We’re stuck in the prime of winter and there’s no way around it: Yup, we’re talking about tackling dry, chapped hands. In addition to dryness, severe temperatures and the lack of humidity in the air can cause hands to crack, feel itchy and uncomfortable if ignored. “Hand eczema or dermatitis can be more common in the winter months from the cold and dry environment. The more we are able to protect our hands from becoming dry, the better they will look and feel,” says Dr. Jennifer Salsberg, a Toronto dermatologist.
Hand cream is the most obvious solution for dry hands. But as one of the most underrated products, finding a good hand cream can be tricky. When shopping for hand creams, scope for moisturizing ingredients specific to the condition of your hands. There are three main types of moisturizers: humectants, like hyaluronic acid, draws moisture from the environment and into the skin; emollient ingredients like mineral oil and shea butter are great for smoothing the surface of the skin; and occlusive ingredients such as petrolatum (petroleum jelly) and jojoba oil seal moisture in the skin and keep it from escaping into the environment. Occlusives are best for cracked, fragile hands.
But according to Salsberg, protecting our hands this winter goes beyond an uber-hydrating hand cream. Your hands also take another big hit in the winter when it comes to washing them. “Harsh soaps can contribute to dry skin,” she says, so use a gentle hand soap to keep your skin from losing its natural oils.
With all of that in mind, we’ve gathered the best products to help you save your hands this winter. Say goodbye to your with our top picks.
29Secrets Pick: Aveeno Positively Ageless Skin Strengthening Hand Cream ($8)
A small dollop of this award-winning cream will help fortify the skin’s natural moisture barrier. Packed with natural southernwood extract, this cream hydrates hands for 24 hours.
29Secrets Pick: Korres Bergamot Pear Hand Cream ($18)
Made with 88% natural ingredients including shea butter, this hand cream will gently hydrates and relieves parched hands.
29Secrets Pick: Graydon Hand + Foot Relief ($20)
Not only is this product designed to relieve cracked hands and feet, but it also contains antimicrobial properties, making it the ideal purse product. Infused with the brand’s Germs Away AromaBlend, this cream kills topical germs and delivers an instant boost of hydration.
29Secrets Pick: L’Occitane Hand Cream ($12-32)
Packed with a rich blend of coconut oil and shea butter, you’ll want to keep a tube of this hand cream in every coat and handbag. L’Occitane also partnered with super-cute stationery brand Rifle Paper Co. on limited edition packaging, so buy it now and you’ll have a collector’s item.
29Secrets Pick: Skin Republic Hand Repair ($9)
For intensive rejuvenation of rough hands, take 20 minutes out of your day for a deep moisturizing treatment. Each pack comes with two gloves — designed for one use only — infused with deeply moisturizing collagen, vitamin E and 7 plant extracts.
29Secrets Pick: Kiehl’s Liquid Hand Soap ($23)
If your hands feel chalky immediately after washing, you’ll want to consider switching hand soaps. This liquid hand soap by Kiehl’s contains a non-drying formula. Key ingredients include: aloe vera and plant-based glycerin (a humectant ingredient).
29Secrets Pick: Purell Instant Hand Sanitizer with Aloe ($2)
Salsberg recommends limiting your hands’ exposure to water in the winter, and hand sanitizers are a great alternative. Believe it or not, they’re much softer on your skin than traditional soap and water.