Is there anything we can do to look after our hands as we age, and in particular to avoid the knobbly finger joints that we see on some older ladies?
Regards, Shirley Tracy, North Yorkshire
Holding back the years on our face is one thing but a quick look at hands usually reveals age. Hands are exposed to chemicals, smoke and UV radiation causing skin to age. The protein Collagen is responsible for keeping the skin on our hands plump and fleshy but hormones stimulating collagen production decreases during the menopause ageing them.
Diet low in essential fatty acids can cause rough skin patches so eat foods such as salmon and sardines, nuts and seeds rich in fatty acids, or consider taking supplements. If skin is dehydrated deep lines and painful cracks can appear so aim to drink at least two litres of water a day. Colourful fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants which help protect against sun damage and also have high water content.
Wear gloves for household and gardening chores, exposure to sun, wind, cold weather, harsh detergents, cleaning products quickly dry out hands. Moisturise your hands regularly, especially after contact with water wearing rubber gloves protect skin from harsh chemicals. Hands soon become chapped in cold winter so moisturise before going out, ideally with products containing SPF 15. Knobbly knuckles, especially on the lower finger joints indicate rheumatoid arthritis so keep hands warm and keep your arthritic fingers moving.