About Hand MD
It’s said that you can always guess how old a woman is by glancing at her hands, which is exactly where Hand MD claims to help women combat signs of aging. In fact, the brand promises that their line of age-defying products allow you to dip your fingers in a veritable fountain of youth.
Who’s behind Hand MD, the brand dedicated to giving hands the anti-aging love usually reserved for the neck-up?
Self-proclaimed entrepreneur Kara Harshbarger realized that when it comes to your face, your anti-aging routine is a well-oiled machine: UV-shielding sunscreens, hydrating creams, wrinkle-reducing serums, the whole nine yards. Your hands? Not so much.
Harshbarger, who had experienced As Seen On TV-success with her product Style Snaps by HemmingMyWay, approached Board Certified Dermatologist, Alex Khadavi, M.D., to create a product line with the specific struggles of aging hands in mind.
Whether or not Harshbarger and Khadavi started the movement or are just early at the party, the market for treatments directed at hands definitely exists.
In the UK, cosmetic surgery clinics have reported an 18% increase in inquiries from hopefuls interested in having anti-aging procedures on their hands.
But, before we look at how Hand MD’s hand-specific anti-aging products claim to, forgive me, lend a hand, let’s take a closer look at the problem:
What Makes Hands Appear Aged?
Just like an aging face, there’s not one, single thing that makes hands look betray your age—or appear older than they are. Here are several skin-related flaws that are causing women to seek an anti-aging solution for their hands:
Age Spots: The funny thing about age spots is that they actually have nothing to do with age. Instead, they’re the result of sun exposure. Though sun-worshippers may get them earlier, they most commonly show up in the 50+ crowd, who’ve accumulated more sun exposure than their younger counterparts. How to prevent age spots? Short of wearing gloves 24/7, you should be smoothing on a dime-sized dab of hand cream with SPF 30 before heading out the door each day—and reapplying after you wash your hands or every two hours if you're exposed to even a little sunlight.
Crepey Skin: Crepey skin (a combination of ropey veins, thin skin, and a lack of moisture) can affect you from head to toe. Without detracting from Hand MD’s claims, read more about the causes and cures for crepey skin by reading “Can Creams Really Help Crepey Skin?” and “What Causes Crepey Skin (and How It’s Different From Wrinkles).”
Stained Nails: Stained fingernails can be a result of getting older, or caused by harmless side effects of taking psoriasis medication or frequently wearing dark nail polish. However, it can also be the result of a fungal infection (especially if you’re experiencing pain), which will require your doctor’s intervention.
How Hand MD Claims to Help Aging Hands
The Hand MD line includes three total products that the brand claims will help restore the youthful look of your hand’s delicate, oft-abused skin:
The Restorative Duo packs a double punch with two topical products designed to work in synergy: The anti-aging serum is applied first, so it can sink deep into the skin. According to Hand MD, it’s packed with retinol, vitamin C, peptides, caffeine, and niacinamide.
The second half of the Restorative Duo is described as a rich moisturizer that the manufacturer claims is super-charged with shea butter, more vitamin c, squalane, caffeine, and niacinamide.
Third up, Hand MD offers an SPF 30 Daily Hand Renewal lotion. Intended to protect while improving the skin’s structure, Hand MD claims that this product’s blend of turmeric, caffeine, and niacinamide promotes cell renewal and the appearance of younger-looking skin.
Why Your Mitts Need a Helping Hand
Hand MD claims that hands are more susceptible to aging because they are the workhorses of the body and under constant assault: gripping a steering wheel, scrubbing dishes, exposed to harsh ingredients, chemicals, and in the sun with zero protection.
However, experts disagree that hands being exposed to daily chores or a tightly-gripped steering wheel are reasons for their universally-honest account of an individual’s age.
So, what is it that’s causing your paws to age if not those formative years spent scrubbing dishes?
Experts say that sun damage is the biggest culprit—which is good and bad news for those looking to help their hands.
The good news being that sun damage can be prevented—easily.
How so, you might ask? Sunscreen! Seriously, every day. If you don’t wear sunscreen each and every day, or are still unfamiliar with the blazing, nay, all-encompassing effect the sun can have on your skin, please save yourself future dollars spent on anti-aging creams and potential dermatological treatments by reading the articles linked below.
So, Will Hand MD Work?
Before we get there: The bad news about sun damage? It’s that sun damage is just as difficult to treat on your hands as anywhere else your skin was denied that all-important SPF. That’s because once collagen has broken down, reducing volume and allowing the dermis to crease, there are very few topical treatments that can create enough of an effect that skin visibly bounces back.
I lied, there’s one topical treatment: retinol. And, I know what you’re thinking: That’s one of the ingredients in Hand MD!
But, it’s not just any ol’ little bit of vitamin A that is going to get your mitts back into their prom glove-state. Know that it generally takes prescription-strength retinol to affect real change in the skin.
It’s not that we want you to make an extra trip to your doctor—though, if you’re having skin issues, a derm visit shouldn’t be out of the question.
It’s just that (sorry, regular HighYa readers, you’ve heard this enough), cosmetics that are available for over-the-counter purchase simply can’t affect lasting change in the skin. Really, it’s the law—or, at least, FDA regulation.
So, before we dig into the rest of Hand MD’s potentially fantastic ingredients, just know that when you’re ready to pull a Hermione and really turn back the clock, you’re going to need to see someone with a prescription pad.
How Effective Are Hand MD’s Ingredients
We’ve touched on retinol already—though, there are two more things to understand about the topical. First, even over-the-counter retinol is better than none at all.
And, more importantly, if you are using a retinol, you better be using a sunscreen every minute of the day. Why the big deal? First, you’re applying retinoids to reverse sun damage, and you don’t want to undo all their hard work.
Retinoids thin skin, allowing it to reveal newer, fresh, and unlined skin before that underlayer has had a chance to develop some protection. So, if you fail to put on SPF, you’re not only wasting your retinoids, you’re damning that pretty, unlined skin to a lifetime of appearing sun damaged from its very first day.
Sound awful? SPF up.
Aside from retinols, Hand MD products includes:
Vitamin C: Used to treat UV damage, this bad boy doubles up with retinoids to increase cellular turnover. And, just like its big brother, also requires sunscreen to protect new skin.
Peptides: These compounds are important in helping your body synthesize the collagen produced by antioxidants—as well as making sure it goes where it’s needed. Here is a clinical study outlining some of its benefits.
Caffeine: Much like its delicious vehicle, coffee, pumps up your alertness, caffeine plumps up your skin. The ingredient has long been included in cellulite creams and other anti-aging regimens for its near-instant effect. However, the results are temporary.
Niacinamide: Niacinamide is essentially vitamin B at its best. When applied topically, niacinamide has been shown to increase ceramide and free fatty acid levels in skin, prevent skin from losing water content, and stimulate microcirculation in the dermis—all good stuff.
Hand MD Pricing and Refund Policy
All three products are available to you for a limited time offer of $39.99, instead of the regular price of $80.00. However, if you’re considering purchasing Hands MD, don’t feel pressured to make a quick decision—their “limited time” sale appears to be ongoing.
On top of your “very unique” offer of half-price, you also get free shipping if ordering Hand MD through the official website.
Sounds great, right?
Meh, not really. Upon adding items to our cart, we were amused to see that the total price is $79.99 if there is a quantity of two in your cart—or a quantity of one. Basically, Hand MD is either forcing you to buy one, get one free, or their website’s buggy. Either way, watch your quantities upon order.
Another problem is the mere existence of an autoship program. Supposedly you don’t have to sign up. However, we couldn’t find an opt-out area once we neared credit card entry.
Don’t know why we dislike autoship programs? Long story, short, they can sucker a lot of unsuspecting people into paying for stuff they didn’t want, for longer than they intended to.
Hand MD products come with a 30-day money-back guarantee beginning on the date of delivery, only if bought directly from the official website. If, for any reason, you are not completely satisfied with your purchase, you must contact Customer Service using the "Contact Us" link at the bottom of the Hand MD website or call 800-903-7047.
Should You Buy Hand MD Products?
Let’s cut to the chase: The ingredients in Hand MD’s products can work. Granted, not as great as a prescription retinoid, but they likely can help your hands appear slightly younger.
If you’re considering Hand MD products for preventative measures, there are some more effective, and less expensive, steps:
Use lukewarm water and mild soap containing moisturizing oils when washing your hands, since water that’s too hot or cold can damage and dry out skin.
Moisturizing (whether your hands or other parts of your body) is also important after bathing or showering. Many professionals recommend doing so for at least five minutes to maximize moisturization.
Cleaning your house with common solutions and chemicals can also damage your skin, so using gloves during your chores can help prevent much of this.
When applying nail polish, start with a base coat to avoid staining.
If you’re already struggling with aged-looking hands? Well, there are several options, of which Hand MD products are one.
However, are their products any different than what you might find in your favorite face cream?
Not likely. Additionally, ask yourself if it’s worth engaging with a company that employs autoship programs—and whether or not you’re willing to deal with the potential struggle of unenrolling.
Other options include using your current facial regimen anywhere you’d like to see anti-aging action or to shamelessly don gloves and feel fabulous.
Bottom line? $80 is a steep price to pay for potentially younger-looking paws. But, if you’re so inclined to give Hand MD a chance, their ingredients could possibly turn back the hands of time for a minute or two.
» See Also: Best Anti-Aging Creams for Hands Buying Guide