March 07, 2019 at 12:40PM by CWC
If Punxsutawney Phil is to be believed, spring is right around the corner. But… can someone try telling that to my hands? Even as temperatures are starting to tease warmer weather (please, please, let that precious little groundhog be right this year), my palms and cuticles are dry, cracked, and gross. Honestly, if you saw what I’m working with right now, you’d be absolutely horrified.
And understandably, I’m not alone. But what gives—why are my hands still dry, even on the tail end of winter? “When you consistently wash your hands in hot water in the colder months, you strip off the natural oils that help keep your skin hydrated,” says Dr. Howard D. Sobel, NYC dermatologist and founder of Sobel Skin. “Over washing, scrubbing, or over sanitizing can lead to skin barrier disruption which means dried out, cracked outer layers which lead to loss of hydration and inflammation.”
Obviously, the easy solution to this is to slather on a boatload-and-a-half of hand cream and hope for the best. But before you grab whatever product has been sitting at the bottom of your work tote all season long, there are a few things to keep in mind. “If your hands are dry and sensitive, you might want to opt for a fragrance-free formula,” suggests Dr. Sobel. “Look for a hand cream with humectants that will coat and moisturize the skin without leaving it greasy. Vitamin E, beeswax, and sweet almond oil are all great hydrating ingredients to seek out.”
In addition to ingredients, the way you apply hand cream also surprisingly makes a difference. “It’s best to apply a hand cream or hand barrier treatment at least twice a day,” recommends Dr. Sobel. “For those with severe cracked hands, they should ideally be applying hand cream after every hand wash or when needed when your hands begin to feel dry again. He also notes that it’s best to treat cracking at the very first sign of any symptoms. Plus, he says, you should probably stay away from any hand sanitizers that have high amounts of alcohol in them, which can dry your hands out even further.
With that in mind, here are six hand creams to keep you hydrated through actual springtime.