My hands look so old - VeggieBoards

My hands look so old

09:30 AM 04-18-2016
Hey guys, I used to eat a high raw vegan diet for about eight years in my twenties. Due to starting a stressful job, I went back to eating cooked non-vegan food, and often take-out about fours years ago. I also smoked heavily for a year. That lifestyle really took its toll. Before that, I used to look much younger than I was, whereas now I look older than my age. The worst are my hands which look as if I was in my early 50s (I'm in my mid-30s).

I quit smoking almost two years ago and this year, I went back to being 100% vegan, and have been 100% raw for the past three weeks. I noticed an improvement in my skin and am starting to look younger again (yea!). But my hands still look as old as they did when I smoked. Will they ever change back to looking my age if I stay mostly raw, or will I just have to live with it? I'm really desperate about this. They look terrible.
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Auxin's Avatar Auxin
11:02 AM 04-18-2016
From my perspective there are three main ways hands can look old.
They can look skinny and wasted, the kinds of hands people have in the last days of cancer. That can be helped with adequate nutrition combined with hand strengthening exercises. There are spring things or tennis balls you can squeeze, lifting dumbbells helps, I know one guy who with one hand at a time tosses up and catches a weight from a barbell.
Hands can also look old just from dry skin. Iodine deficiency can easily cause this, and I think vitamin E deficiency can too. It can also be helped with skin cream or if you dont like smearing all up in chemicals you can make your own skin moisturizer from oats and okra.
Hands can also look old from a restructuring of the nearly microscopic natural textures of the skin. I read a clinical paper on it once, they were able to tell how long past smokers had smoked or how old people were by looking at these features. The healthiest skin has like a cross-hatching [think chicken wire] with like a little star in each compartment. The smoke ages the skin. First to go is the little star thing, then lines in one direction from the cross-hatching start vanishing leading eventually to just a bunch of bars, then the bars start vanishing. Get a magnifying glass and you can tell which hand you used to smoke with. The loss of those nearly microscopic features make for less supple more plastic looking flesh.

I've had all three my hands look fine now but even from three feet away I can tell I smoked with my right hand, I dont think there is any reversing that effect.
02:54 PM 04-18-2016
Thanks so much for your detailed answer. All three descriptions match how my hands look. I already use my own homemade moisturizer with aloe vera, argan oil and some tretinoin cream. I also regularly add some seaweed to my food (for iodine) and use different vegetable and nut oils (vitamin E). But I'll definitely try the exercises. Hadn't thought of that yet.

Did you do anything else to help your hands look better or did that just happen as you gave up smoking?
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LedBoots's Avatar LedBoots
05:24 PM 04-18-2016
Drinking enough water so your skin is hydrated is important. And the sun will age your hands, too.
Poppy's Avatar Poppy
05:45 PM 04-18-2016
The backs of my hands have always looked decades older than the rest of me. But both of my parents have old-looking hands - they're veiny, boney and have extra, loose skin - so I guess it's genetic.
Thalassa4's Avatar Thalassa4
05:57 PM 04-18-2016
Is it your weight? This would more frequently happen with an underweight person, it won't happen from eating cooked food and is highly doubtful from smoking for one year (maybe for 20)...I would suggest it's a combination of genetics, and possibly dehydration or being underweight.
silva's Avatar silva
06:20 PM 04-18-2016
Great. Now I have to compare mine to other 50'ish women.
They're not boney, but skin is quite loose and crepey, and I drink plenty of water
Auxin's Avatar Auxin
06:35 PM 04-18-2016
Originally Posted by tao View Post
Did you do anything else to help your hands look better or did that just happen as you gave up smoking?
Giving up smoking helped a little, mainly it just stopped the accelerated aging of the skin.
Radically improving my diet helped [as a child/teen my family actively discouraged consumption of vegetables and fresh fruit]. More physical fitness helped a lot, all over my body.
At one point I got hypothyroidism from daily use of lemon balm tea combined with too little dietary iodine and that made my hands thinner and dry. I eliminated the tea and made an iodine supplement to use daily [thank you, college education] and that fixed that up.
Flax, millet, and many raw brassicas also encourage hypothyroidism. The brassicas even have a chemical named after its potency as a goitrogen, progoitrin.

Edit: I remembered a study. Scientific evidence that vegetables, legumes, and olive oil is protective of skin and junk food and meat harms skin [Link]
11:30 AM 04-19-2016
One common banal reason for old-looking skin on the back of the hands is dehydration.

There's even a simple test called skin turgor test, from which you can tell if you are dehydrated. You pinch the skin on the back of the hand and release it: if the skin fold does not flatten immediately, you are likely dehydrated. Note: You need to drink only as much water to be well hydrated, not "a lot" of water.

Also, if you consume very little salt, you will have less water in your body and your skin will probably look more wrinkled.
Mimosatree's Avatar Mimosatree
01:43 PM 04-19-2016
Shea butter and coconut oil are great for the skin. Olive oil too!
05:30 PM 04-20-2016
@ Thalassa: Some people say I look skinny, but I don't think I am. I'm definitely not underweight, and also not dehydrated as I drink a lot of water and eat lots of fruit and vegetables. I used to do a lot of outdoor sports when I was younger and never wore sunscreen. Bad, I know. However, my hands really only started to look old when I was working so much. I guess it must have been the stress, the smoking, sleeping for only four to six hours per night for several years, and the sun damage from years before.
My mom and my father's parents all have pretty nice hands, even though they're in their sixties and nineties. So I guess it's not genetics.
05:46 AM 06-14-2017
lol I was morbidly hoping to see a photo of old hands. I don't really think of hands as "old", unless they are misshapen due to arthritis or something.
Emalia's Avatar Emalia
03:48 AM 06-28-2018
Try lemon juice massage
06:07 PM 06-29-2018
Drink at least 2L of water everyday, and your skin will be hydrated.
blue_green_gold's Avatar blue_green_gold
02:29 PM 07-01-2018
I suggest sunscreen and antioxidant foods.
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