The prevalent image of palmistry is not an accurate one - palmistry is usually associated with fortune telling, crystal balls, special psychic abilities, incense, magic and the like. All of these can be discarded - no extra tools are needed (besides roller&ink), no magic spells need to be cast (or can be cast for that matter), and fortune telling was probably just the first found market of palmistry.
Skeptics focus on this stereotypical group of people that examine hands. These are the self-proclaimed 'magicians', those who give handanalysis a bad name, reading what people want to hear: when you will marry, how many children you will have, lottery numbers, financial success and so on. The tendency is to focus on the more obvious features of the hand - palmar lines, often ignoring the very interesting dermatoglyphics and fingerprints. Skeptics attack these people, and rightfully so. However, amidst all these negative associations with hands it is forgotten that hands ARE interesting, and DO provide information about ourselves.
This fact has not been ignored by researchers, although they have usually focussed predominantly on the dermatoglyphics and usually (but not always) ignore the palmar lines. The reason being that palmar lines have long been considered to be no more than fold creases in the hand (and are even commonly called flexion creases), despite research that has shown there is a definite genetic component to them.
Unfortunately, palmistry is not popular enough for skeptics to have carried out serious, indepth research - contrary to Astrology. In comparison to Astrology, the skeptics research on palmistry is laughable. For example, there has been a study of the link between the life line and length of life, and no relation was found. But then, this is seen as a myth even amongst most (Western) handreaders, so these so-called scientists have simply wasted their time investigating one of the most foolish notions of handreading. Another skeptics proof is the following experiment: a non-believing psychologist pretended to be a palmist, and managed to fool people into believing that whatever he said was true even though he completely made it up. He even convinced a skeptic. While it is an interesting experiment, it's just an example of cold reading and shows that people are generally quite easily fooled. But this does not disprove palmistry, because no aspect of palmistry had actually been investigated. It never ceases to amaze me that skeptics can preach confirmation bias, the Barnum effect and so on, and not apply those same principles to themselves when it comes to things like astrology and palmistry, and are completely swayed by the general opinion of skeptics rather than making an effort to reason for themselves. For those skeptics who believe the experiment I just described is proof against palmistry, I suggest reading about self deception. All this experiment shows is that palmists can have satisfied customers even if there is absolutely no truth in it, as long as the palmist is clever enough. But it is not possible to reason from there that palmistry is all nonsense. This is an example of seriously illogical deductive reasoning (palmistry links X hand features with Y personality traits which are accepted by person as being correct; a non-palmist links 0 hand features with Z personality traits which are accepted by person as being correct --> therefore there is no relation between X and Y). I challenge any skeptic to prove/reason that palmistry is all nonsense: e-mail me at frvc [at] dse [dot] nl. Any interesting skeptic views will be put on this site.
There is also the other extreme of the skeptics - those who believe palmistry has been proven and is actually a 'science'. Palmistry, handreading, cheirology - or whichever name it comes by - is absolutely not a science. While scientists have not made the effort to do serious research, palmists are also to blame. There are a few notable exception - see the links to current research on hands & personality. Very few palmists have actually carried out their own research. Hence, while there is currently no scientific proof against handreading, there is also no scientific proof validating handreading. But there is actual scientific 'proof' that there is a link between hands and behavioral characteristics, as a number of scientific publications have found a significant link. This research is ongoing.
Modern hand analysts, seperating themselves from earlier 'fortune tellers', read only personality traits, and increasingly look at both palmar lines and dermatoglyphic patterns, in particular the fingerprints. More on handanalysis.