The Aged Hand
What does an ageing hand look like?
The hand is constantly exposed to environmental factors which can accelerate the ageing process. The ageing process must be understood if hand rejuvenation is to be optimally targeted.
Hand ageing is a three-dimensional process involving bone and subcutaneous tissues as well as the skin. The dermis in the skin becomes thinner. Loss of dermal thickness and atrophy of the subcutaneous tissues makes the veins more prominent, tortuous and blue in colour. Age spots become more common, as do pigmentation irregularities. The tendons become more obvious, even at rest. The fibres of the tendons may become visible. The skin becomes thin and wrinkled with reduced elasticity. The muscles become more wasted, leading to hollowing of the hand and a more prominent appearance of the joints. Arthritic nodules can further emphasise the prominence of the joints.
What does a youthful hand look like?
The healthy, youthful hand has a subcutaneous fullness with soft skin and no wrinkles except for flexion creases over the finger joints. Veins may be visible, especially in slender and athletic individuals, but their blue colour is subtle. Tendons are often visible, particularly when the fingers are extended, but subtly so. Fullness of the skin and tissues creates volume, so the hand does not look bony.