For the past few years, I’ve been obsessing over my sunspots—one in particular, partway up, on the top of my right hand. Despite my daily devotion to spot correctors, Harriett (yes, I named it) continued to grow in diameter and darkness. Then she spawned an evil twin, Hedwig.
Tired of these constant reminders of my sun-worshipping youth, I realized that the time had come for a new plan: The twins had to go. That’s how I found myself sitting in Dr. Stephen Mulholland’s Toronto clinic, SpaMedica, discussing my, as he called it, “mild case of early old-lady hands.”
I wasn’t upset by his diagnosis. I mean, I basically concurred. What I wanted to know was, Did I have options? Plenty, and they are all “south of the scalpel,” he confirmed, laying out potential treatment plans while explaining how I wound up with these mitts.
“With time, we all end up with what I call the ‘3D age effect,’” he said. “Our skin deflates, descends and deteriorates.” On our hands, that translates to thin and veiny skin that is dotted with spots, more formally known as lentigo.
For mild spots, intense pulsed light (IPL) therapy would probably take care of them. But for more stubborn spots like mine, Dr. Mulholland suggested a few rounds with a PicoSure laser.
“Pico uses powerful short-pulse lasers to reach deep below the surface of the skin and blast away brown spots,” he said. “The laser energy breaks up dark spots into tiny particles that can be naturally eliminated from the body through the immune system. Treatments can remove dark spots on the face, neck, chest, hands, arms and legs without harming the surrounding skin.” Pico is the same treatment used for tattoo removal, so, yeah, it’s a powerhouse.
Dr. Mulholland also suggested adding Juvéderm Voluma to the tops of my hands to naturally plump the skin while smoothing out the veins and tendons that have become more prominent with age. “We can take 10 years off in 30 minutes,” he said.
Well, OK, then, what are we waiting for?
Dear readers, this is the part of the story where I tell you that there is pain involved. Thank goodness for laughing gas (nitrous oxide), which allows you to float above the moment, as it were.
True to his word, the whole thing only took a few minutes, but I had to hide my hands from public view for a few weeks, so you need to prepare for that.
But, oh my. The results are lovely. All my veins receded, all my spots faded. Well, Harriett lingered, but only as a shadow of her formal self. A couple of additional Pico zaps finally put an end to her dotty ways. RIP Harriett.
As for me, I’m glad to finally have hands that look as young as I feel.
High Five for Maintenance
I’m determined to keep my hands looking soft, bright and protected. That means using a broad-spectrum SPF everyday in addition to a few other products.
1. Every morning: Moisturize. I love Weleda Skin Food Original Ultra-Rich Cream, $19, for its combination of sweet almond oil, chamomile, pansy and rosemary extracts.
2. Every night: I apply a layer of Universkin P, $199, a potent serum that’s been custom formulated to target any new spots with ingredients including kojic acid and arbutin.
3. Every week: Exfoliate. I double down on exfoliating. First, I apply a polishing scrub. I like Dermalogica Multivitamin Thermafoliant, $82, because it refines and enhances skin. I follow this with This Works Morning Expert Multi-Acid Pads, $50, which help stimulate cell renewal as well as brighten skin thanks to vitamin B3.
Next, check out these tricks for younger-looking hands.