The best hand cream for dry, chapped hands

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O’Keeffe’s/Business Insider

  • When it comes to dry, irritated, and chapped skin, fast-acting and effective moisture is important.
  • O’Keeffe’s Working Hands Hand Cream delivers relief and lasting moisture, making it our top pick, hands down.

Winters can be harsh all-around, but the dry, cracked skin that the winter weather brings makes the season particularly difficult to cope with. When your hands are dry and chapped, doing simple chores like washing the dishes can be painful and irritating. Unfortunately, you can go through dozens of products before you find the right cream to help heal and prevent chapped hands. That’s why we’ve done the work for you.

I’m no stranger to dry, chapped hands. I have horses at home, which means I’m outside at least four or five times each day, even in the harshest of winter weather. I also wash my hands frequently, which only makes the problem worse. Because of my dry skin, I’ve accumulated a significant collection of lotions and hand creams. Many of them didn’t solve the problem — but some of them did.

The products in this guide are intended for anyone who deals with dry skin in the winter or even year-round. I’ve used many of them myself, and tried to select products that aren’t heavily scented, greasy, or that require frequent applications throughout the day.

To get the best results from these products, apply them according to the brand’s directions. Using these products after washing your hands or showering can get you positive results, and try to make a habit of using your lotion or hand cream before bed for overnight moisturizing.

Here are the best hand creams for dry, chapped hands:

Read on in the slides below to check out our top picks.

The best hand cream for dry, chapped hands overall


O’Keeffe’s Company

Why you’ll love it: O’Keeffe’s Working Hands Hand Cream offers healing and protective properties in a greaseless formula.

For valuable healing paired with protective properties, you can’t go wrong with O’Keeffe’s Working Hands Hand Cream. This hand cream is designed to heal, relieve, and repair extremely dry, cracked hands.

This cream contains paraffin, which helps to establish a barrier that protects your skin from losing water. At the same time, glycerin draws moisture to your skin in order to accelerate the hydration process. The cream is greaseless, yet effectively reduces the rate of evaporation on your hands, helping to restore your hands’ moisture balance while healing your cracked, irritated skin.

Available in both a jar and in a tube, this hand cream is scentless, so you can put it on before leaving the house and no one will know. It’s recommended that you use it multiple times a day, which is easy to do because the cream absorbs so easily into your hands.

The rim of the jar is textured for extra grip, but I’ve found I’ve never needed that texture because the cream doesn’t leave my hands greasy. I have personally had excellent results using this product, and I make a point of applying it after coming in from the barn, before bed, and always after shoveling snow.

O’Keeffe’s Working Hands Hand Cream has a 4.5 out of 5-star rating on Amazon, based on 9,196 reviews.

Bob Duncan of Scrollsaw Woodworking & Crafts attests to the value that this hand cream offers woodworkers, writing, “The salve is the consistency of cold hard butter and it literally melts into your skin. Within a few seconds, the dry skin stops itching and burning, and you can go back to work without worrying about wood or tools slipping out of your grip.”

ToolGuyd also posted a favorable review of this hand cream, writing, “It does relieve dryness. I have only used it a few times and once overnight, but I can definitely tell that it’s working.”

This cream is safe for diabetics to use, and it’s affordable enough to keep a jar in your home, your workplace, and anywhere else where you need protective and healing relief.

Pros: Greaseless, odorless, highly affordable

Cons: Can sting a bit when applied to cracked hands

Buy O’Keeffe’s Working Hands Hand Cream on Amazon for $7.29

The best lotion for soothing relief


Amazon

Why you’ll love it: Formulated for very rough, dry skin, Eucerin Intensive Repair Lotion both gently exfoliates and conditions for healthier skin.

Eucerin Intensive Repair Lotion is a rich, creamy lotion that has long-lasting effects. The triple-acting formula moisturizes, exfoliates, and conditions in order to repair rough, dry skin. The gentle exfoliating nature helps to improve the appearance of dry or rough skin, and the moisturizer offers intense hydration that helps to create smooth, comfortable skin. This fragrance-free formula won’t clog pores.

This is one of my favorite lotions. The pump bottle is quick and easy to use when you’re on the go, and this formula provides soothing relief, even when my hands are at their worst. I particularly like that this lotion is unscented, and it’s easy to massage into my hands.

There is a bit of a film left on my hands after use, but wiping my hands off with a tissue solves the issue. This lotion is versatile, too, and you can use it on your hands, feet, arms, and other problem areas.

Eucerin Intensive Repair Enriched Lotion has a 4.3 out of 5-star rating on Amazon, based on 726 reviews.

Sandy N. wrote, “This lotion is heaven sent! I get very dry skin during the winter to the point of rashes, itching, burning, you name it. This lotion has saved my skin. It’s very thick, so I usually apply at night, but it moisturizes like no other lotion I’ve tried.”

According to Eduardo Neecha, “This Eucerin lotion worked wonders almost immediately —the itching seemed to vanish on contact, and the morning after my first application of it, at least 80% of the redness was gone!”

Pros: Fragrance-free, gentle exfoliating action, won’t clog pores, use on hands, feet, and more

Cons: May increase skin’s sensitivity to the sun and increase the chance of sunburn

Buy Eucerin Intensive Repair Enriched Lotion on Amazon for $9.97

The best organic lotion for dry, chapped hands


Amazon

Why you’ll love it: Certified organic and available in nine different scents, The Naked Bee Moisturizing Hand & Body Lotion softens and hydrates your skin.

The Naked Bee Moisturizing Hand & Body Lotion is made in the US and is certified organic. There’s no worrying about chemicals and irritants in your hand lotion with The Naked Bee. This lotion contains natural ingredients including certified organic sunflower seed oil, glycerin, beeswax, white and green tea leaf extract, arnica extract, honey, and more.

You can choose from delicious scents like the Orange Blossom Honey, Chai Tea, Coconut & Honey, Grapefruit Blossom Honey, and more. There are no dyes or pigment in this lotion.

While the ingredients in this lotion have been carefully selected for their healing and moisturizing effects, the ingredients you won’t find in this lotion are just as important. The Naked Bee makes products without parabens, propylene glycol, mineral oil, or laureth sulfate. Additionally, this company never tests its products on animals.

The Naked Bee Moisturizing Hand & Body Lotion has a 4.2 out of 5-star Amazon rating, based on 2,080 customer reviews.

Amazon reviewer Christine O. wrote, “I am a huge fan of Naked Bee hand and body lotion. This Lavendar hand lotion is rich enough to moisturize but absorbs nicely into your skin…not greasy. This is a true lavendar scent that is light and very pleasant.”

Another Amazon reviewer found this lotion to be the perfect solution for sensitive skin: “LOVE this hand lotion. I love scented lotions but am very sensitive to synthetic fragrance…this product is natural and smells amazing. I have no issues with it. It also absorbs well and doesn’t stay greasy.”

Pros: Available in multiple scents, certified organic, made in the USA

Cons: Some scents are more potent than others

Buy The Naked Bee Moisturizing Hand & Body Lotion on Amazon for $15.61

The best hand cream for intense repair


Duke Cannon Supply Co.

Why you’ll love it: For hands that take a beating, Duke Cannon Bloody Knuckles Hand Repair Balm offers deep moisturization without a greasy feel.

Duke Cannon Bloody Knuckles Hand Repair Balm is designed to repair hard-working hands in need of moisture. This balm is made with lanolin and shea butter, which help to moisturize your hands without a sticky or greasy feeling.

You can quickly massage the balm into your hands, and it’s ideal for use on dry, cracked skin. Plus, a portion of the proceeds from this repair balm benefit US veterans, so you can feel good about your purchase.

One major advantage of this balm is that you can often see results after just a few uses. It’s much thicker than most lotions, so a little bit goes a long way. With its rapid absorption, you can put a bit of this balm on and go right back to work. Heal up your chapped hands and, by restoring moisture to your skin, prevent chapped or cracked skin from being an issue.

Duke Cannon Bloody Knuckles Hand Repair Balm has a 4.7 out of 5-star rating on Amazon that’s based on 189 customer reviews.

One Amazon reviewer named Sarge calls this balm incredible: “I am an underground miner which means my hands get abused on a daily basis. This stuff works like magic. I use it once before I go to work and once when I get home and my hands are in much better shape for it.”

Another called Edward H. states that this balm is a non-greasy solution to dry hands: “So glad I found this hand cream. I work in the medical field so I am constantly washing my hands and they get so dry and cracked. I’ve tried so many hand creams but they usually leave your hands greasy which is impossible to use during the day. This stuff is great. It leaves your hands feeling moisturized without the greasy residue. I put it on and continue to go about my day. It does wash off when you wash your hands so you just have to re apply it but I love this stuff and will continue to buy it.”

Pros: Made with premium ingredients, offers intense moisturization, no greasy feel

Cons: Has a faint natural scent (though no scent is actually added to the balm), more expensive than some other similar products

Buy the Duke Cannon Bloody Knuckles hand Repair Balm from Duke Cannon for $15

Buy the Duke Cannon Bloody Knuckles Hand Repair Balm on Amazon for $14.95 (Currently out of stock)

The best time-saving treatment for dry, chapped hands


Amazon

Why you’ll love it: Put on your NatraCure Gel Moisturizing Gloves for just 20 minutes to get a full moisturizing hand treatment.

Lotions and creams and balms are great ways to treat your irritated hands, but for a deep-moisturizing treatment, NatraCure Gel Moisturizing Gloves give you the intensity that you’re looking for. A non-breathable gel lining locks in moisture, steeping your hands in hydration.

The instructions say to wear these dermatologist-tested gloves for just 20 minutes two to three times per week. They’re even backed by a satisfaction guarantee, so you can return them to Amazon in the first 30 days if they aren’t just right for you.

I’ve used these gloves for the past three years and they’ve made a significant difference in my skin. I often put them on while watching TV at night, and my hands feel immediately smoother and softer after removing the gloves.

The lining contains jojoba oil, olive oil, and grape seed oil which is released by the heat of your hands. It’s like a mini spa treatment in the comfort of your own home, all at a price that will beat what you’d pay at any spa. Best of all, these gloves are reusable.

The NatraCure Gel Moisturizing Gloves have a 3.8 out of 5-star review on Amazon based on 375 reviews. A reviewer called Pam Hogarth says these gloves cleared up her eczema: “I wear them to sleep and, although I feel like Minnie Mouse in them, they have cleared up my eczema! It’s still there. I can feel it lurking: The deep itch is still occasionally there, but my skin is clear, with minimal flaking and my nails are long again.”

You can also use these gloves with your favorite lotion.

Pros: Use for just 20 minutes a few times a week, hypoallergenic, deep moisturizing treatment

Cons: Gloves can be difficult to put on (but a little talcum powder can help)

Buy the NatraCure Gel Moisturizing Gloves on Amazon for $9.99

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