The skin on our hands reveals telltale signs of aging just as much as our facial skin. However, hand rejuvenation treatments can provide a youthful appearance for the hands using the same skin care procedures designed to enhance the face. Laser skin resurfacing reduces liver spots while filler injections add volume to the treatment area. From chemical peels to fat transfers for the hands, there are plenty of cosmetic procedures to improve the aesthetics of the hands.
Treatments for Thin, Wrinkled, Veiny, and Spotted Hands
A person’s age can often be revealed by viewing the condition of the skin on the backs of their hands and fingers. Via the aging process, hands might transform from having firm and plump skin to ones that appear marred by large visible hand veins, brown spots, and thinner skin. Brown liver spots can be the result of too much sun exposure while the loss of fatty tissue can happen naturally over time.
According to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, since the skin atop the hands gets as much sun exposure as other prominent areas, the same kinds of wrinkles and pigmentation issues - such as age spots - can appear. Yet there are several treatment options that plastic surgeons employ to improve the appearance of skin tone, sun spots, excess skin, or lost volume in the hands.
Dermal Fillers Temporary fillers can be injected in places other than the face, which may also have experienced volume loss - including the hands, neck, and décolleté. Brigham and Women's Hospital notes that several soft tissue injectable fillers can restore volume to the back of the hands, including Juvéderm, Radiesse, and Restylane.
Fat Transfers Fat grafting can represent a more permanent hand rejuvenation procedure when fat from other parts of the body are transferred into the hands in order to add fuller contours to the area. Even fingers can be rejuvenated with injections up to the knuckle area to add volume.
Tommaso Agostini, M.D. spoke with Cosmetic Surgery Times about including fingers in the process of hand rejuvenation through fat grafting. Because a person's fingers represent about half of the hands' length, according to Dr. Agostini, they shouldn't be neglected when it comes to procedures such as fat transfers for the hands. The physician's case study included 22 women who were pleased with their hand fat grafting procedures.
Laser Skin Resurfacing Laser therapy options often include ablative fractional resurfacing lasers and intense pulsed light (IPL) in order to remove outer layers of skin that have been damaged by sun exposure or premature photoaging from other UV sources. Brown spots and wrinkles on the hands can be improved via laser treatments. Heat generated in deep tissues from laser resurfacing also stimulates collagen and elastin production for plumper skin as well.
Sclerotherapy or Vein Removal Hand veins can be lightened or eliminated with procedures such as sclerotherapy, whereby a foam solution is injected into a blood vessel, forcing the blood to travel away from unsightly spider veins and onto healthier routes, diminishing their appearance. A phlebectomy, meanwhile, is the actual removal of large hand veins, permanently eliminating unsightly bulges.
Microdermabrasion and Chemical Peels According to WebMD, chemical peels employ various solutions to chemically slough off top superficial layers of skin in order to reveal fresher skin underneath - and can be used to treat dark spots on the hands along with other parts of the body. Microdermabrasion involves using a hand-held device to physically abrade dead layers of skin, and can help improve the appearance of hyperpigmented hands.
Skin Excision According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, hand enhancements can also include surgery to excise excess skin that is loose on the hands.
Hand Rejuvenation Cost
The cost of your hand rejuvenation treatment is largely dependent on the type of procedure selected to improve the appearance of the hands. Many medical facilities offer combined procedures to help address various issues with the hands all at once for one price. According to board-certified plastic surgeon Gregory A. Buford, MD, FACS, it costs between $1,000 to $3,000 for patients to undergo a combination of treatments for the hands, including dermal fillers, laser treatments, and IPL therapy.
The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery notes that a different plastic surgeons charge approximately $1,200 for injectable fillers such as Restylane (Perlane), Radiesse, or Juvederm - which can be combined with intense pulsed light and Fraxel laser resurfacing treatments to get rid of sun spots.
Overall, hand rejuvenation treatments may cost up to $5,000 for fillers and laser procedures, if they are combined. While chemical peels alone are a less expensive option, they don't address problems such as prominent veins, with the hand phlebectomy procedure priced around $3,000.
Ideal Candidates & Contraindications
Any non-smoking individuals in good health who would like their hands to appear more youthful might be good candidates for hand rejuvenation. Candidates may be experiencing troubling hand issues such as:
- Thin skin on hands
- Age spots
- Wrinkled hands
- Veiny hands
However, hand rejuvenation is not recommended for the following patients:
- People who smoke and are unwilling to quit
- Individuals with unrealistic goals about the outcome
- Those with severe allergies to dermal fillers (fat transfers can be an alternative option)
- Anyone with a history of anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women
- Those with bleeding disorders
Hand Rejuvenation Recovery
Hand enhancement procedures are generally performed on an outpatient basis, and might be accompanied by short recovery time, based on the treatment. Recovery time may be longer if multiple procedures were done simultaneously. Discuss recovery time expectations with your plastic surgeon prior to the procedure to learn how soon you can expect to return to normal activities.
Directly after hand surgery, expect swelling, bruising, and potential stiffness. Fat transfer surgery may require the use of compression garments on the fat donor area during recovery. After the initial 14 days after surgery, post-surgery conditions should improve as the hands take on a more youthful appearance.
Before and Aftercare
Prior to your hand rejuvenation procedure, your initial consultation should provide you with answers to all of your questions about preparing for your treatment, and how to experience the best aftercare. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, your ability to withstand the treatment should be discerned via physical assessments and medical history gathering before your procedure.
Certain laser treatments or chemical peels may require the application of special creams in the weeks prior to the procedure. Also, patients will be asked to quit smoking and to refrain from taking aspirin, supplements, and anti-inflammatory drugs prior to the surgery to prevent excess bleeding.
Aftercare for hand rejuvenation is also dependent upon the type of treatment received. Dermal filler injections may not require the same special recovery considerations as other forms of hand enhancements, such as surgical procedures for the hands that require patients to arrange for transportation home after surgery and help at home during the first 24 hours of recuperation.
Pros & Cons of Hand Rejuvenation
The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery points to several advantages and disadvantages of hand enhancements:
- There are plenty of cosmetic choices available to enhance the hands
- Various treatments can cause hand veins to look much less noticeable
- Hands can be enhanced to look younger, plumper, and fuller with a smoother appearance free of liver spots
- It may require several treatments in order to receive optimal results
- The recovery period may involve swelling, stiffness, bruising, and discomfort, which can hamper the usage of the hands for a period of time
- Individuals with excess sun exposure or conditions such as diabetes that may cause slow healing may not receive as dramatic and long-lasting results
The side effects of hand rejuvenation can include the same risks as any other surgical procedure, including bad anesthesia reactions, bleeding, scarring, and infections. There is also the possibility of undesirable hand enhancement results that require more procedures to gain satisfactory results. Discuss with your surgeon which hand rejuvenation procedure is best for your individual needs for best results. During your consultation, determine best before and aftercare processes to avoid unwanted side effects.
People who are bothered by the appearance of their hands have lots of options to enhance them. There are a number of treatment options for those who desire rejuvenated hands with choices such as hyaluronic acid fillers, fat transfer procedures, chemical peels, intense pulsed light laser therapy, and surgical treatments to remove hand veins.
Begin your hand enhancement journey by searching for board-certified plastic surgeons with experience in correcting the specific problems you’re experiencing - such as thin bony hands with large hand veins, brown spots, or excess skin on the hands. The time spent researching the best medical providers to perform optimal hand enhancements will be well worth the outcome.
List of Sources
- BRIGHAM AND WOMEN'S HOSPITAL
- Hand rejuvenation: a review and our experience
- Cedars-Sinai: Hand Rejuvenation
- U.S. National Library of Medicine's National Institutes of Health - Dermal Fillers: Tips to Achieve Successful Outcomes
- Addressing volume loss in hand rejuvenation: a report of clinical experience.
- WebMD: Laser Resurfacing
- The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) - When 60 is the new 50, hand rejuvenation is the finishing touch
- Modern Medicine Network: Hand rejuvenation? Don't neglect the fingers
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration: Dermal Fillers (Soft Tissue Fillers)
- Fractional photothermolysis for photoaging of hands.
- Mayo Clinic: Sclerotherapy
- University of California San Francisco: Ablative Laser Resurfacing
- Rejuvenate your hands by fixing bulging veins
- The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery: Hand Rejuvenation - Also known as hand enhancement