After all, our hands have thin, elastic skin, so they tend to show signs of aging faster than other areas of the body—including the face. Not to mention, they take a beating on a daily basis from simple activities like washing them diligently and doing the dishes, as well as constant exposure to the elements (think: dry air, cold temperatures, harmful UV rays).
Luckily, there's an abundance of skin-softening, ultra-hydrating hand creams and treatments that can help make your hands look younger—whether you're dealing with dark spots (look for a formula with glycolic acid, vitamin C, or niacinamide), wrinkles (one word: retinol), or dryness (check the ingredients label for ceramides, glycerin, or hyaluronic acid). Even better? Almost all of the best anti-aging hand creams are all available over-the-counter.
Ahead, we've compiled a list of the best hand creams on the market, including a budget-friendly drugstore treatment, an Amazon bestseller, and a luxury cream worth the splurge—all of which you're going to want to give...well, a hand.
This vitamin-enriched formula is a miracle worker when it comes to wrinkles and dryness. "Retinoids are the only ingredients that are scientifically proven to trigger new collagen growth," says Tsippora Shainhouse, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in California. "They help thicken skin and smooth the skin surface, so that it regains its glow, plus exfoliates the dead, drying surface cells, encouraging new, younger ones to rise."
Free radicals that form due to UV and air pollution break down collagen and elastin, leading to lax, thin skin that wrinkles, tears, and bruises easily, says Shainhouse. Yes, this cream is pricey, but it contains highly potent natural collagen to help rebuild your skin's barrier.
Like other areas of our bodies, the best way to protect your hands from premature aging is to apply sunscreen daily, says Erum Ilyas, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in Pennsylvania. This hardworking cream has SPF 40 (much higher than other similar formulas) and contains natural ingredients like sea buckthorn fruit to support collagen production.
If you're concerned about age spots, try this incredibly affordable hand cream. Despite the rock-bottom price, it's highly effective because it contains niacinamide, a form of vitamin B3 that helps brighten dark spots and even the skin complexion, says Joshua Zeichner, MD, the director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital.
"As the skin on the hands and arms age, it becomes thinner and can bruise more easily," says Caroline Chang, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in Rhode Island. This lesser-known drugstore product contains anti-aging retinol to help thicken the skin, as well as arnica and vitamin K to reduce and prevent bruising. It also has ceramides that provide moisture and glycolic acid to slough away dead skin cells.
To allow an anti-aging hand cream to really penetrate skin, apply it right before bed, says Sonia Batra, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and cohost of The Doctors. This cream is super smoothing but absorbs quickly. And because it's formulated without scents or dyes, it's great for sensitive skin, too.
More powerful than other drugstore options, this lightweight ointment contains hyaluronic acid to help restore moisture, says Chang. Still, it isn't overly tacky or sticky, so you can get right back to work—no drying time necessary.
If you love face masks, try this new product. It comes with two gloves filled with a moisturizing formula that helps repair extra-dry skin, leaving hands silky smooth, says Chang. Simply wash your hands, slip on the gloves, and relax for 10 minutes.
Sure, this silky cream will give your hands some well-deserved TLC, thanks to a potent combination of hydrating hemp oil, antioxidant-rich neem oil, vitamin E, and nourishing shea butter. But the real reason we're giving it a round of applause? The clean, fresh fragrance leaves skin with an instantly soothing scent.
This antioxidant-rich formula from J.R. Watkins is the cream of the crop. Even though it's made with a deeply hydrating mix of ingredients (including natural shea and cocoa butters, aloe and green tea extracts, and jojoba and avocado oils) the cream instantly absorbs into the skin—without leaving any trace of greasy residue.
If you apply sunscreen daily (which you definitely do, right...?), your hands probably benefit from some residual SPF coverage. But to make sure you're totally covered, try this hand cream from Unsun Cosmetics. In addition to SPF 15, the chemical-free bodyguard also contains aloe, shea butter, and coconut oil to deeply moisturize.
If your skin is exceptionally dry or you tend to wash your hands a lot, you need a cream with intense hydrating properties. This cream provides just that—without parabens, harsh chemicals, or colorants—but won't leave hands greasy. A rare combination, says Mona Gohara, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in Connecticut.
Soft, supple hands are within reach—with this nourishing cream from Alaffia. The non-greasy formula is packed with high-quality ingredients, like coconut oil, shea and kpagnan butters, and antioxidant-rich reishi mushroom extract, which work together to soothe and deeply moisturize the skin. Added bonus: Proceeds from the brand's sustainable, fair-trade products help fund the Alaffia Foundation, an organization that provides empowerment projects in West Africa.
"Since 90 percent of visible aging is due to sun exposure, one of the best anti-aging hand creams to use is one that has sun protection," says Keira Barr, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and the founder of Resilient Health Institute. This cream contains SPF 15 and is infused with hydrating organic rose essential oils and antioxidants from green tea and blackberry extracts to both protect and moisturize.
When scanning ingredient lists, look for humectants—ingredients that draw water from the deeper skin layers and the environment into the top layers of the skin, says Shainhouse. This helps to moisturize the skin, leaving hands supple, soft, and hydrated.