Jamie Schneider

mbg Beauty & Wellness Editor

By Jamie Schneider

mbg Beauty & Wellness Editor

Jamie Schneider is the Beauty & Wellness Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare.

Image by Marc Tran / Stocksy

June 1, 2023

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Your hands are often one of the first areas to show signs of aging, but some people have had “old-looking hands” since childhood, long before the first fine line technically makes its grand entrance. Hyper-wrinkly hands can just be genetic, sometimes from an inherited skin condition called ichthyosis vulgaris—it happens when the skin doesn’t shed its dead skin cells as quickly, which results in dry, thick, flaky skin. 

The condition affects 1 in 250 people1, including UK-based medical and cosmetic doctor Ewoma Ukeleghe, who took to TikTok to share her tried-and-true remedy. “This is for the girlies with old looking hands,” she declares. Considering the video has racked up over a million views, a ton of girlies are searching for the same solution. 


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A nighttime routine for “old-looking” hands

Because ichthyosis vulgaris occurs when your old skin cells shed too slowly, it might help to speed up the process manually. 

Enter retinoids: “What I’ve been experimenting with at the moment is actually putting tretinoin on my hands,” says Ukeleghe. “”As we know, tretinoin quickens that skin cell turnover. I’ve been doing this for the last few nights and it’s been working really well.” 

Tretinoin is a stronger retinoid only available by prescription, commonly referred to as the brand name Retin-A.

That being said, it’s super potent and might not be the best fit for those with sensitive skin; however, you could use an over-the-counter, less powerful retinol and reap similar benefits. The main gig here is to promote cell turnover with a vitamin A derivative, and you should only need a pea-sized amount in order to do so. 

Next—and this is the nonnegotiable part of the equation—you’ll want to seal the active ingredient in with a moisturizer. Exfoliating your skin without applying a layer of hydration is a recipe for a weakened, compromised skin barrier (which only accelerates aging and leads to an older-looking appearance). 

Our pick, of course, would be the mindbodygreen postbiotic hand cream: The high-quality, innovative blend nurtures your skin microbiome, deeply hydrates, provides antioxidant protection, and improves the appearance of the skin instantly and over time.

Along with a special strain of postbiotics to support your skin barrier, it features powerful antioxidants, like coenzyme Q10 and a watermelon, lentil, and apple complex, that offer free radical protection, brighten tone, and smooth out fine lines.

It also includes a base of shea butter, moringa seed oil, aloe vera, and oat oil to instantly calm and condition the skin, nixing any flakiness. It’s a worthy investment for instant and long-term hand care, but you can find some of our other favorite hand cream formulas here

“Then I just go to bed like that,” Ukeleghe adds. Keep in mind that this is a nighttime routine, as retinol can cause photosensitivity (meaning, the skin will be more sensitive to the sun and more susceptible to sun damage and burns). So while you can apply a moisturizing hand cream any time of the day, multiple times per day (we encourage you to!), you’ll want to stick to an evening retinol regimen—and don’t forget to apply SPF on those paws during the day. 


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The takeaway 

Got “old-looking” hands? It is possible to address the dry, scaly symptoms and smooth the surface. Get yourself a retinol serum or cream gentle enough for your delicate hands, then follow up with a moisturizing hand cream to fill in any microcracks. At the end of the day, ichthyosis vulgaris is a super-common genetic condition, so just know that you’re not alone; take a scroll through Ukeleghe’s comment section, and I promise you will feel seen.