9 Best Hand Creams to Soothe Your Dry, Itchy Skin
Your hands don’t like the winter. Thanks to the dip in temperature, dry air, moisture-sapping indoor heat, and gloves going on and off (irritating your skin even further), you’ll likely be grappling with cracked—and perhaps even bleeding—hands, says Diane Madfes, MD, a board-certified dermatologist based in New York City.
Another culprit is prime flu season. In an effort to stay well, you may be sudsing up more often. “Our hands are exposed and constantly being used and washed compared to other body parts,” says Yoon-Soo Cindy Bae, MD, a board-certified dermatologist at the Laser & Skin Surgery Center of New York.
However, itispossible to keep your hands smooth and supple. That’s where a moisturizing and soothing hand cream comes in to help heal the skin and prevent moisture loss, says Dr. Madfes.
It’s important to apply hand cream at night before going to bed, but you’ll also want to stash a bottle next to your sink. In general, give your hands a quick squirt of lotion after every time you wash to prevent excessive dryness during the day, she says.
How to pick the best hand cream for dry winter skin
When looking for a moisturizing hand cream, scan for ingredients with the following properties:
Prevent moisture loss:Look for products that contain petroleum jelly (often listed as petrolatum), ceramides, and dimethicone, which seal in hydration.
Attract water:Ingredients known as humectants pull water into the skin like a sponge, which gives a plumping effect. Look for glycerin, hyaluronic acid, or urea on your label.
Add moisture:Emollients like lanolin, petroleum, squalene, and certain plant extracts and oils like shea butter will give a moisture boost where needed and create a protective film over the skin.
Soothe the skin:Aloe vera, soy, and oatmeal all have unique healing properties that effectively calm sensitive or irritated skin.
Now, we know wading through the lotion aisle can be daunting. There aresomany different hand creams out there, so we did the work for you and rounded up the ones with dermatologist-approved ingredients. Keep one of the following hand creams on standby for the dry winter months, and your skin will thank you.
“This is great for tough problem areas like hands, feet, elbows, and knees,” says Dr. Bae, as it’s “specially formulated with moisturizing and antioxidant ingredients like vitamin E to hydrate and soothe dry, cracked skin,” she says. It also contains glycerin and dimethicone for an added boost of moisture, as well squalene to create a layer of protection.
This one is a winner, according to Dr. Madfes. All CeraVe products contain ceramides, an ingredient “that holds onto moisture really well,” she says. Hyaluronic acid and dimethicone also serve as star ingredients. If you have super sensitive skin, this hand cream also has a seal of acceptance from the National Eczema Association.
Convinced your skin can’t be saved? For serious dryness, try a shea butter formula, which creates a healing barrier on the skin. Dr. Madfes recommends hand creams from L’Occitane. “It has a creamier consistency and a nice profile of moisturizing fatty acids,” she says. This particular L’Occitane pick is raved about on Amazon, with more than 850 reviews and a 4.5 star rating.
Another product approved by the National Eczema Association, this balm from Aveeno is a good option for those with who suffer from the condition on their hands, says Dr. Madfes, as it will effortlessly melt into skin. Colloidal oatmeal will tamp down redness and itchiness, while glycerin pulls moisture back into the skin.
When you’re looking for an everyday hand cream to throw in your bag, you want a product that won’t leave your skin feeling oily or greasy—especially for use during the day. Another pick from Dr. Madfes, this balm is packed with panthenol, shea butter, and glycerin for hydration that’s gentle on even the most sensitive skin.
Thanks to its mineral base—including copper and zinc—this lotion nourishes parched spots, and the non-greasy formula lets you go about your day sans sticky fingers. The company claims the benefits—less redness, roughness, and cracks—last through five hand washings.
Also named as one ofPrevention’s best face moisturizers for dry skin, this multi-use cream from First Aid Beauty is a great pick for dry hands, too. Formulated with dimethicone, glycerin, colloidal oatmeal, ceramides, and shea butter, this fragrance- and alcohol-free cream works wonders on cracked, irritated skin. In fact, it can relieve the itching associated with eczema, rashes, and other annoying skin conditions.
To repair and protect the hands from the harsh winter elements, go for this hand salve from Kiehl’s, which features glycerin, dimethicone, shea butter, and squalene in its formulation. What’s more, it packs a hydrating blend of sesame seed, eucalyptus leaf, and avocado oils, as well as healing aloe vera.
You don’t have to spend a lot to get smooth skin. In fact, sometimes the more basic formulations are the best choice—and good ol’ Vaseline is a go-to, since it’s just 100 percent protective petroleum jelly. “It’s simple, yet effective and is tolerated by sensitive skin,” says Dr. Bae.
Video: Korean Skincare 101: The Best Creams for Moisture & Hydration
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