Handtastic

The Mail on Sunday (London, England), September 23, 2007 | Go to article overview

Handtastic


Byline: ANGELA EPSTEIN

It doesn't matter how hard we work to maintain our shape and preserveour face neglected hands quickly give our age away. 'Hands are difficult tohide and easy to neglect, which is why they can age so rapidly,'says plasticsurgeon Charles Nduka, of the BMI McIndoe Surgical Centre in East Grinstead,West Sussex.

'Exposure to the elements and everyday chemicals, as well as vigorous exerciseand weight-loss regimes, can all take their toll. Skin becomes thinner and lesselastic leading to wrinkles and prominent veins.' The problem affects womenparticularly, since men tend to have thicker skin and their hairy hands offergreater protection.

However, it is no longer necessary to live with battle-worn hands.An increasing number of rejuvenation procedures are available which halt theproblems of ageing hands and so hold back the hands of time.How cosmetic surgery could help stop overworked hands giving away your age

CHEMICAL PEELS

It is possible to reduce or even remove fine wrinkles on the hands with achemical peel. The treatment causes the skin to shed its upper,damaged layer toreveal the underlying layer which is more uniform in colour, smoother intexture and less wrinkled. Scars and blemishes may also be reduced with thismethod.

Chemical peels are carried out under local anaesthetic, after which a chemicalsolution called trichloroacetic acid (TCA) is applied to the parts of the handsbeing treated.

Over subsequent days the skin becomesredandcrustyand within two weeks it will crack away to reveal the new layer underneath.Peels take about 30 minutes and afterwards the patient may need to wear glovesto protect the hands, particularly from sunlight.

Prices start at about [pounds sterling]150 for a small area.

LASERS

Years of failing to use sunblock on hands, together with the general ageingprocess, can result in unsightly brown marks known as age or liver spotsappearing on the surface of the skin.

However, these can be removed with laser treatment, which uses intense lightpulsed through the skin to disperse the concentration of melanin - the pigmentthat gives the spots their colour.

According to David Gault, a plastic surgeon at the Lister Hospital in London,lasers with a green light are most effective at absorbing melanocites - thecells which produce melanin.

'The procedure feels like an elastic band snapping against the skin. The agespot will darken further after treatment and then within a couple of days thepigment peels off,' he says.

Lasers can also be used to destroy warts by starving them of their bloodsupply, and spider veins can be removed this way.

A laser technique, known as plasma skin resurfacing, is now being used on handsto improve skin texture and tone and reduce the appearance of fine lines.Prices start at about [pounds sterling]155 but the total cost will depend on the length oftreatment.

LIPOSTRUCTURE

As we get older the amount of soft tissue in the hands declines, making thesurface of the skin appear grooved and sunken. …

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