Nobody enjoys the feeling of having hands that are so dry, they've become cracked — or have even started to bleed. It's a supremely uncomfortable feeling, but also one that can be easily remedied by keeping one of the best hand lotions for dry, cracked hands within arm's reach. In fact, if you take hand-hydration as seriously as you should, consider keeping one in your bag, one at your desk, and one on your nightstand.
Believe it or not, there is a right and a wrong way to apply hand lotion. You want to make sure that you're applying lotion as soon as you're done washing your hands, to ensure that the moisture from the water is sealed into your skin — not evaporating and drying your skin out even further. It's also a good idea to slather on lotion before going to sleep, so your skin stays moisturized as it goes through its evening regeneration.
Keep an eye out for specific ingredients, too. Shea butter, coconut oil, aloe vera, and glycerine are all amazing emollients, in that they hydrate by creating a protective barrier over your skin. That will help heal your hands while also protecting them against further dryness.
Ahead, you'll find some of the best hand creams for dry, cracked hands that check most of these boxes. Don't be stingy — your hands will thank you.
1. The Best Heavy-Duty Hand Salve
If you've got hands that are chapped, cracked, dried-out, or bleeding, then it's time to skip the lotion and pull out the heavy-duty stuff. O'Keefe's Working Hands Hand Cream is an ultra-concentrated salve that instantly adds moisture to dry, cracked hands. It helps rebuild your skin's lipid layer with the help of glycerin, which draws in moisture, and paraffin, which creates a protective barrier to help lock in said moisture. It also delivers water to the skin, which gives dehydrated cells a much-needed boost. Plus, if you use this formula daily, it can help prevent dryness and cracking in the future, making this a must-have for anyone dealing with perpetually chapped paws.
2. A Budget-Friendly Multi-Pack So You Can Store Tubes Everywhere
If you have a skin condition like eczema that makes your skin super sensitive, then you don't need me to tell you how dry your hands can get. Eucerin's Advanced Repair Hand Cream is formulated specifically for these skin types in mind, making it the ultimate hand cream for sensitive, dried-out skin. The formula is made with BHAs that gently exfoliate, which allows moisture to penetrate that much more deeply. It's also enriched with ceramides that help rebuild your lipid layer, and it's fragrance-free, which is another win for those with sensitive skin. And since it comes in a three-pack, you'll get a tube for your bag, office, and car — all for less than $20.
3. A Coconut Oil-Based Hand & Cuticle Cream For Just $6
Coconut oil is known to be a serious hydrator for everything from your hair to your legs, which is why you need this hand cream from Yes To Coconuts. It heals dried, cracked hands, but it's also great at keeping your cuticles soft and moisturized. Virgin coconut oil is rich in vitamins A, C, and E, which not only hydrate, but helps protect your hands and cuticles from drying out in the future. Shea butter, avocado oil, and grapefruit extract are also included in the formula, which is free of parabens, SLS, and petroleum. It's also made of 97 percent all-natural ingredients, and it's cruelty-free, to boot.
4. An Intensely Repairing Aloe Vera Cream That Also Cures Chapped Elbows
This reparative hand cream relies primarily on aloe vera, one of the most healing ingredients on the planet, to heal your hands. In fact, it can even help heal wounds, soothe burns, and ward off infections. And since it's a gel formula and not a cream, it quickly absorbs into your hands, leaving not a trace of greasiness behind. This stuff has a near-perfect rating on Amazon, and fans say it can even help cure perennially-parched elbows and knees.
5. A Rich, Luxurious Shea Butter Lotion With A Cult-Following
Shea butter is one of the best emollients you can use on dry skin, which is what makes L'Occitane's 20% Shea Butter Hand Cream such a longtime cult-favorite. This formula contains 20 percent shea butter — a seriously high dose — which will soothe even the driest, flakiest of hands. And while shea is the main ingredient, it also contains honey, almond extracts, and coconut oil, which all blend together to create a seriously hydrating (and delicious smelling) concoction. It's fast-absorbing, even though it's super thick, so your hands will never feel greasy. This luxe French hand cream also makes a wonderful gift, and it comes in two sizes — the larger of which will last you ages.
Ed's note: while some of the reviews claim this is a counterfeit product, we have direct confirmation from Amazon that this product is sold by L'Occitane's official store
Also Great: For Dry, Cracked Heels
If your heels are also in need of serious hydration and repair, this O'Keeffe's foot cream is a popular path to relief. It has its own cult-following on Amazon, with thousands of five-star reviews and dozens of "before" and "after" photos from fans. Made with glycerin and allantoin, two gentle yet highly moisturizing ingredients, the thick cream helps to repair even the most severely cracked heels while protecting from any future drying. The best part: many reviewers saw results in just a few days.
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