You've got your 20-second hand-washing song on lock and favorite soap sorted, but what about after you've rinsed? If your hands are really starting to feel the effects of being washed every 10 minutes, it might be time to invest in products specifically for keeping them happy and hydrated. But before you jump into an online shopping spree, it's worth knowing that finding the best hand cream for dry skin goes beyond choosing a pretty bottle with a nice scent; there's a whole science behind it that's worth delving into.
While it's a given that your hands probably aren't feeling or looking their best, you may be wondering why washing them even dries your skin out in the first place. That's because the soaps you use are built to cut through dirt and oil, which is helpful when it comes to removing bacteria, but not in keeping your hands hydrated. "It’s a catch 22 — we need to use soap and water to wash our hands to effectively remove dirt and germs, but in doing so, we are also irritating our skin and removing natural oils that are there to protect our skin," Tiffany J. Libby, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and dermatologic surgeon in Rhode Island, tells The Zoe Report over email.
So, in order to heal your hands from all that excessive washing, it's important to screen for ingredients that'll get the job done. "Look for creams or ointments that are petrolatum-based, and contain mineral oil and/or dimethicone, a silicone-based polymer that is an excellent emollient and skin barrier protectant," says. Dr. Libby. "I also love ceramide-based moisturizers to replenish the lipids in the skin barrier and humectants like glycerin and hyaluronic acid that help draw moisture into the skin."
And before you decide that scrolling through an ingredients list isn't worth the time, know that there are important benefits in keeping your hands properly moisturized that go beyond hydration. "This not only helps restore our skin barrier, but also prevents cracked skin and cuts which may become portals of entry for bacteria and viruses," explains Dr. Libby. "[This is something that is] extremely important to avoid especially during this time of coronavirus."
Good ingredients aside, you should also be wary of what shouldn't be in your hand cream. Dr. Libby recommends avoiding fragrances and dyes, as they can irritate the skin when it's most vulnerable. And, don't limit yourself to products labeled "hand creams"; body lotions and ointments can work just as well. (Dr. Libby herself uses Cetaphil's Moisturizing Cream, since it's petrolatum-based and loaded with emollients.)
Ahead, nine qualified hand creams that'll bring your skin to a healthier place.
We only include products that have been independently selected by The Zoe Report's editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.
If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and cough, call your doctor before going to get tested. If you’re anxious about the virus’s spread in your community, visit the CDC for up-to-date information and resources, or seek out mental health support.