old hands

No matter how much attention you're paying to facial wrinkles, you may be revealing your age in a much less obvious way.

Every time you reach out to shake someone's hand, they can see the age spots, wrinkles and veins that have appeared over time. (Think about Madonna and Sarah Jessica Parker's rough hands in comparison to their physiques and wrinkle-free faces.) Luckily, hand lifts and other procedures designed to turn back the hands of time (pun intended) can help you keep everyone you meet guessing.

According to Dr. Robert Sleightholm, B.Sc, MD, FRCSC, (www.bramptoncosmetic.com) hand rejuvenation is becoming more common. Here, Dr. Sleightholm tells us what causes our hands to age and how we can address these concerns.

Uneven Skintone

"Sun exposure over the years results in hyperpigmentation (leading to brown spots), loss of elasticity (causing wrinkling) and thinning, causing the skin to become more translucent and reveal the veins, tendons and bone of the hand," says Dr. Sleightholm. "Intense Pulsed Light can reduce pigmentation, and Fraxel (laser) can lighten hyperpigmentation and tighten skin." Dr. Sleightholm stresses that continued sun protection is important. Cost (varies on the severity and number of procedures): $250-$350 per treatment.

Volume Loss

"With age, subcutaneous tissue decreases, exposing the veins, tendons and bones on the hands," says Dr. Sleightholm. "Fillers, such as fat and hyaluronic acid, can be injected into the subcutaneous layer to conceal this." Cost: $400-500 per syringe. Results can last up to a year and may be repeated to maintain the result.

Deformities

"Deformities due to arthritis can be corrected by Arthrodesis (joint fusion), which will improve the alignment," says Dr. Sleightholm. Arthrodesis involves two bones on the end of a joint being fused together (either with another piece of bone or metal plates, screws, or wires) thereby eliminating the joint. While this will mean a loss of flexibility it can improve stability and end arthritis related pain. It is usually covered by provicincial health care.