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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