cons: they are natural formulations and do not contain pharmaceutical grade actives such as dimethicone.
#4 Bag Balm: This remedy for severely dry chapped hands gives you lanolin to soften and heal rough thick cracks. Generously apply Bag Balm to damp hands at night and cover your hands with cotton gloves. This is one of the best home remedies for all skin problems related to dryness. Wake up to soft new skin. Bag Balm is a time-honored remedy for chapped hands. It was discovered by Vermont farmers who were using it on chapped cow utters. They noticed that their own hand skin healed from Vermont winter chapping.
Bag Balm is also the best nail treatment cream to treat cracked cuticles. This night time routine is a hand and nail treatment and repairs ragged cuticles all at the same time.
- Pros: it is a very affordable remedy for severely dry skin, nails, cuticles and chapped hands.
- Cons: it is greasy and it smells like Bag Balm.
The combination of Dry Skin Hand Cream, Bag Balm, Cotton Gloves and the perfect fingertip file come together in my Dry Hand Skin Repair Kit.
Another vegan moisturizing hand and nail treatment includes l’occitane shea butter under cotton gloves or pure moisturizing shea butter purchased from your natural food store.
The most powerful anti aging products to combat the signs of skin aging on your hands#5 Retinol Ultra Intensive Anti-Wrinkle Night Cream made with the highest allowed concentration of retinol to stimulate collagen renewal and hyaluronic acid production. Apply Retinol to the back of your hands at night before you retire. Apply one of the hand creams on top and to your entire hand.
- Pros: this is a professional level of pharmaceutical grade retinol, which is what needs to be in a real hand cream for wrinkles; low concentrations of poorly made retinol won't work.
- Cons: real retinoid products are pricey and come in small containers. They must be applied at night. Retinoids also exfoliate skin making it more sun sensitive.
- Pros: unsurpassed ability to reduce seborrheic keratosis and polish skin to youthful suppleness. Proven anti-aging benefits for reducing all the problems of hand skin aging.
- Cons: all AHAs can be irritating. They are ‘acids’ that really need an acid pH of under 4 to work. You should never apply them to irritated or injured skin. AHAs exfoliate skin, making it more sun sensitive.
Get the perfect daily anti-aging AHA shower routine in my Ultra-Fast Triple Action Body Smoothing Kit. I use this kit twice a week to keep my hand and body skin youthful.
#7 Sheer Strength Pure Physical Spray SPF 50+ Sunscreen is the perfect daily wear sunscreen for the back of your hands. It gives you moderate water resistance and dries invisibly. I apply it every morning and find that it does not discolor my clothing and never leaves a white cast on skin.
- Pros: broad spectrum water resistant mineral sunscreen that is easy to use.
- Cons: as with all sunscreens you need to reapply it if you wash it off and/or every 2 hours if you are in the sun.
What else can you do to fight aging of hand skin?
- Use a non-drying hand soap such as my All Natural Foaming Hand Soap. This certified organic hand cleanser rinses easily so that retained soap residue does not pull out the lipids of your hand skin to cause dryness. Never wash with harsh soaps and never wash your hands with dishwashing soap!
- Wear UPF 50 gloves when you are in the sun for prolonged periods. UPF 50 fabric will keep the aging UV rays off the back of your delicate hand skin. I wear a pair whenever I walk my dog or garden. They are convenient and you don’t need to reapply sunscreen when you wear gloves.
- Wear rubber gloves when you are working with harsh chemicals and cleaners. Exposure to harsh chemicals will strip skin lipids and damage skin protein resulting in dryness and eczema (irritant hand dermatitis). Protect your hands by wearing rubber gloves.
- Intense Pulsed Light Treatments are like a laser treatment that can be done by your dermatologist. They fight dark spots due to freckles on your hands.
You could also make a homemade remedy for crinkled and dry hands
Create a DIY natural hand mask by blending the best natural ingredients like shea butter, avocado oil, coconut oil with a few drops of sea buckthorn oil. Soak your hands in warm water for 5 minutes or take a shower or bath. Generously apply your mask and top with cotton gloves. Leave it in place for at least 30 minutes. This treatment absorbs quickly but can be a little messy compared with the night cream hand treatments I described above.
Testimonials for Dermatologist Dr. Bailey's Anti-Aging Hand Skin Care:
The foaming hand cleanser combined with the hand cream both help to keep my hands soft and smooth. Joan
“I love your Dry Skin Hand Cream. I substituted some other stuff (like Nivea, Bert’s Bees etc.) but it didn’t work as well. I’ve turned other people on to it.” Paula M, 10/09
“When I visited (my daughter) she tried your Dry Skin Hand Cream and said ‘mom this is better than anything I’ve ever tried including prescriptions like Halog.’” Georgia H,
The hand cream is amazing! My hands looked 10 years younger when I was using it every night after just 2 weeks. Even right after I put it on, they look younger. You know, it also doesn’t seem to wash off. When I ran out, my hands were chapped and the skin actually started hurting again. Marian M, CA
The Hand Cream is the best I have ever used and the cotton gloves provide the overnight coverage needed to allow the cream to thoroughly saturate my skin. JG
Love the bag balm for nails that split. It’s in a cute container and I bought a few extras to give to friends as a party favor. Judy H
I have been using your dry hand Rx products, anti-aging with Glycolic Acid skincare products for about 2 months now. I have to say the results are amazing. LOVE LOVE your products. P.N
(The Glycolic Acid) really works for age spots. I’ve used it for 2 weeks, not every day. I put it on one of my hands (as a test) and that one has less age spots now than the other.” RAM
I have only been using (the Glycolic Acid Body Lotion) for a week yet I can see and feel visible results already. My skin is softer, less blotchy, and the age spots are lightening. Suzanne
(The Glycolic Acid Body Lotion) honestly does miracles to smooth, hydrate and (cue the heavenly music) tighten crepey skin. I saw 100%+ improvement in my skin in just a matter of weeks. THAT's the miracle I was looking for. I would recommend using the Salux cloth in the shower beforehand because exfoliating helps the product absorb into the skin and do its job. Lori
I’m using your Sheer Strength Pure Physical Spray SPF 50+ Sunscreen and I love it. It is easy to apply and stays on. Carl
I’m a scientist and I observed how well the (water resistant zinc oxide) sunscreen works. I was on vacation at the beach and put (it) on my hands but a regular sunscreen with SPF 50 everywhere else. You can see where the (zinc oxide sunscreen) ended because beyond that I’m tan and my age spots are darker. (The zinc oxide sunscreen) works so much better. Cynthia H
Roberts WE, Colvan L, Gotz V. Topical Treatment of Aging Hands: Brief Report. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2017;10(8):37‐41.
Eli Carmeli, Hagar Patish, Raymond Coleman, The Aging Hand, The Journals of Gerontology: Series A, Volume 58, Issue 2, February 2003, Pages M146–M152,
Kafi R, Kwak HSR, Schumacher WE, et al. Improvement of Naturally Aged Skin With Vitamin A (Retinol). Arch Dermatol. 2007;143(5):606–612. doi:10.1001/archderm.143.5.606
M.C.B. Hughes, G.M. Williams, P. Baker, A.C. Green, Sunscreen and Prevention of Skin Aging. A Randomized Trial.” Annals of Internal Medicine. June 2013;158:781-790
Reza Kafi, MD; Heh Shin R. Kwak, MD, Improvement of Naturally Aged Skin With Vitamin A (Retinol), , Arch Dermatol. 2007;143:606-612
Kikuchi K, Suetake T, Kumasaka N, Tagami H, Improvement of photoaged facial skin in middle-aged Japanese females by topical retinol (vitamin A alcohol): a vehicle-controlled, double-blind study. J Dermatolog Treat. 2009;20(5):276-81
Sachs, DL, Choosing Topical Retinoids for Aging Skin, Dermatology Focus, Summer 2013 Vol 32 No 2 page 4
Sewon Kang, Elizabeth A. Duell, et. al., Application of Retinol to Human Skin In Vivo Induces Epidermal Hyperplasia and Cellular Retinoid Binding Proteins Characteristic of Retinoic Acid but Without Measurable Retinoic Acid Levels or Irritation, J Invest Dermatol 105:549-556, 1995
James Varani, Roscoe L Warner, Mehrnaz Gharaee-Kermani, et. al., Vitamin A Antagonizes Decreased Cell Growth and Elevated Collagen-Degrading Matrix Metalloproteinases and Stimulates Collagen Accumulation in Naturally Aged Human Skin, J Invest Dermatol (2000) 114, 480–486;
Weiss JS, Ellis CN, et. al., Topical Tretinoin for Photoaged Skin: a Double-blind Vehicle-controlled Study, JAMA. 1988, 259: 527-532
Kang S, Leyden JJ, Lowe NJ, et al., Tazarotene Cream for the Treatment of Facial Photo Damage: a Multicenter, Investigator-Masked, Randomized, Vehicle-Controlled, Parallel Comparison of Tazarotene 0.01%, 0.025%, 0.05%, and 0.1% Creams and Tretinoin 0.05% Emollient Cream Applied Once-Daily for 24 Weeks. Arch Dermatol. 2001;137:1597-1604.
Gary J. Fisher, PhD; Sewon Kang, MD; et. al., Mechanisms of Photoaging and Chronological Skin Aging, Arch Dermatol. 2002;138(11):1462-1470
Bernstein, EF, et. al. (including Van Scott, E), Glycolic Acid Treatment Increases Type 1 Collagen mRNA and Hyaluronic Acid Content of Human Skin, Dermatologic Surgery 2001;27:429-433
Ditre CM et. al. (including Van Scott, E), Effects of alpha-hydroxy acids on photoaged skin; A pilot clinical, histologic, and ultrastructural study, Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 1996;34:187-195
Philipp Babilas, Ulrich Knie, Christoph Abels, Cosmetic and dermatologic use of alpha hydroxyacids, JDDG; 2012 10:488–491
Sheldon R. Pinnell, MD, Doren L. Madey, PhD, New and Improved Daily Photoprotection: Microfine Oxide (Z-Cote®), Aesthetic Surgery Journal, Volume 19, Issue 3, May 1999, Pages 260–263,