24 Best Hand Creams to Nourish Even the Most Parched Skin
Scrubbing your hands raw? Here are the best hand creams for dry skin that have garnered rave reviews from consumers and top dermatologists.
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Soothe your dry, cracked hands
Constantly washing your hands, using sanitizer and simply being in dry air all wreak havoc on our poor skin. Of course, we want to remain germ-free, but in keeping our hands super clean, we might be removing more than just germs. “Along with germs, soap also breaks down the natural oils in the outermost layer of our skin. This layer is protective, maintaining moisture in the skin,” says David Lortscher, MD, a dermatologist in San Diego. But it’s not like we’re going to stop washing our hands, so what can we do? The solution is clear: Use the best hand creams—specifically the best hand creams for dry skin. “Applying a moisturizer after washing helps restore that barrier,” Dr. Lortscher says. “If your hands are left un-moisturized after frequent washing or use of hand sanitizer, itching, flaking and, in severe cases, cracking may result.”
The weather also plays a part in drying out skin. But even when the temperature warms up, dry-air problems can remain. “It’s not just the wintry weather that wreaks havoc on our hands,” says New York City dermatologist Hadley King, MD, a clinical instructor of dermatology at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University. “Low humidity and indoor heating [or cooling] can also lead to dry, cracked skin.”
While you can definitely add moisture back to the air with one of the best humidifiers to prevent dryness, there are also products to use to help our skin feel better (not to mention, it’s one of the habits that make you look younger), including the best lotion for dry skin, the best body butters and the best face moisturizers. For your hands, though, you should look for a specifically formulated hand cream.
“Ideally, any time that you wash your hands, you should be moisturizing afterward, especially in the wintertime,” says Orit Markowitz, MD, a dermatologist and founder of OptiSkin in New York City. You should also try to protect your hands from harsh soaps and ingredients. “Use a mild soap and protect your hands by wearing gloves if you’re washing dishes and exposing hands to harsh ingredients.”
How to choose the best hand creams for dry skin
How do you pick a hand cream that’s up to the task? According to Dr. King, moisturizers for the hands, as well as for any other areas of skin, should contain three key components:
- Humectants, like hyaluronic acid and glycerin, to draw water into the top layer of the skin
- Emollients that seal the water in, like fatty acids and ceramides
- Occlusives—such as petroleum, beeswax, mineral oil, silicones, lanolin and zinc oxide—that provide a protective barrier to prevent water loss
Of course, that’s a lot of label-reading, and not all moisturizers are created equal. Dermatologists have the expertise when it comes to skin and skin-care products, including what hand cream is best for your individual needs. With the help of our experts, we rounded up the best-reviewed hand creams on the market, including the ones that earned more than 4.5 stars from Amazon reviewers—so that your poor hands get some much-needed TLC.
In this list
- Best hand cream for overworked hands
- Best hand cream for hand eczema
- Best at-home spa experience hand cream
- Best hand cream for crepey skin
- Best budget hand cream
- Best fast-acting hand cream
- Best hand cream for very dry skin
- Best scented hand cream
- Best hand cream for travel
- Best hand cream for super-soft hands
- Best hand cream for your skin’s microbiome
- Best hand cream for sensitive hands
- Best hand cream for fading age spots
- Best hand cream for around-the-clock protection
- Best hand cream for intense moisturization
- Best hand cream for aging hands
- Best hand cream for itchy hands
- Best hand cream for nail and cuticle health
- Best hand cream nighttime hand cream
- Best hand cream for cracked skin
- Best drugstore hand cream
- Best hand cream for dehydrated hands
- Best hand cream for added sun protection
- Best hand cream for prescription-strength relief without an Rx
Best hand cream for overworked hands
Perricone MD Cold Plasma Plus+ Hand Therapy
Loaded with shea butter, which comes from the nut of the shea tree native to Africa, this luxurious hand cream is rich in essential fatty acids, perfect for those who wash their hands a million times a day. The amino acid glycine in the formula, meanwhile, improves moisture retention. It also contains phospholipids, which help aid in the skin’s absorption of those active ingredients. A verified Amazon reviewer gushed, “This product actually works. I honestly didn’t think/believe the claim to lessen the look of hand veins. So much so that I didn’t even bother taking a before picture … BUT after 3 weeks, even my husband noticed the difference. ” Before moisturizing with the best hand creams for dry skin, follow the most hygienic way to dry your hands to keep them properly hydrated and further keep germs at bay.
- Improves skin hydration and appearance
- Uses shea butter for moisturization
Best hand cream for hand eczema
Aveeno Eczema Therapy Daily Moisturizing Cream
For the many folks who suffer from eczema, constant hand-scrubbing can be even more irritating and uncomfortable. This utterly non-greasy cream from Aveeno has colloidal oatmeal, a soothing agent known to help skin retain water, while also acting as an anti-inflammatory. Other notable ingredients include glycerin and ceramide. While Dr. Lortscher says this is a great pick for hands, he cautions against using it on your face, as it contains potentially pore-clogging ingredients. People with eczema gave it stellar reviews. One says, “It is like a miracle for me. I’ve been fighting itchy rashy eczema on my hands…This is the best most remarkable stuff I ever used and now my hands are soft and totally clear.” It’s one of the drugstore beauty products dermatologists swear by.
- Awarded the National Eczema Association seal of acceptance
- Reduces eczema symptoms including itchiness, redness, dryness and irritation
- Widely available
- Some users found it sticky upon application
Best at-home spa experience hand cream
Nails Inc. Thirsty Hands Hand Mask
If there was ever a time to think outside the tube, it may be now. Imbued with a blend of plant extracts, shea butter and vitamin E, these funky hand mask gloves will soften and rejuvenate your hard-working hands—and are one of the best hand creams to give you a spa day at home. Leave them on for 15 to 20 minutes while you lounge on your couch. The fingertips are touch-screen friendly, so you can scroll on your phone while the mitts work their magic. When time’s up, take them off and gently massage in any leftover lotion. It can also be part of a fun at-home DIY manicure.
- Vegan and cruelty-free
- Smells amazing
- Single-use product
Best hand cream for crepey skin
Crépe Erase Advanced Anti-Aging Hand Repair Treatment
As hands age, skin can lose its elasticity, resulting in loose, wrinkly, thin skin that’s often described as “crepey.” This Crépe Erase hand cream is one of the best hand creams that specifically targets this issue to support skin’s elastin and collagen production, plumping up skin for a more youthful appearance. One of the anti-aging creams dermatologists trust, the product’s TruFirm Complex uses phytonutrients including apple, dill and sage extracts to protect the skin’s structure.
- Hydrating actives lock in moisture
- Plumps skin for a softer, more youthful appearance
- Can irritate eyes, so be careful not to touch your peepers after putting the cream on your hands
Best budget hand cream
Eos Shea Better Hand Cream
The best hand creams aren’t all out of reach, even if you’re on a budget. This Eos hand cream smells and feels luxe, but the price is a true bargain—one of the best natural beauty products for your money. Rich in sustainably-sourced shea oil and shea butter, it instantly deep-moisturizes. It comes in five scents, but we vote for the coconut, which reminds us of a tropical vacation. Bonus: Each purchase supports the Global Shea Alliance, which works to make a positive impact on shea farmers. One satisfied customer raved: “I was to the point of using a pumice stone on my fingers because they were so rough and dry. I’ve been using this for a little over a week and the rough patches are gone!”
- Sustainably sourced and environmentally friendly
- Lasts through handwashing for 24 hours
- Paraben, phthalate and gluten-free
- Small bottle
Best fast-acting hand cream
Bliss Lemon & Sage Hand Cream
A sumptuous moisturizer with a sunny, fresh scent, this truly blissful hand cream from Bliss gets its oomph from aloe-leaf juice and a trifecta of hydrating oils—macadamia nuts, grapeseed and soybean. Rich in vitamins and antioxidants, it quickly absorbs into the skin for revived hands (and softened cuticles) without an oily feel. As one pleased reviewer put it, “My entire hands, including my cuticles, were just dying this winter, and this has really, really brought my skin back to health.” As with other vegan makeup brands, Bliss is planet-friendly, cruelty-free and made without parabens, phthalates or sulfates.
- Absorbs instantly into skin
- Ingredients include aloe leaf extract and macadamia nut, grape seed and soybean oils
- Some users didn’t like the scent
Best hand cream for very dry skin
CeraVe Healing Ointment
Formulated with ceramides, hyaluronic acid and petroleum, this classic ointment is one of the best hand creams for dry skin with thousands of positive reviews to soothe, hydrate and protect your skin from further damage. Plus, it’s hypoallergenic, so even if you have sensitive skin, it’ll be calming and soothing. One reviewer who gave it five stars called it a “serious treatment that works….A single application per day and you are good to go.” CeraVe also makes one of the best anti-aging eye creams for sensitive skin.
- Trusted, widely available brand
- Contains ceramides and hyaluronic acid to restore skin’s natural moisture barrier
- National Eczema Association seal of acceptance product
- Not all users may like the ointment feel
Best scented hand cream
Lano Rose Hand Cream Intense
This Australian brand may not be a household name, but it should be—especially if you love the best hand creams that smell simply divine. This formula leaves a silky, protective veil over skin, thanks to its main antioxidant, rose oil. The heavenly fragrance comes from that oil, not artificial scents. Even better, Lano doesn’t test on animals, or contain parabens or sulfates. Bonus: It works amazingly well on dry feet, too, if you’re also looking for a product for your DIY pedicure.
- 98.6% natural ingredients, including ultra-hydrating lanolin
- Woman-owned beauty brand
- Screw-off cap
Best hand cream for travel
Compagnie de Provence Extra Pure Hand Cream
Good things come in small packages—3.4 ounces to be exact, which meets TSA’s limit for carry-on liquid products. This little luxury is also perfect for tucking in your purse or leaving in your car, so you’ll be ready to nourish your hands after making a grocery run. The non-greasy potion is one of the best hand creams to pamper weary hands with sweet almond, olive and grapeseed oil, as well as honey, which has scientifically-proven healing properties. It comes in a slew of intriguing scents, including Fig of Provence and Mediterranean Sea, but Mimosa Flower is the newest, with a bright, mood-lifting vibe—after all, some skin conditions get worse when you’re stressed.
- 96.7% natural ingredients, made in France
- Perfect travel-size tube
- 12 intriguing scents to choose from
Best hand cream for super-soft hands
EltaMD So Silky Hand Creme
If you want one of the dermatologist-approved best hand creams that still packs a seriously soothing punch, look no further than EltaMD’s hand cream. The clean beauty and cruelty-free product is stuffed with amazingly hydrating, smoothing and antioxidant ingredients including ceramides, vitamin E and jojoba esters. In addition, sclareolide, a compound derived from clary sage, targets discoloration to reduce dark spots. The result? Hands that look as good as they feel. For the rest of you, you can use one of the best body scrubs for smoother skin.
- Intense moisturization
- Also targets hyperpigmentation
- May need to apply multiple times a day
Best hand cream for your skin’s microbiome
La Roche-Posay Lipikar Triple Repair Moisturizing Body Cream
This top-rated moisturizer from La Roche-Posay is the favorite of Kavita Mariwalla, MD, founder of Mariwalla Dermatology in West Islip, New York. She says that the preservation of the skin barrier and microbiome is crucial in the treatment of dry, irritated hands—and this top-notch cream, which contains a proprietary prebiotic thermal water, boosts and protects the microbiome and replenishes lipids. What’s the microbiome? “It’s the invisible community of microorganisms, including bacteria, found at the skin surface,” Dr. Mariwalla says. “Changes in the microbiome may be linked to a disruption of the skin’s natural barrier, which can cause visible signs of skin sensitivity. With the help of prebiotic moisturizers, we can reduce dry, irritated skin and minimize skin barrier disruption.”
- Prebiotics work to improve skin microbiome
- More than 13,500 Amazon reviews with an average 4.7-star rating
- Also includes shea butter, glycerin and niacinamide
- Some users found the cream too thick
Best hand cream for sensitive hands
Aquaphor Healing Ointment Advanced Therapy
Go old-school with this drugstore fave. Judging by its reviews, legions of folks with dry skin swear by it—and for good reason. Essentially a go-anywhere, do-anything skin protectant and rejuvenator, this is one of the best hand creams for dry skin with zero added fragrance or color, which makes it a go-to for those with sensitive skin. Plus, it soothes not only cracked hands but also sore feet, rough elbows, chapped lips and minor burns and scrapes with equal ease. It’s an excellent emollient, sealing and protecting the top layer of skin. “After a week of using this,” wrote one reviewer, “my skin is super plump, feels like a baby’s bottom and so smooth.” Need another reason to give it a try? Aquaphor is reportedly Meghan Markle’s skin-care secret.
- Water-free ointment promotes healing
- Versatile uses
- Clean beauty product
- May stain clothes
Best hand cream for fading age spots
Estée Lauder Re-Nutriv Intensive Smoothing Hand Creme
This posh pick contains mango-seed oil, vegetable oil and meadowfoam seed oil to not only saturate worn-out hands with lasting moisture, but also to help fade age spots for more even skin. If you’re going to be putting on hand cream a zillion times a day, it may as well pull double duty. While Estée Lauder’s hand cream is a little pricier than some of the other options out there, reviewers say it’s well worth the money. “This hand cream is in a class by itself. Once you use this hand cream, you will be spoiled with anything else, this cream in one use makes your hands feel and look so much better.” one reviewer wrote.
- Fades dark spots
- Luxury product for dry, dehydrated hands
- High price point
Best hand cream for around-the-clock protection
Dove Body Love Intense Care Hand Cream
This rich and moisturizing formula lasts a long time and won’t leave greasiness or an oily residue behind, promises Dr. King. Plus, Dove’s hand cream hits the trifecta of moisturizer ingredients. “It contains the ideal combination of humectants, emollients and occlusives, and studies show that it provides moisturizing benefits for 48 hours,” she says. It’s one of the best hand creams for dry skin that lasts—make it part of your perfect skin-care routine.
- Replenishes ceramides in skin
- Skin will retain nine times more moisture with up to 48 hours of moisturization, compared with untreated skin
- Not fragrance-free; some users didn’t like the scent
Best hand cream for intense moisturization
CeraVe Reparative Hand Cream
Another favorite from CeraVe, the brand’s Reparative Hand Cream is one of the best hand creams that gets the job done, Dr. King says. “This is a non-greasy cream that contains hyaluronic acid as well as three essential ceramides to create a protective barrier to lock hydration into the skin,” she says. Even better: it’s fragrance-free and suitable for sensitive skin.
- Actives include hyaluronic acid, niacinamide and ceramides; plus dimethicone, a skin protectant
- Restores skin’s moisture barrier
- Doesn’t burn or sting
- Small tube
Best hand cream for aging hands
DefenAge’s 10 Luxe Hand & Body Cream
One of dermatologists’ best tricks for how to look younger? Keep your hands from giving away your age. “DefenAge 10 Luxe Hand & Body Cream is my go-to for both anti-aging and hydration,” says Nashville dermatologist Natalie M. Curcio, MD. “It feels great as it is applied to the skin, relieves dryness and itching—even in dry, sensitive skin like mine—and enables moisturization that lasts and lasts while contributing to anti-aging and improving the look and feel of the skin itself.” Houston dermatologist Suneel Chilukuri, MD, agrees. “This will change our ability to not only improve dry skin, but will also improve loose, crepey skin,” he says. The secret ingredient is the defensin molecules that wake sleeping skin stem cells and instruct them to produce more collagen and elastin, the building blocks of healthy, youthful skin.
- Firms and plumps skin while also calming inflammation
- Smooths and softens hands
Best hand cream for itchy hands
ISDIN Uradin Lotion 10
One of the main actives in ISDIN Uradin Lotion 10, urea is a powerful humectant that can soothe itchy skin, explains Deanne Mraz Robinson, MD, a Connecticut-based dermatologist. “Urea has been tested and proven effective for patients with atopic dermatitis and eczema as it temporarily hydrates the skin, and also improves skin barrier function over time,” she says.
- Restores skin’s natural hydration and smoothness
- Reduces itching due to dryness
- Some users noted stickiness right after application
Best hand cream for nail and cuticle health
Vaseline Dry Hands Rescue Hand Lotion
Vaseline Dry Hands Rescue Hand Lotion spells relief for dry hands, says Mona Gohara, MD, a Connecticut-based dermatologist, with Vaseline jelly, glycerin and pro-lipids. “The base is the healing jelly which is a good humectant that traps water in your dry hands,” she says. But hand health is not just about the skin itself: This is one of the best hand creams for dry skin that also adds shine back to ragged cuticles and strength to peeling nails.
- Specifically formulated for after hand-washing
- Starts working from first use
- Works to strengthen nail health as well
- Fragrance-free, but some users didn’t like the natural smell
Best hand cream nighttime hand cream
Neutrogena’s Norwegian Formula Hand Cream
This fan favorite scores rave reviews from hand moisturizer connoisseurs. “Having tried virtually every type of lotion on my hands in the world, Neutrogena hand cream is the best,” writes one reviewer. “It doesn’t leave your fingers greasy, it absorbs quickly and actually heals the dryness in your skin, especially around the fingernails.” Although you can use it any time of day, it’s especially soothing to slather on before bed, and you’ll wake up with super-soft hands.
- 24-hour moisturizer with time-release formula
- 40% glycerin
- Small tube, although a little goes a long way
Best hand cream for cracked skin
Cutemol Emollient Skin Cream
When you need the big guns, reach for this emollient-rich cream, says Dr. Markowitz. “Cutemol is ideal for the wintertime for people who tend to have dry, irritated skin.” This water-in-oil emulsion is effective for skin problems ranging from cracked, raw skin due to hand-washing, to conditions like eczema and psoriasis. Bonus: It’s also great for dry, cracked heels.
- Natural ingredients including beeswax, lanolin and allantoin
- Repairs damaged skin and prevents flaking
- Works like an ointment but with the feel of a cream
- Some users reported water and oil separating
Best drugstore hand cream
Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion
This moisturizer was recently re-formulated to include ingredients like niacinamide, vitamin B5 and glycerin, says New York City dermatologist Lian Mack, MD. This combo helps to strengthen the skin barrier by pulling water to the skin and minimizing the risk of water loss, she says. “It’s lightweight in texture but heavy in moisture, and leaves even the driest skin type feeling hydrated.”
- Continues to strengthen skin’s moisture barrier throughout the day
- Formulated with avocado oil, and vitamins B5 and B3
- Some users reported problems with the pump dispenser
Best hand cream for dehydrated hands
Dionis Hand & Body Goat Milk Cream
Goat’s milk is on trend, and it’s popping up in lots of skin care products, including this Hand & Body Goat Milk Cream by Dionis. “Goat milk is a great humectant due to its high lactic acid content which draws in moisture, yet also functions as a gentle exfoliant to treat dry skin,” says Los Angeles-based dermatologist Onyeka Obioha, MD. “This goat milk hand cream is perfect for dry, thirsty skin, especially in winter.” You can pair it with the best lip balms to nourish chapped lips.
- Made with goat milk, naturally high in protein, fat, vitamins and minerals to retain skin moisture
- Made in the USA and cruelty-free
- Some users said vanilla smell was too spicy
Best hand cream for added sun protection
Deborah Lippmann Rich Girl Hand Cream with SPF 25
This hand cream packs a one-two punch against the top two hand saboteurs: cold air and UV rays, says Dr. Markowitz. After all, dermatologists want you to know that skin cancer can also appear on your hands, so use one of the best moisturizers will SPF. This product “has broad-spectrum SPF 25 sunscreen, which protects from the sun’s UVA and UVB harmful rays,” she says, which is important as our hands are often neglected when it comes to sun protection. This product is also formulated with shea butter, avocado and jojoba oil to keep hands moisturized, she says.
- Protects against skin cancer
- Brightens and evens skin tone
- Paraben and sulfate-free
- Users report scent is either love-it-or-hate-it
Best hand cream for prescription-strength relief without an Rx
Cetaphil Cracked Skin Repair Lotion
Dr. Mack is literally obsessed with Cetaphil Cracked Skin Repair Lotion, another top pick from the brand. “The 2% dimethicone creates an occlusive barrier that prevents transepidermal water loss [evaporation through the skin’s surface] and stimulates healing,” she says. “I personally love how this feels on my skin…I recommend this for extremely dry skin types.”
- Daily use can repair skin in one month
- Uses the compound urea to hydrate skin
- Some users thought it was too greasy
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- Hadley King, MD, clinical instructor of dermatology, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, New York City
- Orit Markowitz, MD, dermatologist, founder, OptiSkin, New York City
- David Lortscher, MD, dermatologist, San Diego
- Kavita Mariwalla, MD, founder, Mariwalla Dermatology, West Islip, New York
- Natalie M. Curcio, MD, MPH, MMHC, dermatologist, Nashville, Tennessee
- Suneel Chilukuri, MD, dermatologist, Houston, Texas
- Deanne Mraz Robinson, MD, dermatologist, Connecticut
- Mona Gohara, MD, dermatologist, Connecticut
- Onyeka Obioha, MD, dermatologist, Los Angeles
- Lian Mack, MD, dermatologist, New York City