Sarah Jessica Parker’s Scary Hands
Why the Sex and the City star’s hands look so much older than the rest of her, and what you can do to protect your hands from a similar fate.
Last week Perez Hilton asked via his celeb-slamming site, “Sarah Jessica, WTF?,” referring to actress Sarah Jessica Parker’s hands. Looking at this picture, we sort of understand his question, if not the tone in which it was posed.
It’s true — from her thick blonde hair to her tanned and toned bod, the fortysomething mother of three looks years younger than her (thirtysomething) on-screen counterpart, Carrie Bradshaw. But then you see her hands. Those veins. Those bones. Those wrinkles. Those sun spots, oh my! Maybe Perez has a point.
Now, take a look at your own hands … do they give away your real age, while your face still gets you carded? What’s going on here? Betty Confidential asked Dr. Neil Sadick, clinical professor of dermatology at Weill Cornell Medical College, to answer Perez’s (and our) question.
Dr. Sadick says the two main causes of old-lady hands are sun exposure and loss of collagen (a natural, yet unattractive part of the aging process). Unfortunately, “a lot of it is genetic,” he says. “Like with the face, some people will age quicker.”
And while many of us slap an SPF-rich sunscreen on our mugs in the morning and, in the summer, wide-brimmed hats on our heads, our hands go out naked as the day we were born.
So is there anything SJP and the rest of us crinkly-handed mortals can do, other than curse our parents for bad genes and our younger selves for not wearing more sunscreen?
Yes, says Dr. Sadick — but to see real results you’ll need surgery. For weightlifter-esque veins, he recommends sclerotherapy, in which a chemical solution is injected into the offending veins and closes them off without affecting your circulation. Another option is using an endovenous laser to zap the gruesome things into oblivion.
But what about the Skeletor skin-and-bones look? “When you have a loss of collagen, this causes sagginess and boniness,” says Dr. Sadick. To replace collagen, he injects fillers like Radiesse and Sculptra (fat grafting can also be done, but the longevity is less reliable, he says).
And for grandma-like age spots and wrinkles? “For pigmentation problems and fine wrinkling, we’re using a Fraxel laser, and for age spots we’re using the Q-Switched laser,” says Dr. Sadick.
Finally, for those of us who are more likely to fly to the moon than go under the knife (or needle or laser), Dr. Sadick says, “a chemical peel or microdermabrasion can be used for very fine wrinkling and slight pigmentation problems, but they don’t have the same effects as the other procedures.”
At the very least, start by religiously using a sunscreen on all parts of your body that are exposed to the elements — including your hands. Then, invest in a high-potency antioxidant cream, which will protect your skin from additional free radical damage; look for ones with ingredients like idebenone, vitamin C, vitamin B and resveratrol.
If all else fails, you can adopt the Michael Jackson gloved look on both hands and just tell people you were a really, really big fan.