No matter the season, dry hands are an uncomfortable reality that many of us face due to frequent washing, contact with chemicals, or a bevy of other causes. Investing in a good hand cream ensures that your skin stays moisturized, soft, and healthy no matter what it endures. An effective hand cream can also work to slough off rough patches and repair damaged cells while maintaining suppleness.
To learn more about how to find the right hand cream for you, keep reading our buying guide. We've made sure to include helpful tips along with a few product recommendations at the end. Our favorite is a sumptuous lavender hand cream by top brand L'Occitane en Provence, which hydrates skin without the greasy feeling.
Considerations when choosing hand creams
Dry hands can be caused by cold weather, which often dehydrates skin due to the lack of humidity in the air. Common culprits also include hard water with a high concentration of minerals and diets low in omega-3 fatty acids. While eating salmon and avocados can help remedy this, make sure to look out for these useful ingredients as you shop around for hand creams:
Hand creams come in three major varieties: lotion, ointment, and cream. Lotions are the most lightweight and suitable for warmer climates, while creams are heavier and more moisturizing. Ointments are the thickest formula, providing maximum protection from dryness and cracking.
If you suffer from flaky hands, look out for formulas that contain AHAs, which will allow dead skin to shed off and reveal smooth layers beneath.
Choose a daytime cream for UVA/UVB protection and a minimum of SPF 30, since the skin on your hands is just as delicate as the skin on your face.
While some hand creams focus on one problem area, choosing one with multiple benefits can help maximize your value. For instance, many hydrating formulas offer sun protection, and exfoliating formulas often contain brightening ingredients.
Hand creams generally come in easy-to-dispense squeeze tubes that apply product with precision and minimal waste. (Pump-based hand creams, on the other hand, don't offer as much control.) Ointments and thick creams may come in tubs, which makes for easy application but also promotes the spread of germs, as you'll be dipping your fingers in the tub every time you use your cream.
Many hand creams have a fragrance, but artificial scents can impact sensitive skin and cause irritation. If you have sensitive skin, opt for fragrance-free formulas to avoid itchiness and cracks.
Hand creams start at $5 and can run up to $30. For up to $10, you can get a basic moisturizing hand cream, whereas between $11 and $20, you can find higher-quality products with anti-aging benefits. Hand creams priced from $20 to $30 often contain more luxurious ingredients, multiple benefits, and high-end moisturizing agents.
Q. If I have sensitive skin, what kind of hand cream should I choose?
A. Fragrance can be a common irritant to sensitive skin, so look for unscented options with natural ingredients, especially soothing ones, such as aloe vera.
Q. How often should I apply my hand cream?
A. At least once a day, but this may increase depending on how dry your skin is, the climate you live in, and whether you wash your hands frequently.
Our take: This Japanese brand offers a versatile but highly concentrated moisturizer that's suitable for hands, face, and body. There are zero artificial fragrances or colors, and it comes in a generous 2.2-ounce jar.
What we like: A non-greasy but potent and vitamin-enriched formula that kicks dry skin to the curb. Those with sensitive skin will love the non-synthetic ingredient list, which includes camphor and glycerin.
What we dislike: The jar forces you to scoop with your hand, which invites bacteria in and makes for a messier application.
Naima Karp is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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