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The 10 Best Hand Creams to Hydrate Dry Skin

Most of us are practicing more frequent, thorough hand washing during the COVID-19 pandemic—which is good for our health but not necessarily for our skin. If your hands are starting to look like lizard skin, it’s time to step up your lotion game. Discover the best hand creams to rehydrate your thirsty skin (and keep in mind that when it’s time to fly again, these will be a good bet for the plane as well).

CeraVe Moisturizing Cream

cerave moisturizing cream.

Frequently recommended by dermatologists (who also helped develop the formula), CeraVe Moisturizing Cream works by using essential ceramides to restore your skin’s protective barrier. It’s fragrance- and oil-free, and suitable for those with eczema and other skin conditions. Not just for hands, this thick cream can be used anywhere on the body, including the face.

O’Keeffe’s Working Hands

O’Keeffe’s Working Hands.

One of the best hand creams for dry, cracked skin, Working Hands helps restore moisture and recreate your skin’s protective layer—without leaving your hands greasy. It’s ultra concentrated, so you don’t need to use much to see results.

Burt’s Bees Ultimate Care Hand Cream

Burt’s Bees Ultimate Care Hand Cream.

If you’re looking for a hand cream without strong fragrances or chemicals, consider this option from Burt’s Bees. Ingredients include baobab oil, pumpkin oil, watermelon seed oil, green tea extract, and no parabens or phthalates. The formula includes a gentle exfoliator to help get rid of dry skin.

L’Occitane Shea Butter Intensive Hand Balm

L’Occitane Shea Butter Intensive Hand Balm.

This thick, healing cream is composed of 25 percent shea butter, which soothes and hydrates ultra-dry skin. While it’s formulated for your hands, you can also use it on feet or other dry parts of the body.

Vaseline Clinical Care Extremely Dry Skin Rescue

Vaseline Clinical Care Extremely Dry Skin Rescue.

This affordable hand cream is formulated for very dry skin, designed to restore the skin’s protective barrier. Fragrance-free and non-greasy, it is appropriate for sensitive and irritated skin.

Le Labo Hand Lotion

Le Labo Hand Lotion.

The soothing scent of Le Labo’s hand lotion was inspired by the hinoki trees that grow around the Buddhist temples of Mount Koya, Japan. Its vegan, cruelty-free formula features almond and safflower oil, moisturizing hands without leaving a greasy residue.

Clinique Deep Comfort Hand and Cuticle Cream

Clinique Deep Comfort Hand and Cuticle Cream.

Clinique’s moisturizing formula is designed to condition both hands and cuticles, and is free of parabens, phthalates, sulfates, and fragrance to avoid irritating sensitive skin. It’s also free of oil so you won’t be left with a greasy feeling on your hands.

Soap & Glory Call of Fruity Hand Food

Soap & Glory Call of Fruity Hand Food.

If fragrance-free isn’t your thing, pick up a tube of Hand Food, which smells good enough to eat thanks to a tropics-inspired blend of hibiscus, cantaloupe, and cedar. Nourishing ingredients include shea butter, macadamia oil, and vitamin E.

Aveeno Intense Relief Hand Cream

Aveeno Intense Relief Hand Cream.

Affordable and soothing, this non-greasy cream from Aveeno offers long-lasting moisture that persists up to 24 hours and even stands up to hand washing. The fragrance-free formula incorporates oatmeal and other emollients that are easy on sensitive skin.

Weleda Skin Food Original Ultra-Rich Cream

Weleda Skin Food Original Ultra-Rich Cream.

Designed for “dry, rough skin on faces, elbows, hands, and feet,” Skin Food incorporates beeswax and oils for an ultra-moisturizing formula. Weleda’s products are not tested on animals and do not contain synthetic preservatives or fragrances.

More from SmarterTravel:

Follow Sarah Schlichter on Twitter @TravelEditor for more travel tips and inspiration. Codey Albers contributed to this story.

By Sarah Schlichter

Deputy Executive Editor Sarah Schlichter's idea of a perfect trip includes spotting exotic animals, hiking through pristine landscapes, exploring new neighborhoods on foot, and soaking up as much art as she can. She often attempts to recreate recipes from her international travels after she gets home (which has twice resulted in accidental kitchen fires—no humans or animals were harmed).

Sarah joined the SmarterTravel team in 2017 after more than a decade at the helm of IndependentTraveler.com. Sarah's practical travel advice has been featured in dozens of news outlets including the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, USA Today, Budget Travel, and Peter Greenberg Worldwide Radio. Follow her on Twitter @TravelEditor.

The Handy Item I Always Pack: "A journal. Even years later, reading my notes from a trip can bring back incredibly vivid memories."

Ultimate Bucket List Experience: "Road tripping and hiking through the rugged mountains of Patagonia."

Travel Motto: "'To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world.'—Freya Stark"

Aisle, Window, or Middle Seat: "Aisle. I get restless on long flights and like to be able to move around without disturbing anyone else."

Email Sarah at sschlichter@smartertravel.com.

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