Last updated: August 31, 2021

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When thinking about the areas of the body with delicate skin, it is common to think about the face or the area around the eyes. The hands are often forgotten as many people think they are more durable and tougher than other parts of the body. Meanwhile continual and necessary care of the hands is often forgotten. The hands are fundamental in our daily lives and are often exposed to a number of external agents, such as water, sun or wind.

The skin of the hands is often harshly exposed to the elements as most people do not cover their hands and very few people use sunscreen to protect them from the sun. The hands are the first direct contact with the world around us and without hands it would be very difficult to live. You can help your hands and easily treat the symptoms of dehydration with a specialised hand cream. In the following guide we are going to give you all the information you need to buy a good hand cream.


  • The hands are a part of the body that is one of the most exposed to the external factors. At the same time, the hands are one of the most neglected parts of the body in terms of care and protection.
  • All hands appreciate the daily use of a hand cream, but the specific needs you have will define the products that are available for your selection.
  • Not all hand creams leave a feeling of residue on the skin. Today there are light creams that are quickly absorbed, leaving the skin soft and well-hydrated.

The best hand creams: Our Picks

We know that choosing a product for which there are so many options available on the market is a challenging task. There are "anti-ageing" creams, whose formulas may not be suitable for all skin types, and there are new products released everyday that promise results that seem almost impossible. In the following section we present to you a list of the five best hand creams on the market based on quality, brand reputation and value for money.

Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about hand creams

Hand cream is one of those products you may have been using since your childhood or adolescence without thinking about how important it is. However as there is such a range of different brands and formulas on the market these days, you do not need to settle for the same product you started out with. The best recommendation is to perform your own research so that you can make an informed decision. To help you in this quest we present the following guide that will answer some of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to hand creams.

Choose products that protect your skin and suit your skin characteristics.
(Source: Sergejs Rahunoks: 14812639/

Why is it important to use hand cream?

Hands, as you know, are a fundamental body part that allows everyone to perform a number of daily activities. Whether it be at home, at work or playing sport, your hands are often fundamental in everything that you do. You may go as far as saying that the most frequent direct contact with the world is with the hands. As a result, everyday the hands are exposed to a multitude of external factors that can damage them, and we often forget how important it is to take care of them.

Rehydrating the skin of your hands at the first signs of drying out is the best option for keeping the skin on your hands healthy. If you don't act in time, it is possible that the skin will become cracked and wounds will eventually appear. The good news is that using hand cream is fast, simple and inexpensive.

How do hand creams work?

The functioning of a hand cream is a lot less complicated than you actually might think. It is impossible to introduce water into the interior of the skin beyond the more superficial layers. So hand cream works in reverse. This film that is created when the cream is spread over the outer layer of the hands prevents perspiration and thus minimises water loss. There are of course many more functions that a moisturising cream may have, but this is the fundamental principle of hand creams.

Making an informed decision when buying a hand cream is far easier when you know how this type of product works. Hand creams are primarily formulated to create a film on the skin that in turn keeps your skin moisturised and well-hydrated.

Did you know that a man's skin is 20% thicker than a woman's?

What ingredients should a hand cream contain?

The formulation of any cream is one of the most important aspects to consider when making a purchase. Not all creams have the same quality in terms of ingredients, so it is essential that you know what to look for when buying a product of this type. It is important to review the fine print to ensure you know exactly what ingredientes the product contains.

A good hand cream should contain active ingredients that truly nourish and protect the skin. If you have particularly sensitive skin or you suffer from other skin related problems, it is vital that you know which ingredientes you need to avoid and which ingredientes are suitable for your skin type.

Here is a table of the ingredients that a good hand cream should have:

Ingredients Effect
Water Water is usually the main component of hand creams. In a hand cream formula, oils and water are mixed, and the water evaporates when applied to the skin.
Occlusive agents Occlusive substances are among the most controversial, as they are often derived from petroleum. The function of these substances is to create the film or layer over the skin to avoid skin dehydration.
Moisturising substances Helps retain air moisture in the skin. The most common is glycerin, but urea or honey is also frequently used in hand creams.
Emollient substances They make the skin feel soft after the application of the cream and also provide an extra hydration that is ideal for older or very dry skin.
Vitamins The most common vitamins in hand creams are A, C and E. In addition to their moisturising qualities, they soften scars and stimulate collagen production.
Acids Hyaluronic acid or lactic acid is usually used in hand cream. Its function is to prevent the loss of hydration of the skin and maintain skin elasticity.

How and when should hand cream be applied?

There is really no strict rule as to how you should apply hand cream. Generally speaking, to apply any type of cream it is advisable to take a small amount to start with and spread it gently with your hands. To make it easier, you can apply the lotion on the back of the hand and take small portions with the other hand.

Cream should be applied to both the palms of the hands and the back of the hands. The palms are thicker and more resistant, while the skin on the back of the hand is more delicate and has fewer sebaceous glands, making it dry out easier. It is important to focus on the top of the hand especially when applying a hand cream with a sun protection factor.

The packaging of hand creams varies, the important thing is that the content has what you need.
(Source: Maria Kovalets: 29268290/

As for frequency for applying hand cream, again there is no exact rule. You should aim to at least apply your hand cream once a day, however it is recommended to use it every time your hands feel dry or dehydrated. Many women use their hand cream several times a day, it really depends on your personal preferences. The absolute best time to apply hand cream is just before going to bed, so that the cream can sink into the skin and the hands can rehydrate overnight.

What causes dry or peeling skin on the hands?

There are two common factors when it comes to poor quality skin on the hands. First there are the unavoidable factors, such as existing skin problems that you may suffer from. Secondly there are the external or natural factors that we briefly mentioned in previous sections.

In the following table we will cover some of the external factors to consider when it comes to dry skin:

External elements Effect
Type of water The type of water that you use to take a shower or wash the dishes is a key factor when it comes to loss of hydration. Hard waters, those that are very rich in minerals such as lime, tend to dry out your skin. This is because these minerals absorb moisture from hands and other parts of the body.
Hand washing  The more you wash your hands, the more they will dry out. Washing you hands actually removes the natural sebum film from the epidermis, which serves to protect the hands. At the same time, the minerals in the water, especially if it is hard water, and the chemicals in the soap dehydrate the skin further.
Diet A healthy diet, rich in foods that contain healthy oils, such as salmon, nuts or avocados helps the skin to be elastic and hydrated. In addition, it is important to drink plenty of water every day.
Climate We have mentioned the climate factors earlier in the guide. The cold, wind or sun extract the natural moisture from the skin, so it is essential that you repair the damage caused to your hands with a suitable moisturiser. This is even more critical if you live in the place with a naturally harsh climate, such as the Pilbara, Tasmania or the outback.

How can we prevent our hands from cracking or drying out?

There are certain factors, such as climate you live in, from which you cannot do much more than mitigate its effects. If you work in a job that requires significant use of the hands such as a manual labour job, it is probably not an option to find a new line of work. There are however some measures that you can take to minimise the dryness in the hands, beyond just applying a hand cream.

It is ideal to drink about eight glasses of water a day, in order to stay sufficiently hydrated. This depends on each person, but two litres per person is the daily average amount of water recommended. In addition, you should try to wear gloves every time you perform an activity that may damage your hands, such as washing the dishes or cleaning with aggressive chemicals. If you have any natural dietary deficiencies, you can also take vitamin supplements to improve the skin quality of your hands.

How do I choose a cream for mature hands?

With age, the skin changes and has needs that you do not have when you are young. The loss of hydration is accentuated with older age and it is necessary to resort to additional help, such as hand creams, to compensate for this. The best advice to delay the effect of ageing on the skin of the hands is to use sunscreen on your hands every day.

It is important to remember that you cannot fight against the effects of age, merely manage them. Mature skin often requires hand creams containing vitamins A, C and E, which fix dry spots and promote collagen production. Also recommended for older people are creams that contain acids, such as hyaluronic or lactic acid. These prevent dehydration of the hands and promote elasticity in the skin.

Many creams already include sun protection.
(Source: Ninamalyna: 56915010/

What can I do if I don't like the greasy feeling from hand cream?

There are many people who do not use hand cream because they do not like the feeling of residue that is left on the skin after using hand cream. Some people are so against this sensation that they prefer to feel their hands dry rather than greasy. If you are one of these people, you should know that the residue sensation can be avoided by opting for lighter creams, less greasy creams or even creams with a matte finish.

Furthermore, you can choose to apply hand cream at times of the day when you are not going to use your hands. It's normal that you don't find it pleasant to handle papers or your mobile phone with greasy hands. To avoid this, you can apply the hand cream just before you jump into bed, so you don't have to suffer from that feeling of residue on your skin.

Shopping Criteria

You may already know more or less what type of hand cream you are looking for. However to ensure that you make the right purchase decision, there is no harm in reviewing some basic purchase criteria to ensure the product you've selected is just right. As we've already told you, there are a lot of hand creams on the market and not all of them will suit everyone. When you buy a hand cream, we recommend that you take into account the following shopping criteria:


There are as many formats and forms of application as there are manufacturers of hand creams. In this guide we presented five products that come in a tube, which is the most common form. The glass bottle is the second most common form when it comes to hand cream packaging. Which is more practical for you? This is something only you can decide.

Those who use hand cream on a daily basis tend to opt for the tube format, which is very convenient to apply the lotion anywhere and when you are on the go. On the other hand, if you're one of those people who only applies cream when you hop into bed, you probably don't mind if it's in a glass jar or plastic tube.

It's never too late to take care of your skin.

Skin type

Not everyone has the same skin type and not all skin has the same needs. It is important to remember that not all skin reacts in the same way to hand cream and the different ingredientes that is present in each product. Do you know what type of cream you should use depending on the needs of your hands? Take a look at the below table to find out more:

Skin type Cream recommended
Dry or rough skin Hands that simply have dry or dehydrated skin require a cream that is less dense. The goal is to repair any dry parts and maintain healthy skin.
Cracked and lined skin Cracked hands require a cream that moisturises and repairs cracked areas. Creams that include natural oils, such as shea butter, in their formulas are perfect for this skin type.
Damaged skin This is the worst state in which the skin of our hands can be found, although it is not irreversible. Damaged skin needs a cream with regenerating and healing properties. It is also important to maintain a consistent routine when it comes to hand cream application in the case of damaged skin.
Mature skin Mature skin also requires special care when it comes to the hands. Sun Protection Factor (SPF) is essential, as are the vitamins and nourishing ingredients that restore elasticity to ageing skin.


Another important factor to take into account when purchasing a hand cream is its composition. As you can imagine, depending on the needs of your skin, your hands will require a cream with a specific formulation. In any case, it is important that you look for creams with active ingredientes as mentioned in previous sections, such as vitamins, specific acids and beneficial substances.

Drier skins should use creams that have ingredients that prevent moisture loss, such as glycerin, urea, alba wax, glycine or sodium chloride. Sensitive skins, on the other hand, should avoid creams that contain perfumes, chemicals and parabens. Those who have sensitive skin should opt for natural soothing ingredients, such as oats, aloe vera, centella extracts or marigold.

Sun Protection Factor (SPF)

We cannot forget that the hands, more especially the back of the hands, are continuously exposed to radiation from the sun. UV rays are the principle cause of skin ageing, which leads to loss of elasticity in the skin, lines and dark spots.

To prevent the signs of ageing from appearing on your hands, opt for a hand cream with Sun Protection Factor among the ingredients. Not all hand creams offer sun protection in their formula, since many are designed to be applied just before you go to sleep. However it is not be difficult to find a hand cream that contains SPF, since more and more brands are becoming sun smart.

Keeping your skin hydrated is fundamental to your health.
(Source: Antonio Guillem: 81992366/


Choosing a hand cream that has the right texture for you is critical, otherwise you simply won't use it. Today there are creams on the market with all kinds of textures, such as thick paste, mousse, liquid or even oil. Ask yourself how much the oily residue sensation in your hands bothers you and make your selection with this in mind.

Don't forget that thicker or heavy creams usually have better moisturising qualities. If you have a serious issue with dry hands, you may want to opt for a cream with a richer, thicker texture that takes longer to absorb and may leave your hands feeling greasier. However by choosing a cream such as this, it will help you to quickly return your hands to being soft and moisturised.


Until only a few years ago, hand cream was a product that was used only for practical reasons and the variety was very limited. There were a couple of brands, such as the types for anti-ageing, and most people used the same brands for years without changing. Nowadays there are so many options on the market that each one is tailored to the specific needs of a skin type.

We hope that our guide has helped you learn more about hand creams and that now you have a clear idea of what to value and what to take into account when buying a product of this type. There are so many options when it comes to hand cream, each each of them serving a different purpose that you don't have to be satisfied with the first one you find.

Have you already found the perfect hand cream for you? Why don't you tell us about it in the comments? We want to know! Also, if our guide has been helpful to you, we encourage you to share it on your social networks.

(Source of featured image: Progressman: 48048650/