The following article originally appeared on aedit.com and was written by India Bottomley.
Hand rejuvenation often requires a combination of different treatments to achieve the best results. We spoke to Dr. Gregory Buford to find out what the best treatments are.
Cosmetic procedures are now widely adopted to reverse signs of aging on a variety of areas of the body and increasing numbers of patients are seeking treatment to give their hands a youthful makeover so they can match the rest of their appearance. Hand rejuvenation often requires a combination of different treatments to achieve the best results, including treating dark spots on the skin, as well as addressing a loss of volume with either fillers or fat transfer, and bulging veins. Most rejuvenation procedures are minimally invasive and allow for excellent results that can have a drastic effect on patients’ confidence.
What Is Hand Rejuvenation?
Hand rejuvenation is a term used to cover a variety of treatments used to treat signs of aging specifically on hands. There are a number of visible signs that can develop on people’s hands as they age, from dark age spots to loss of elasticity in the skin. Previously overlooked by patients and cosmetic practitioners alike, hand treatments are becoming more popular as people understand that anti-aging treatments should take a full-body approach. Board-certified plastic surgeon Gregory Buford, MD says that “patients now commonly combine face, neck, and chest procedures, whereas in the early days of plastic surgery people would treat only the face. But if you start treating isolated areas, untreated areas become noticeable.”
Hand rejuvenation treatments can come in many forms including:
- Fat transfer to improve volume in the area
- Fillers to give back volume to the area
- Laser ablation to reduce the visibility of small blood vessels
- Chemical peels to improve the texture of the skin
- Laser skin treatment to encourage natural regrowth of youthful-looking skin
- IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) therapy to treat dark spots
During your consultation, your practitioner will discuss the results you are expecting and will advise on what you can realistically expect the outcome to look like. They will suggest which treatments are best suited to you and your budget before setting out a schedule for each of the procedures. “I usually combine multiple modalities to treat both textural complaints such as brown spots and the loss of structural integrity that comes with age,” says Dr. Buford. While some treatments can be combined in one session, others will need to take place over several appointments. Most of the treatment options for hand rejuvenation are minimally invasive and require little downtime.
How Do The Treatments Work?
Fat transfers use fat from the patient’s own body. Fat cells are removed from a donor area, usually the stomach or the thighs, using a small needle. It is processed and cleaned, then injected into the hands (or other areas of the body). Fat cells have a high re-absorption rate, which means that some of the volume gained from the procedure will be lost as the body processes the re-injected fat. Your practitioner will likely need to overfill the area at first to account for this inevitable loss in volume.
According to the American Society of Dermatologic Surgery, fat grafting carries a lower risk of infection and delivers long-lasting, natural looking results. It is usually carried out under local anesthesia. It takes around an hour to complete the whole process, from cell collection to re-injection, and can be done in-office. Patients may experience swelling and bruising after the procedure, which lasts for about a week. On average, fat transfer costs about $2,000, depending on the areas being treated, and some patients may desire additional procedures to maintain results in the future.
Dermal fillers have been used to smooth out wrinkles on the face for a number of years, but they have recently been FDA-approved to be used on hands, too. Popular filer choices for hand rejuvenation are Voluma® and Radiesse®, which is particularly popular because, not only does it act as a filler, but it also encourages the production of collagen. When using a dermal filler, a doctor will typically “dilute them to help the product glide easily and use a few injection points,” says Dr. Buford. “Patients are given exercises to do with their hands to help distribute the filler evenly.”
Dermal fillers deliver predictable, immediate results and are suitable for patients of all complexions. Additionally, fillers do not require any anesthesia, but a topical numbing cream may be used to limit the discomfort caused by the injections themselves. It is not uncommon for patients to experience some swelling or small bruises at the injection site, which typically resolves itself in a short period of time. Since dermal fillers are temporary, patients should expect to get them every year or so. Pricing for dermal fillers in the hands averages at $660 per syringe used.
Bulging veins on the hands are usually not a cause for medical concern, but they do make some people feel self-conscious. Age-related visible veins can be treated with laser ablation, the same kind used for varicose veins on legs. This treatment as a high success rate and can help minimize the need for more invasive surgery down the road.
Your dermatologist or plastic surgeon will asses which veins to treat during the initial consultation. The actual procedure is typically done in-office under local anesthesia. The practitioner will insert a diode laser system into the veins which cauterizes them and reduces visibility over time. After the procedure, the area will be bandaged and there may be some slight bleeding and minor swelling (that will last up to 10 days). Risks are minimal but can include infection and damage to surrounding blood vessels. The average cost for treatment is $2,000 which varies depending on the number of veins being treated.
Just like on your face, chemical peels offer a practical solution to remove older damaged skin and encourage the growth of more youthful and rejuvenated skin. Chemical peel treatments also reduce the appearance of dark spots, pigmentation caused by sun damage, and some forms of scarring. Peels are quick, can be customized based on your individual needs and can be repeated to achieve best results.
Chemical peels should be applied by a board certified dermatologist or cosmetic surgeon and, depending on the strength of the peel, you may receive local anesthesia to ensure the procedure is painless. The practitioner will apply a solution to the treatment area and will leave it in place for a set amount of time depending on the type of peel and your skin type. When the time is up, it will be neutralized, either with water or petroleum jelly. Over a few days, skin will begin to peel off to reveal new skin beneath. This newly exposed layer of skin will be sensitive in the beginning and you will need to follow aftercare instructions to ensure it is protected. Redness and skin sensitivity can be expected following a chemical peel treatment, but these effects should subside over a few days. Results last for a varying amount of time and your practitioner will discuss how often you should consider having another chemical peel to maintain the best results. The average cost of a chemical peel is $400, but this varies depending on the product used and the area being treated.
IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) & Laser Skin Resurfacing
Dark spots develop as the skin is exposed to sunlight and can be treated with a range of light therapies. IPL can treat unwanted dark spots but is not as focused as other options. Lasers, on the other hand, allow for the practitioner to be very precise in targeting certain areas and could be more appropriate for smaller treatment areas. During your initial consult, your board certified dermatologist or cosmetic surgeon will be able to advise on the best options for you.
Depending on the type of pigmentation being treated, your practitioner will also prescribe a number of sessions that will usually take place once a month. It can take up to two to three weeks for the dark spots to begin to fade. The main risk of IPL or laser treatments is damage to surrounding tissue, which your practitioner will also discuss with you during your consultation. Treatments cost around $200 – $300 per session, depending on the area being treated and the type of machine being used.