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A hundred years ago, the circus “Age Guesser” is said to have averaged a 70% accuracy rate. How did he do it? He would just shake hands with circus-goers. That gave him all the information he needed. Want 5 tips for keeping your hands youthful and attractive?  Read more

 


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Put Your Hands Up!


A woman may pride herself on a wrinkle-free face, trim figure or alluring décolleté. A man may work hard to keep his torso lean, his chin chiseled and his neck firm. But how many of us really look after the appearance of our hands?

 

Sure enough, our hands often reveal more about our lives and the care we pay ourselves than do our faces. So as the holiday season approaches—and possible New Years resolutions start to cross your mind—know that your hands will respond well (and quickly) to even a little TLC. For starters, keep these 5 simple tips in mind…

 

Choose Soap Carefully. While dermatologists agree that the skin on your hands is tough enough to withstand more abuse than delicate facial tissue, decades of washing with harsh soap will take their toll. The ph level of most hand soaps ranges between 9 and 10 while the natural pH of your hand skin is slightly more acidic (around pH 5). Translated into everyday language: most soaps dry and age your hands. Minimize the damage by using a better-quality hand cleanser. Look for these natural ingredients on the label: cocoa or shea butter, because both have moisturizing qualities to offset the drying properties of soap’s alkaline base. (FYI: What you don’t want to see on the label is formaldehyde or oxybenzone. According to the National Institutes of Health and Environmental Working Group, both these chemicals can harm your skin and the environment.) One final suggestion: at least a few times each week, gently treat your hands with a natural scrubber, such as a sisal brush. This exfoliates the skin, stimulates cell regeneration and draws blood to the surface to nourish the skin.

 

Always Use SPF. Get into a daily habit of applying sun block to your hands, all year round. If you’re under 40, you’ve got the advantage because the sun’s effects are cumulative. By protecting your hands from bombarding UV rays now, you will certainly lower your risk of age spots later on. If you’re 40+ it’s best to remember the adage: better late than never. Also, take special precaution to apply SPF to your hands before driving. Yep… every time you open your car window and rest your hand on its open ledge—you’re inviting the appearance of spotty discoloration.

 

Moisturize, Moisturize. Did your grandmother ever tell you that you can make your hands beautiful by applying a rich hand cream before bed and then wearing gloves while you slept? Sure enough, doctors now echo that advice. Dermatologists say that keeping your hands soft is the surest way to keep them looking (and feeling) young. A cheap and wonderfully effective option is Crisco! Its pure vegetable shortening has great skin-softening properties. If you’d like to add a bit of luxury to the recipe: blend in an aromatic combination of essential oils. (Possible choices: lavender to combat sun exposure; bergamot or lemon for mild cleansing; and/or vanilla to help ease all menopausal discomforts.) Beauty experts also recommend a mainstay moisturizer on your bathroom sink and bedside table, reminding you to lotion your hands after washing and before bed.

 

Get a Hand Massage! There are a number of benefits to be gained from hand massage. It improves circulation, relieves tension in the tendons and increases the flexibility in your hands, fingers and wrists. A hand massage, since it uses lotions or oils, is also a great way to rejuvenate hand skin. If you suffer from chronic or occasional arthritis pain in your hands, research indicates that regular hand and wrist massage can reduce pain and improve grip strength. Similarly, if you use your hands for repetitive tasks (like keyboard typing) and regularly experience pain or cramping, a hand massage can provide symptomatic relief.


Eliminate Age Spots! When menopause hits an array of hormonal changes follow that affect your hair and skin. Among other changes, you’ll begin to notice that it’s harder to keep your hands looking good. They can lose their elasticity and suppleness, or even develop a veiny appearance. Age spots also start to appear and proliferate, the result of sun damage and naturally decreased oil secretion. According to dermatologists and beauty experts, lemon juice and aloe vera gel are very effective solutions. Just as lemon juice can naturally lighten your hair for summertime, it creates a great tincture in which to bathe your hands every week. Following a fresh lemon juice hand soak, apply aloe vera gel topically to age spots. You’ll see them lighten after a month or two of regular, weekly treatment.


Amazing-Health Tip: If you’re intent on using a more powerful chemical to treat your age spots, be careful of any product containing "hydroquinone." While the FDA does not currently restrict over-the-counter sale of creams that include this compound, it has acknowledged evidence “that hydroquinone may act as a cancer-causing agent (carcinogen) in rodents (rats and mice) after oral administration.” It has also been linked to "ochronosis" (skin darkening and disfiguration) when applied topically.

 

The Recipe Box
Winter Squash Fries Recipe


Holiday Fun Food:
Squash Fries

  • 2 squash, cut into long slices
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • salt to taste
  1. Heat a stovetop grill with canola oil; keep on low-medium flame.
  2. Douse sliced squash with maple syrup, just enough to lightly coat some of the pieces.
  3. Place squash and shallots in pan and turn frequently, cook on low-medium flame for 10-15 minutes, until squash is crispy.
  4. Throughout cooking, you may add drops of syrup to the pan for a more caramelized flavor. Add salt as desired.

This fun appetizer or side dish serves 4.

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