Best Hand Creams for Aging Hands

July 12, 2022

What makes a “good” hand cream for aging hands and beyond? If you ask us, we used to choose one based on how it smells or how it feels…and while that’s v important, it’s not exactly ensuring that we’re getting the most effective hand cream. But what makes an effective hand cream? Depends on your goals—let’s chat. 

a close up of a woman applying lotion to her hands

By: Emily Barth Isler + Nicolle Mackinnon

IN THIS POST: 

So what makes a hand cream effective? For Emily, it would be nice if it made her hands look like they belong to her, a 40-something person, and not to her 80-year-old neighbor (who is lovely, but their hands are scarily similar, and she’d like to address that!). Plus, handshakes are coming back in our post-lockdown world, and if you, like Emily, talk with your hands all the time, they are almost as much a part of your look as your face is!

For Nicolle, she needs halp when it comes to dryness. She a) lives in a cold climate most of the year, and b) she’s a bit of a germaphobe, so she’s constantly washing her hands (even pre-pandemic). Plus, she canNOT stand to have any greasiness on her palms.

So here’s what we are keeping an eye out for when it come to efficacy:

  • Moisturizes without having to apply 10x / day (like, doesn’t evaporate as soon as you apply nor does it leave hands feeling drier)
  • But, isn’t greasy, AKA it absorbs fast enough that you can open a doorknob shortly after applying
  • Has active ingredients that help treat uneven skin tone, age spots and other signs of aging
  • Has healthy ingredients overall
  • Doesn’t leak all over whatever bag you toss it into
  • Smells good (yeah, this is IMPORTANT)
  • Uses responsible packaging

All of the below recs hit the marks above, but what we want to zoom in on today is their effectiveness, and give you some touch points for what to look for when choosing a hand cream.

RELATED: The best body lotions + how to choose a natural option.


Why do I need a hand cream for aging hands?

Short answer: You don’t. No one “needs” an anti-aging hand cream. But if you want one, we got you.

Long answer: Our hands are often left out of the beauty convo, and they tend to show signs of aging in the same way our complexion does (Emily: “I mean, my hands have looked 60 since I was 30, and it’s only getting worse”)—which is interesting when hand appearance has been shown to impact perceived age (1).

But why do hands seem to age faster than other parts of the body? 

The skin on our hands is thinner than skin elsewhere, which can result in tendons and hand bones becoming more prominent as we age. Thinner skin can also showcase wrinkling, skin discoloration/unevenness, rough texture and more (1). Plus excessive and even regular hand washing can accelerate the aging process by drying out skin. (Cough, Nicolle, cough.)

The takeaway? If you are concerned about aging hands, treat your hands the way you treat your face—frequent moisturizer, regular cleansing and, yup, sunscreen regardless of the weather.

RELATED: An easy anti-aging skincare routine you can replicate now.


a close up of a woman's hands as she applies lotion to her hands

Ingredients to look for in hand creams

We like to look for a natural or organic hand cream that delivers skin benefits on top of the obvious we-need-moisture request. This could be hyaluronic acid to increase skin hydration (2), anti-inflammatory jojoba, essential magnesium (3) or even wrinkle-reducing bakuchiol (4), for example. 


Ingredients to consider in hand creams

Per ush, there are also ingredients to consider in hand creams. Here are some of the ones that come up the most when shopping for the anti-aging hand creams. 

  • Synthetic fragrances listed as fragrance or perfume. 
  • Questionable preservatives like chlorphenesin (5), parabens (6) and unregulated phenoxyethanol (7).
  • 1,4-dioxane and ethylene oxide, listed on labels as PEGs, SLS, SLES, Ceteareth-20 and polysorbates. Adding carcinogens 1,4-dioxane (8) and ethylene oxide (9) to fatty alcohols turns them into emulsifiers or surfactants. Since these carcinogens readily absorb into the body through the skin, Canada, Qatar and NY State have banned cosmetics containing them (10) in ingredients like Laureth-23, SLS and Polysorbate 80.
  • Mineral oil, typically listed as petrolatum or paraffin. Fatty acids from petroleum are absorbed through the skin, stored in our adipose tissue, not metabolized and not excreted. Mineral oil snuck into food and cosmetics has led to mineral oil being the largest contaminant in human tissue (11).

Check out the NO THANKS list for more ingredients to be mindful of in any skincare / bodycare.


The best hand creams

The team tried so many hand creams for aging hands and beyond to bring you this highly curated list of recommendations. Sure it would be easy to cultivate a list of 25 clean hand creams to try, but that doesn’t help anyone. So instead, we weeded through all of that via vetting ingredients, testing and retesting and have come out with these tippity top picks. If you’re looking for a hand cream, know that these are top of the line and hit ALL our effectiveness criteria.



a screenshot of an exchange between Lisa of this organic girl and a reader about pai heavy mettle body calm rescue hand cream



Hand cream FAQs

Why do I need a hand cream for aging hands?

If you are concerned about aging hands, treat your hands the way you treat your face—frequent moisturizer, regular cleansing, and, yup, sunscreen regardless of the weather. Our top picks for hand creams are listed here.

What ingredients should I look for in hand creams?

I like to look for a natural or organic hand cream that delivers some sort of skin benefit. This could be hyaluronic acid to increase skin hydration, anti-inflammatory jojoba, essential magnesium or even wrinkle-reducing bakuchiol, for example. Learn more here.

What ingredients should I consider in hand creams?

Check out the NO THANKS list for more ingredients to be mindful of in any skincare / bodycare.

What is the best natural hand cream?

The team tried so many hand creams for aging hands and beyond to bring you this highly curated list of recommendations. Sure it would be easy to cultivate a list of 25 clean hand creams to try, but that doesn’t help anyone. So instead, we weeded through all of that via vetting ingredients, testing and retesting and have come out with these tippity top picks. If you’re looking for a hand cream, know that these are top of the line and hit ALL our effectiveness criteria. See our list here.


What is your favorite hand lotion or cream?

TOG Team Note: This article contains affiliate links. TOG uses affiliate links as a source for revenue to fund operations of the business and to be less dependent on branded content. TOG stands behind all product recommendations. Still have questions about these links or our process? Feel free to email us.


REFERENCES:

1. Topical Treatment of Aging Hands: Brief Report; The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology 2017 Aug 1

2. Jegasothy, S. Manjula, MD; Zabolotniaia, Valentina, MD; Bielfeldt, Stephan; Efficacy of a New Topical Nano-hyaluronic Acid in Humans; March 2014

3. National Institute of Health; Office of Dietery Supplements; Magnesium, March 2020

4. Dhaliwal, S; Rybak, I; Ellis, S R; Notay, M; Trivedi, M; Burney, W; Vaughn, A R; Nguyen, M; Reiter, P; Bosanac, S; Yan, H; Foolad, N; Sivamani, R K; Prospective, randomized, double-blind assessment of topical bakuchiol and retinol for facial photoageing; February 2019

5. Wang, Jingyi; Liu, Yang; Kam, Wendy; Li, Ying; Sullivan, David A.; Toxicity of the cosmetic preservatives parabens, phenoxyethanol and chlorphenesin on human meibomian gland epithelial cells; 25 September 2019

6. Pan, Shawn; Yuan, Chaoshen; Tagmount, Abderrahmane; Rudel, Ruthann A.; Ackerman, Janet M.; Yaswen, Paul; Vulpe, Chris D.; Leitman, Dale C.L; Parabens and Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Ligand Cross-Talk in Breast Cancer Cells; May 2016

7. D’Souza, Ryan S.; Warner, Nafisseh; Phenol Nerve Block; Mayo Clinic, updated in September 2020

8. California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment; 1,4 Dioxane, August 2015

9. California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment; Ethylene Oxide, July 1st, 1987

10. Begum, Ghausia; Mohamed, Ikram; Zahoor, Humaira; Gomaa, Rania; International Journal of Recent Scientific Research, A Study of Potential Cytotoxic Effect of 1,4 Dioxane on Hepatic Cell Line HEP 10, November 2016

11. Concin, Nicole; Hofstetter, Gerda; Plattner, Barbara; Tomovski, Caroline; Fiselier, Katell; Gerritzen, Kerstin; Fessler, Siegfried; Windbichler, Gudrun; Zeimet, Alain; Ulmer, Hanno; Siegl, Harald; Rieger, Karl; Concin, Hans; Grob, Koni; Mineral oil paraffins in human body fat and milk, August 2007

By Emily Barth Isler

Emily Barth Isler lives in Los Angeles with her husband and their two kids. A former child actress, she performed all over the world in theatre, film and TV. Emily writes about sustainable, eco-friendly beauty and skincare for magazines and websites such as Organic Spa and Allure, and also writes novels for kids and families. Her debut Middle Grade novel, AfterMath, will be published in September 2021 by Carolrhoda/Lerner Books, and she has also written web sitcoms, parenting columns and personal essays. She has a B.A. in Film Studies from Wesleyan University, and really, really loves television. Find her at www.emilybarthisler.com and on Twitter and Instagram at @emilybarthisler.

2 Comments

  1. Reply

    Clare

    I’ve used some of these hand lotions but am excited to try some of the others that I’ve never heard of before! Are there any hand lotions you like with SPF protection? I always want to use something when I’m in my car, but maybe I’ll just continue to use sunscreen?

    1. Reply

      Lisa Fennessy

      Hi Clare! This is such a great question. I connected with Emily and she recommended this one which has 15 SPF! xo, Lisa

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