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Whether it's constant hand washing for hygiene reasons or being in a dry environment, the skin on your hands can become sensitive, dehydrated , and in some cases, broken and flaky. Seasonality can also affect the frequency of dry and chapped hands . There is often less moisture in the air during the colder months. Add to this the commonly used forced air drying heating systems, dryness can be a bigger problem.
We've researched dozens of lotions and ranked them based on reviews, active ingredients, compatibility with sensitive skin, consistency, and price. Each of the products selected in this article was rated the best of these factors.
Here are the best lotions and creams for dry, chapped hands – they provide hydration without leaving a greasy residue.
For a fast-absorbing lotion that suits most needs, O'Keeffe's Working Hands Cream ( see Amazon ) should provide a skin-smoothing effect without any greasy residue. For those who spend a lot of time outdoors or in direct sunlight, Supergoop! Handscreen SPF 40 ( see Amazon ) provides the protection and moisture you need.
What to look for in dry and chapped hand lotion
When looking for a lotion for dry, worn, cracked, or cracked skin, look for products that contain moisturizing ingredients like colloidal oatmeal, ceramides , and natural oils. Look for products that are dermatologically tested or clinically proven to work for dry skin.
David N. Lorcher, MD, a dermatologist based in San Diego, California, recommends choosing:
- Oil-based ingredients, including occlusive agents such as petroleum or mineral oil, to help retain moisture.
- Soy containing active ingredients that help restore the skin's barrier function and replenish moisture.
- Silicones – When used in humectants, Dr. Lorscher says they act as lubricants and reduce friction.
- Ceramides: Helps relieve dry skin and irritation.
- Aloe: has soothing and healing properties for the skin.
- Hyaluronic Acid (HA): It is a humectant, which means that it binds to water and retains moisture in the outer layer of the skin.
Dry, sensitive skin is only vulnerable to further damage and sensitivity from sun exposure, so be sure to use a lotion that contains sun protection or apply sunscreen in addition to any moisturizing lotions.
Long-term use disclaimer
Some products are not recommended for regular or continuous use. Read the instructions for use and seek medical attention when in doubt.
Scented against odorless
For scented lotions, the unscented version can reduce the risk of further skin irritation. "For dry, chapped hands, choose a fragrance-free lotion that does not contain alcohol or other common irritants," says Dr. Lorscher.
Frequently asked questions
Unless otherwise stated on the product, you should avoid using hand lotions on other areas of your body, especially the face. According to Dr. Lorscher, 'Although hand creams and lotions are moisturizing, lotions can dry out a bit if they contain more water. In general, hand creams are generally more occlusive than hand lotions, which means that they provide a restorative layer of oil on the surface of the skin that helps decrease water loss, which is good protection against cold, dry air. "
If you have dry and cracked skin, you should apply hand lotion as often as necessary. Dr. Lorscher says he will recommend applying and reapplying whenever the skin becomes tight or dry.
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Additional reporting by Brittany Leitner.
Brittany Leitner , a health writer with over 8 years of experience, understands how important access to information is when it comes to making informed health decisions. He has interviewed dozens of medical experts, tested hundreds of products, and is committed to providing quality guidelines that won't break the bank.