Winter may be classified as cozy sweater, hot toddy, and holiday season, but the downside is it's also dry skin season. While the skin all over our bodies may be more parched than usual, certain areas are especially prone to be dryness, and the hands are one of them. Throw increased hand-washing in the mix as a protective measure during a global pandemic, and your hands might be drier now than ever before.
"Your hands are one of the most at-risk parts of your body for developing dryness and irritation because of constant exposure to environmental aggressors," Joshua Zeichner, MD, of Zeichner Dermatology, says. "Factors like hand-washing, weather, household cleaning, and even friction from weightlifting can disrupt the skin barrier." Dr. Zeichner says that those factors may create microscopic cracks in your skin's outer layer, making hydration disappear. "This translates to dry, itchy, cracked hands," he explains.
Hadley King, MD, a New York City-based dermatologist, says that increased use of alcohol-based hand sanitizer has resulted in a spike in hand dermatitis. However, she stresses that even if you're dealing with dry skin, you shouldn't stop thoroughly cleansing your hands. "Don't stop washing and sanitizing," she says. "After you've sanitized or washed, and your hands have dried, apply a moisturizer to replenish your skin."
A good moisturizer with the right ingredients can make all the difference in how your hands feel this winter. Ahead, we asked the experts everything to look for in an effective hand cream that gets the job done.
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Maya Chia Supercritical Chia Waterless Wonder Balm
One of the easiest ways to ensure your hands don't feel dry and ashy is to invest in a formula packed with nourishing oils. This balm has chia, apricot, and vitamin E oil to penetrate deep into your outer layer of skin as well as beeswax, which Dr. King says helps keep moisture in your skin. "It's an occlusive, which forms a layer on the skin and physically blocks water loss," she explains.
Maya Chia Maya Chia Supercritical Chia Waterless Wonder Balm, $, available at Maya Chia
Elta MD So Silky Hand Crème
Dr. King also swears by this Elta MD tube, which has ceramides, emollients, and vitamin E, a juicy trifecta that the ashiest hands will drink up. "It also has sclareolide, a plant-derived ingredient that helps to lighten dark spots," she adds.
Elta MD EltaMD So Silky Hand Crème, $, available at DermStore
Dove Beauty Cream
This classic moisturizing formula won't leave your hands greasy or sticky. Instead, its buttery formula will seep right into your skin, leaving your hands feeling naturally soft and supple.
Dove Dove Nourishing Body Care Beauty Cream, $, available at Amazon
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