GOT DISHPAN hands? Me, too. Because you’ve been maniacally washing your hands and/or applying hand sanitizer —if you can find any. And wiping down your kitchen counters and your phones with a disinfectant, no? As Covid-19 cases increase all over the country and a lot of the world, we can expect this routine cleansing to continue for a while. The downside is—well, you know—dry, chapped hands and cuticles.
We asked Ada Polla, CEO of skincare products company Alchimie Forever, for her advice on how to soothe and smooth our overwashed mitts: “There are two types of ingredients that can help with chapped hands,” says Polla. The first is “nourishing ingredients, such as moisturizers with oils (shea butter, cocoa butter, jojoba or vitamin E), ceramides or hyaluronic acid, that will help replenish the skin’s moisture levels.” The second is “occlusive ingredients—think of Vaseline-type products with paraffin-like ingredients to prevent moisture loss and coat the skin.”
When you wash your hands—especially if you wash them in hot water—you strip off natural oils that help keep your skin hydrated. For parched, scaly hands, you need to replace the moisture your thirsty skin is missing. And applying a lotion once a day isn’t enough. More frequent applications help the effects last longer, according to WebMd. To remind you, keep a tube or jar of your go-to moisturizer in your bathroom and on the kitchen sink. Put smaller sizes in your purse and on your desk. Remember to rub the cream or lotion over your cuticles and nails.
They’re not nearly as popular as toilet paper, but we noticed some of the hand creams we like below are already sold out on sites like Nordstrom and Walmart.
FAR LEFT: Friends fawn over Gold Bond products. And the price is right for the brand’s Ultimate Intensive Healing Hand Cream (it’s $4.99 for 1.66 ounces, Walgreens). It’s luxury for less than $5, and you can buy it at most drugstores or supermarkets. NEAR LEFT: I don’t remember but I think my dermatologist gave me a tube of Sebamed’s Hydrating Hand and Nail Balm (2.6 ounces, $11.79, Amazon) gratis. My skin is on the sensitive side, and this doesn’t irritate it. I haven’t noticed much nail improvement—it contains keratin— but it could be because I don’t diligently apply it. NEAR RIGHT: This Supergoop! New Handscreen SPF 40 (6.76 ounces, $38, Dermstore, one ounce, $14) contains sea buckthorn, which reportedly helps with those nasty little brown spots and SPF that will help prevent them in the first place. FAR RIGHT: I have to thank my niece Katarina, who lives in Berlin, for introducing me to Weleda products. She gave me a tube of Sea Buckthorn Hand Cream (1.7 ounces, $12.50, Amazon), which feels and smells so divine I have a hard time wresting it from my husband these days.
FAR LEFT: Elta MD’s So Silky Hand Crème ( 3 ounces, $19, Dermstore) contains a jackpot of good ingredients: ceramides, Vitamin E and jojoba, plus some titanium dioxide for sun protection. NEAR LEFT: I use Aquaphor’s Healing Ointment (7 ounces, $12.99, Ulta) as a multipurpose moisturizer. I slather it on (it’s petroleum based and on the thick side) my skin after a shower—when my skin is still wet—and on hands and nails before bedtime. NEAR RIGHT: I got this DC Aesthetics Intensive Hand Cream (contact the doctor’s office for price) as a freebie after a Juvederm treatment from Chevy Chase, Maryland, plastic surgeon Dr. Craig Dufresne. It contains vitamins E and B. What I like most is it absorbs easily into the skin but keeps your hands looking smooth and moist. FAR RIGHT: Alchimie Forever’s Dry Skin Balm (3.3 ounces, $25, use code SPRING20 for 20% off) is another multipurpose cream (with shea butter and jojoba) that soothes dry skin on hands, as well as those other areas prone to cracked skin—feet, elbows and knees.
FAR LEFT: It’s not specifically for hands but La Roche-Posay’s Lipikar Balm and Body Cream (6.76 ounces, $19 Dermstore) with shea butter and niacinamide, which my picky dermatologist likes, works anywhere you have extra-dry, itchy skin. NEAR LEFT: Hydro Boost Hand Gel Cream (3 ounces, $6.49, Ulta) from Neutrogena contains hyaluronic acid to boost moisture retention and is a good size for popping in your pocket or purse. NEAR RIGHT: Lanolips Hands All Over’s Rose Hand Cream Intense (1.76 ounces, $15, Violet Grey) is a combination of rose oil and lanolin to massage into hands, nails and feet. FAR RIGHT: The star ingredient in Ahava’s Dermud Intensive Hand Cream (3.4 ounces, $21.70, Skinstore) is Dead Sea mud that’s mixed with jojoba, aloe vera and calamine (for itchy skin). It’s pricey but it’s a super balm for very dry skin.