Old-lady hands are one age-related give-away that you can do something about. When you realize that what you thought was mildly freckled skin is actually mottled with age spots and lines, it is time to take action. It may have taken a lot of hard work and weather exposure to get your hands to look that way, but thank goodness there are a lot of super-nourishing hand creams packed with exotic ingredients and dedicated to putting things right. Our dedicated team of testers tried the creams out for a minimum of three to four weeks, so we were able to check on both immediate and longer-term improvements.

Some of our top picks are indisputably on the pricy side, but they promise – and deliver – a lot; taking on the challenge of hands that have seen more than their share of wear and tear from weather, dishes, gardening, DIY and just plain anno domini. Those hands deserve some tender, loving care, and here it is.

Elemis Pro-Radiance Hand and Nail Cream, 100ml: £26, Elemis

Although this silky cream absorbs quickly, it is designed to leave a protective barrier on the surface of the hands, to lock in moisture. One of the results of this is that your skin feels tighter and firmer straight after application, and the floral aroma lingers longer than most. The key constituents – milk protein, macadamia, virgin plum, wheat germ, jojoba seed and avellana seed oil – may sound like the ingredients for a slightly challenging pudding, but they work together to good advantage in this effective cream, which delivers on its promise to rejuvenate the look of your hands, and improves the condition of your nails as well.

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La Prairie Cellular Hand Cream, 100ml: £84, John Lewis

If you are really serious about sorting out your hands then this investment-level hand cream may well be the way to go. Our tester stressed that while she had absolutely no idea how the age-spot reducing thing worked, she felt that after only a week they were definitely a little muted. Not only that, but her hands felt much softer than before. This might have been because of the exfoliation, which was so gentle that she didn’t really notice it was happening. Its action comes from a revitalizing blend of marine-derived substances, rich in algae and minerals, yet the scent is delicately floral.

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Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Anti-Ageing Hand Cream, 50ml: £4.79: Boots

This no-nonsense product protects your hands in two ways – with SPF25 on the outside and concentrated moisture quickly absorbed within your skin. Its formula of active soy helps to reduce the appearance of brown spots over time. Our tester was delighted with the price, and the fact that it left her skin feeling soft and supple from the first application. As a keen walker, she finds that its weather-beating properties are a bonus, as is the fact that she can share it with her husband too.

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Liz Earle Superskin Hand Serum, 75 ml: £22, Liz Earle

As a keen gardener with very dry skin our tester was well placed to try out the effectiveness of this product and found it to be an excellent moisturiser and easily absorbed. It was not remotely greasy or sticky and simply glided on, leaving her hands soft and smooth. She loved the smell – a combination of neroli, chamomile and lavender. Rich in omega-3 and anti-oxidants, rosehip, cranberry seed and borage oil, this is one to keep in your bag for frequent application.

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Clarins Super Restorative Hand Cream, 100ml: £37.50: House of Fraser

This is a real multi-tasker, with the combination of plant extracts that is the Clarins speciality. Here, organic baobab oil toughens up the nails, Montpellier rock-rose extract helps to even up the skin tone by reducing the look of age spots, while harungana extract (who knew?) plumps up the hands to reduce the look of lines and wrinkles. Protection from pollution is an added extra. Our tester found it very smooth and quickly absorbed, her freckles were definitely less pronounced after several weeks of enthusiastic use, and an extra bonus was that it was good for her problem nails to boot.

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Sarah Chapman Skinesis Overnight Hand and Nail Treatment, 15 ml: £39, Feel Unique

This is described as an overnight facial for your hands, and, in truth, the lusciously oily formulation would not be a good way to start the day as it takes a while to absorb. But by applying it last thing at night, and letting the high tech formulation and nourishing combination of omega-rich skin conditioning oils (including baobab, chia seed, argan and sea buckthorn) do their work, our tester found a very real improvement in her hands, nails and cuticles, which started at first use and built over time. Her hands are softer and less crepey, and her nails are definitely less brittle.

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QMS Medicosmetics Hand Care, 75ml: £20, Liberty

This award-winning brand was launched in 1986 by Dr Erich Schulte, who discovered, while working with severe accident and burns victims, the beneficial effects collagen has on skin healing and anti-aging. The hand cream is designed to preserve your skin’s natural moisture while protecting against external aggressors. It is lovely to use, absorbs instantly and leaves your hands feeling super-smooth. While it doesn’t claim to do anything for age spots we felt that the almost miraculous anti-wrinkle effect was more than enough.

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Margaret Dabbs Intensive Anti-Ageing Hand Serum, 30ml: £30, John Lewis

Best known for its pioneering way with a medical pedicure, Margaret Dabbs has now focused its attention on the hands with a range that includes this award-winning serum designed to reduce signs of ageing of the hands and improve the look of the skin. Usefully, this is suitable for all skin types and for use by women and men, especially those who spend a lot of time in the sun. The sturdy tub and discreet fragrance would not be remotely off-putting to anyone and the serum is very light and quickly absorbed. Our tester found that it made the skin on her hands look tighter, and therefore younger, almost immediately, and her skin felt much softer after only a few days.

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Chantecaille Retinol Hand Cream with Rose and Vitamin C, 75ml: £62, Space NK

Retinol is employed to give faster turnover of skin-cells and less wrinkly skin, here combined with rosewater and rose essential oil in a recipe that softens and protects your skin. It also gives the bonus of reducing the look of dark spots through the inclusion of extracts of Japanese mulberry root, lily and bears’ berry root. Our tester liked it very much, and used it morning and evening and often in between, finding that over a few weeks her age spots seemed lighter. She was particularly keen on the fact that the cream was super-absorbent and didn’t leave any residue on her skin, although the delicious smell of roses lasted quite a while.

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Superdrug Anti-Ageing Hand Cream, 75 ml: £1.49, Superdrug

This hand cream is very economical in price, if not in intention.  It is formulated to moisturise all day, so is hydrating for even very dry hands, while helping to reduce the appearance of age spots. Built-in UVA/UVB protection helps protect your hands against premature skin aging, and the non-greasy formula is quickly absorbed, leaving your hands feeling soft and supple.

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Aurelia Aromatic Repair and Brighten Hand Cream, 75ml: £30, Net a Porter

This promises to cover all bases, attacking the pigmentation resulting from prolonged UV exposure, which becomes more noticeable with age, by means of a complex based on sea daffodil. This is included to help lighten dark spots, while red algae extract protects chapped skin and cassia senna boosts hydration. All that, and the aromatic blend of vetiver, ylang ylang, lavender and patchouli, which lingers on the skin. Our tester found it thicker and less immediately absorbent than a lot of hand creams, but working it into her hands felt beneficial, and it certainly delivered on improved skin texture.

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Sisley Sisleÿa Global Anti-Age Hand Cream, 75ml: £89.25, John Lewis

This light and fragrant cream has been specifically designed to protect the hands and act against signs of ageing. It has SPF10, in a formula designed to reduce dark spots, and also strengthens nails and softens cuticles. This latter is a real success, confirmed by our tester, who loved the smell of lavender, and found that the cream absorbed well and was not at all sticky or greasy. Her hands felt fresh and looked hydrated and smooth, and age spots seemed lighter and less pronounced after only a week.

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The Verdict: Hand Creams for Anti-Ageing and Age-Spot Reduction

Elemis is our favourite for all-round performance and a delicious perfume. La Prairie is a super-effective special treat while Neutrogena packs a real punch for the price.

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.