Cracked Hands? Lather Up!

As someone with very dry skin in the winter and hands that are prone to breaking, cracking, bleeding, etc., I think I have probably tried every brand of hand cream in the nation.

Bad for me (my wallet and my cracking skin), but great for you; I’ve made all the unfortunate purchasing decisions so you don’t have to.

Just in time for the bitter cold, I’m going to share my knowledge with you so you know which creams to slather on and which to leave on the shelves.

Aveeno “Intense Relief” Hand Cream
Let’s start with the worst of the worst, shall we? This cream is basically just a lie in every way. The Aveeno website claims that the cream forms “a protective glove against the elements.” If “protective glove” means “greasy paws,” then I’d say the claim is accurate. Seriously, you’re probably better off lathering up with a can of WD-40; at least that stuff is cheap. I can’t touch anything for at least 15 minutes after I put this lotion on because I’ll leave grease stains all over it. Also, if you care about moisturizing your hands and sealing up cracks, avoid this stuff like the H1N1 virus. It provides temporary relief, but that’s about it.
My advice: NOT recommended.

St. Ives Whipped Silk
The one big pro I can hand out to St. Ives is that their product naming department did a great job with this one. Who wouldn’t want to put that on their mitts?! The lotion also gets points for smelling great, which is more than I can say for Aveeno’s product. However, it’s almost as greasy as the Aveeno, and you’d need to apply it about 20 times a day for it to make any kind of noticeable difference in the hydration of your hands. Cream cheese and butter may be better whipped, but silk is clearly not.
My advice: PASS.

Neutrogena’s Norwegian Formula Hand Cream
This stuff is not bad, but it’s not great, either. If your hands don’t get terribly chapped and dry, you can probably use this product with good results. It has a pretty neutral scent and isn’t offensively greasy, although you should plan to keep your paws off your keyboard for a few minutes after applying it.
My advice: Slather with caution.

Eucerin’s Intensive Repair Hand Creme
Probably your best affordable option. The lotion doesn’t smell like much of anything, and the greasiness of it goes away quickly. You can also feel it really getting into your skin and doin’ its thang – not just sliding off the surface as soon as you wash your hands. Still, you need to be diligent about applying it and remember to put it on at least a few times a day if your hands are chapped often.
My advice: Good buy for the value-hunter.

Burt’s Bees Almond Milk Beeswax Hand Creme
The cream of the crop (tee hee).  I’ve lived in the Midwest all my life, and no hand cream has EVER done the trick of keeping my hands from cracking and bleeding in the subzero winters until I found this little jar. I feel like there are too many pros to name: it smells fantastic, the jar will last a long time, you only have to apply it once a day to get results, it’s not greasy, the consistency is divine… Really, this is the ultimate hand cream. The only drawback is the $9 price tag, but trust me, it’s worth every penny and will last you at least two to three months. If you’re not a fan of almonds, try the beeswax and banana cream, the the honey and grapeseed oil cream, or the waxier hand salve. That Burt guy really knows what he’s doing; I just want to shake his (well moisturized) hand.
My advice: buy, buy, buy!!

Any personal raves or warnings among you guys? Did I miss a favorite? Let me know!

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