These days, most of us apply some form of sunscreen to our face, and maybe even our neck on a good day -- but too often are our hands neglected, even though they get a ton of daily exposure. "Sun protection is important for your hands, both medically and cosmetically," says Dr. Francesca Fusco, a dermatologist at Wexler Dermatology, because it can help prevent skin cancer, dark spots and fine lines.
Your hands, by the way, are one of the fastest agers. "The hands and feet have the least amount of subcutaneous fat ... so, they age more rapidly," explains board-certified Miami Skin Institute dermatologist Dr. Manjula Jegasothy. This makes proper sun protection all the more important. After all, your hands often get way more sun exposure than the rest of your body -- especially when you're driving. If you don't protect them, they're a dead giveaway of your age.
It's never too early to start taking care of your hands, insists Jegasothy. "Often, by the time a patient comes to me for aging-hands issues, it's already late," she says. "I tell people it would be ideal if you started using sunscreen on your hands daily from when you're a young adult or a middle teen."
Luckily, hand creams with SPF are here to save the day -- and they'll kill two birds with one stone: dry skin and sun damage. Keep reading to browse our top SPF hand creams picks -- from no-frills drugstore options, to damask rosewater-infused high-end picks that help fight the signs of aging. And, here's a tip: once you have your SPF picked out, Dr. Fusco recommends storing it "virtually everywhere" -- including your bag, your desk, your pocket, your glove compartment, and even at the gym, so you can reapply often.
In addition to its broad spectrum SPF 15, Jane Iredale HandDrink Hand Cream offers extra environmental protection in the form of antioxidants aplenty (some even consider antioxidants more important than sunscreen when it comes to protecting your skin). The rose essential oil works double-time by packing in extra moisture and leaving behind a light and pleasant fragrance.
One important note: Dr. Jegasothy explains that SPF 15 or under is best for casual sun exposure, such as driving or going to the grocery store. If you're going to be outdoors for extended periods of time, go with SPF 30 (waterproof if you'll be getting sweaty).
Eucerin's hard-working, fragrance-free Daily Hydration SPF 30 Hand Cream gets the job done. It's no-nonsense, and works great for sensitive skin. It has a thick, rich consistency, and makes for a good daily staple. And because it's so cheap, you can afford to reapply with abandon, which is never a bad thing.
Now, here's a SPF-packed hand cream that doesn't mess around: Supergoop's Forever Young Hand Cream offers SPF 40, as well as PA+++,(FYI, PA is a UVA-blocking sun protection grade that's primarily used in Asia -- the scale goes from PA+ to PA++++, so PA+++ represents a fair amount of protection). Another bonus? The sea buckthorn fruit supports natural collagen production, and it also contains omega-7 fatty acids that help with discoloration. Win-win.
This hand cream is something of a stalwart: It can keep even the driest of hands moisturized, while also providing sun protection and helping to lessen the look of age spots. Soy and sea algae work together to increase elasticity and firmness -- and to make things even better, it absorbs quickly, and isn't too heavy or greasy. That said, if you're concerned about age spots, Dr. Jegasothy recommends checking in with a board certified dermatologist first, to rule out more serious issues, such as melanomas.