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Raise Your Hand to Healthy Skin-Hand Care

Posted: August 11th, 2019

When we first think about being safe in the sun, we think about protecting our face and neck. But we should be thinking about our hands too!

Unless gloves are worn all the time, our hands obtain a significant amount of exposure over time. Approximately 90 percent of noticeable skin changes are caused by aging (wrinkles, leathery skin, and brown spots) which is the result of the sun’s damaging (UV) radiation. 

The majority of the non-melanoma skin cancers such as basal and squamous cell carcinomas (BCCs and SCCs) add up to over a million malignancies annually and are mainly produced by UV exposure. Research has shown that actinic keratosis (the most common skin pre-cancer) and squamous cell carcinoma are the most frequently diagnosed lesions of the hands. 

Most people think that moisturizing their hands is taking care of them because the hands can be susceptible to dryness due to a small amount of oil glands and the thinness of the skin. Hand washing worsens the dryness. Moisturizers may relieve the dryness but it does not protect the hands from UV damage from the sun. It is better to use a sunscreen lotion that has moisturizers and a SPF of 30 or higher with UV blocking ingredients. 

A sunscreen that contains moisturizing emollients such as lanolin will coat the skin creating a smooth feeling and humectants like glycerin will add moisture and promotehydration of the skin. A few sunscreens contain anti-aging ingredients such as lactic acid (AHA or alpha hydroxyl acid) and antioxidants such as Vitamin C or E. 

When applying sunscreen it is important to use an adequate amount that will cover the whole surface of your hands. Remember to put some under the nail plate because this area is susceptible to melanoma and squamous cell carcinoma. Frequently reapplying is important especially after washing. These tips and preventive measures will keep your hands healthy and looking great. 

Sources: American Academy of Dermatology & The Skin Cancer Foundation