Want to know your skin's biological age? To some of you, that might be a scary question, especially if you've lived the "party life" or seen too many days lounging in the sun! But, to others of you who have taken good care of yourself and pampered your skin, the test results might reveal that your skin is in fact functioning at a more youthful capabity than your calendar years. Let's see . . .
In her book, Natural Hand Care (Storey Publishing, 1998), Norma Pasekoff Weinberg offers this experiment to test the elasticity or stretchability of your skin.
Pinch the skin on the back of your hand and then release it after a few seconds. If you're under 30 years of age, the skin will quickly return to its original contour. If you are between 30 and 50, you can begin to see the skin stand up for a second or two before recovering. At age 50 and beyond, the skin may stand up for a number of seconds, a sign that its support network (elastin, collagen, and subcutaneous fat layer) has been altered or that the body as a whole is undergoing changes that are visible at the skin's surface.
I must add this bit of a "hand aging disclaimer": . . . If, over the years, you've asked a lot of your hands by participating in hobbies such as gardening, sailing, or spinning pots or careers such as landscaping, floral design, house cleaning, house painting, or nursing where your hands are exposed to dirt, sunshine, chemicals, or perhaps you've had to, for sanitation reasons, wash your hands quite frequently, then this test will probably not apply to you. Hands that are exposed to the elements - be they natural or man-made - will age faster and their skin is not usually indicative of the health and youthfulness of the skin on the rest of the body.
A Handy Tip: Try to remember to wear gloves whenever possible to protect your precious hands and frequently apply a thick cream or body butter or protective product that acts as a "glove" to seal in moisture and keep out bacteria.
NOTE: This article was adapted from the book, "Organic Body Care Recipes", by Stephanie Tourles, Storey Publishing, 2007. The information is true and complete to the best of Ms. Tourles' knowledge. All recommendations are made without guarantee on the part of Ms. Tourles and she disclaims any liability in connection with the use of this information. It is for educational use only.