The Best Hand Creams To Stock Up On When Your Fingers Are Too Cracked To Type
For some, one of the first signs of winter's arrival is noticing painful dry, cracked hands forming. Once you factor in all of the excess (and necessary) hand washing and the use of sanitizer throughout the day, you'll likely be left with hands that could start a brushfire from all of the dry friction. That said, you'll want to have a few powerful hand creams at your disposal. Good news: You don't have to break the bank to snag one of the best hand creams on the market, many are under $20.
But before you start adding products to your cart, it's important to note that cream formulas are best. "Creams are thicker and moisturize better than a typical hand lotion," Dr. Marina Peredo, MD, a New York-based dermatologist, tells TZR. "Make sure to avoid anything that contains fragrance, since that can cause more dryness, especially if you have sensitive skin." And according to Naissan O. Wesley, MD, FACMS, an aesthetic and surgical dermatologist, it's helpful during this time to applying a cream after hand washing to not only treat dry skin, but to replenish the skin's protective barrier, it can also aid with its antimicrobial properties (like helping to prevent infection).
When you're shopping for a hand cream, Dr. Peredo says to choose products that have hero ingredients like humectants, emollients, and occlusives, which are all ideal for the winter. "These ingredients act as a barrier and protect the protective layer of the skin, and give a boost of hydration to combat dryness." Humectants are important because they pull water into the skin and ensure that hydration doesn't get out. "Emollients create an oily layer that traps water into the deeper layers of the skin and occlusives protect the outer skin barrier," she adds.
If you're ready to finally banish dry, cracked hands in the winter for good, keep scrolling below to find 12 of the best dermatologist-recommended hand creams.
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The Best Hand Creams For Winter
Dr. Peredo says Alastin's Ultra Nourishing Moisturizer is a great option that helps protect skin against environmental damage, while also helping to calm, nourish, and hydrate. "The cream contains phospholipids that support the skin barrier and also has emollients that will moisturize dry skin," she adds.
Dr. Hadley King, MD, FAAD, a New York City dermatologist, suggests Dove's Beauty Cream. "[It has a ] rich moisturizing formula that does not leave greasiness or an oily residue behind," she says.
Dr. Wesley says Keradan Cream contains glycerin, urea, and ceramides, which all work to improve moisture loss and hydration.
"The formula combines ceramides, emollients, and vitamin E to nourish dry skin, and sclareolide, a plant-derived ingredient, that helps to lighten dark spots," Dr. King says about EltaMD's So Silky Hand Crème.
"Skinfluence’s Intense Moisture Balm contains squalane, an emollient that soothes and softens dry skin, as well as powerful humectants that hydrate the skin barrier," Dr. Peredo says. "It has no fragrance or oil so it is safe to use on the hands and face."
Infused with coconut, reishi, and kpagnan, Alaffia's Coconut Reishi Nourishing Hand & Body Lotion is the cure when it comes to hydrating your hands.
"This is a fast absorbing, non-greasy cream that contains hyaluronic acid as well as three essential ceramides to create a protective barrier to lock hydration into the skin," Dr. King says. Plus, it's fragrance-free and good for those with sensitive skin.
Apply Racy All Day Cream by The Established all over the body and hands for moisture that'll last all day long. Containing plant-based oils and botanicals, you'll want to have this hydrating cream in reach.
"Borage Therapy Hand Cream uses borage oil, an omega fatty acid, to help moisturize," Dr. Wesley explains.
Dr. King notes that Avène's Cold Cream Concentrated Hand Cream is fast absorbing and paraben-free. "[It] contains glycerin to hydrate the skin, and sucralfate which helps to repair dry skin," she explains.
This African Beauty Butter from 54 Thrones contains a mix of Ugandan and Ghanaian Shea butter. Plus, it's infused with avocado and sweet almond oil to provide ultimate moisture.
Gold Bond's Ultimate Intensive Healing Hand Cream absorbs quickly and isn't greasy. "[It] contains a blend of emollients and humectants to moisturize and protect the skin, vitamin C to provide antioxidant benefits, and vitamin E to support the skin barrier," Dr. King says.