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What’s Curing Your Dry Rough Cracked Hands?

My poor hands. Living in Utah is great, but with the dry Winter weather here, my hands suffer. I’ve been applying all kinds of moisturizer and thought I’d share what’s been working for me.

  • Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream: I like this, but really only for everyday use. It’s not as hard core as I want it to be to relieve my major damaged hands. But I do like this one for my kids. We put it on their hands at night and it’s mild enough that it doesn’t sting their hands, as some lotions can.
  • Aquafor Ointment: This one is my favorite. I smother it on and let my hands rejuvenate overnight. It is VERY greasy, so wear gloves or stick with something more mild if you’d rather not get the oil in your bed. But I’ve found Aquafor to really help heal my finger’s cracks.
  • Super Glue: Speaking of finger cracks… I use super glue to relieve the pain of finger cracks (the kind that come right near the finger nail and hurt when you type or write). Super glue really helps seal them up! It’s probably not the safest, but it does the trick, just be careful when you use it. My sister let me in on this tip a few years back, as she uses it on her cracked heels during the summer months too. Gorilla Glue’s super glue has been my favorite brand.
  • Burt’s Bees: Burt really puts those bees to work to make a great moisturizer. I really like the purple hand repair creme above. And it smells fabulous, helping put me to sleep when I wear it at night.
  • Eucerin Intensive Hand Cream: This one is great. It’s not too oily, so I feel like I can wear it throughout the day, as well as night. But I do tend to stick with the Aquafor when they are bad enough for some major hand therapy.
  • Moisturizing Gloves: Eh, I’m not in love with these, sorry Jordan! They are super soft, but they make my hands hot. You’re supposed to wear them to bed overnight and I always end up taking them off after just a couple of hours.

  • Petit Elefant’s Homemade Sugar Scrub: So simple and easy, I love this stuff. It’s great for all day. I rub it on, wash most of it off, and it leaves just enough of the oil to keep my hands feeling great. And it smells like cookies with the brown sugar and vanilla!!

What types of moisturizer do you use that have healed your Winter weathered hands?

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51 comments

  1. I wash dishes by hand and in winter the combination of detergent and hot water damaged my hands so badly I used to cry when I moved my fingers in the morning. My fingers were covered with red spots and little cuts that would not heal. The dermatologist gave me a cream but he said it would not work until I wear rubber gloves. But the most important, he said, is to wear cotton gloves inside the rubber gloves, so the skin is not in contact with the rubber. I made them cutting an old cotton T shirt. It really works for me.

  2. Hi, I am from Utah too, my sister had cracked hands so bad, it was so very painful. Mine would crack too but not as bad as hers. My mom tried everything from lotions to Orsa clay, nothing helped much. We got an herb preparation book from Debra Nuzzi and she has a Winter Hand Cream recipe that we now make every winter and it helps beyond description! Its so worth it.

  3. I too have the same problem. I am a groomer & always have my hands in water & shampoo, then the dryer I use doesn’t help either. I have been experimenting with different things also. My hands crack so badly that they bleed whenever I even grab anything. I tried neosporin when my hands were so sore & cracked, it really didn’t work like I thought it would. However I have always used Aquaphor on my daughters face at night & it always worked. So I thought what the heck & gave it a try. I am sold on it! I won’t use anything else when they get really bad. Anyway I just wanted to chime in on my experience with Aquaphor, definately the best for extreme dry, cracked hands.

  4. Outdoor Hands Intense Skin Therapy is probably the best up and coming product for dry, cracked skin and lips. Pharmacist formulated and even works on radiation burns and sunburns. MDs are even recommending it to their diabetic patients to us on their dry scaly legs and feet. We recommend this to all of our patients.

  5. I hate cracked dry hands but I also hate greasy hands even more so I have suffered with the dryness just so I don’t have to have the greasiness!

    I love, love, love Aveda Hand Relief. I use it at night but it’s also great for the daytime – it isn’t overly greasy, and WORKS. It seems to rub in really well and stay on skin fairly well, even after a handwashing.

  6. I love Vermont’s original BAG BALM. It comes in a square green tin. Depending on where you live, CVS carries it. You can also order it from drugstore.com. It is greasy like vaseline, but works wonders for dry hands, heels and is the only thing we use for diaper rash.

  7. I suffer from the dreaded cracked heel syndrome. I make my own cream formula and use it year round…all over the body but sparingly on my face. It’s very thick and wonderfully emollient. Drop me a line if you are interested. It also promotes nail growth. Has no artificial chemicals. [email protected]

  8. I also LOVE the Neutrogena Norweigan formula. It works, and you can still touch things without making them greasy! At night I sometimes slather on good old Bag Balm, in the green square tin.

  9. I have been using this amazing product for a few weeks now, not just for my hands, but also on my face. It is a breathable mask that you roll on at night and wash off in the morning. My hands were really chapped and I tried everything with little to no relief. My mom gave me this product and within 2 days of using it my hands were baby soft and have stayed that way! It works from the inside out to lock in your body’s natural moisture and it really works! It is great for dry skin, wrinkles, acne and even scars. I can’t live without it now! Email me if you would like more info- [email protected]

  10. We have tried everything on the shelf at the grocery store. Some are tolerated better than others, but with my daughter’s sensitive, excema-prone skin, she reacts to most things, including Acquafor and Eucerin. My mom recently made comfrey ointment from comfrey leaves, olive oil and beeswax. My girls love it! It’s a little greasey, but I lather them up and put on their pjs and they are happy girls. I put it on my hands, too, before bed and it’s helped a lot. I even ordered my own comfrey leaves and beeswax to make more. It smells heavenly from the beeswax and is all natural.

  11. Me again.
    The A & D ointment has lanolin in it which is probably the reason it works so well. Pure lanolin works great, but is more expensive.

  12. A & D ointment works for me. My hands get dry, sore, cracked, and red in the winter. If I put this on it heals them up within a day usually. Unless it’s a severe case. I put it on my kid’s chapped skin around their lips and their skin is no longer red the next day. It is a bit greasy at first but then absorbs.

    It works great for most diaper rashes too. But not as good for a barrier against moisture. But for healing I love it!

  13. When we lived in Utah my Husband’s hands cracked really bad in the winter and his job at the time exacerbated it. He used Badger Balm and that helped better than any lotions. I’m not sure where he found it then but you can find it on Amazon.

  14. I also get awful cracks around the top edges of my nails during winter months here in New Jersey. What helps heal them fast — and keep them at bay if I feel one coming on — is Burt’s Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream. I also use the Aquaphor ointment on the annoying eczema spots between my fingers, which are worse during the winter (sorry if all that was TMI) and it’s a wonder cream.

    I think the disposable wipes I use for changing diapers makes my skin worse and am planning to switch to cloth as soon as I finish making them. Gloves for washing dishes definitely help.

  15. Karen – My kids sometimes don’t like the feel of it either. There have been times when I’ve put it on them at night after they are asleep and they don’t know the difference.

  16. I started wearing gloves any time I washed dishes or cleaned. I’m super careful about what kinds of soaps I use on my hands. And I stopped using lotions with all the artificial ingredients and chemicals in them. I use Burt’s Bees lotion or Arbonne. Then when I have dry patches or cracks, I use Burt’s Bees Hand Salve in the flat yellow tin. It really works well. I think sometimes we can make matters worse when we start slathering on petroleum products and chemicals.

  17. My sons hands bleed they get so dry in the winter. Adding to this, he HATES the feel of lotion so I have to force him to put some on. He can’t stand Aquaphor or Eucerin and any other lotion I tried has something in it that hurts him. My mom gave us Udderly Smooth Udder Cream and it has been our miracle!!! We buy it at Walgreens. I’m not sure if they really use it on cows or if it’s a marketing gimmick, but I don’t care- I LOVE it!!!

  18. Oh my goodness! Aquaphor!!!!!! Duh!! I use it ALL THE TIME on my kids excema patches but have never even thought of it for my own scary Wisconsin weather damaged hands! THANK YOU!!!!! Trying it tonight!!!!

  19. My husband used to be a plumber and his hands have had issues ever since. The only lotion that gets his hands back on track is Gold Bond Ultimate moisturizer with Aloe. The Gold Bond brand as in the foot powder. Who would’ve thought? It’s great stuff though. In Canada it’s $10 a bottle but I think in the States it’s $8.99.

  20. I have tried most of the lotions and creams listed above, and keep a tube of the Neutrogena in my purse most of the time. But what I have found that seems to really help in the dry of winter is to keep a pump bottle by the sinks that has grapeseed oil in it. After I was my hands, I squirt a bit of the oil on them and rub it in, and on my poor scrubby elbows, and it really helps. I think olive oil or any liquid oil would probably do well, and it isn’t too greasy either because it is such a small amount and because I rub on the elbows too. I don’t keep the pump bottle full, so I don’t have to worry about it getting rancid on me, and I can add a bit of essential oil if I want to have it scented. Hope that helps.

  21. This is such a timely post! I woke up last night (in Utah) with cracked fingertip pain. I always try to put on Vaseline right out of the shower (like Stephanie), since it absorbs so quickly that way. I will try some of your other suggestions. Thank you!

  22. I always get cracks on my thumbs – even in the moist northwest! I use “New Skin”. It’s a liquid bandage. So maybe a little safer than super glue?? And it takes the pain away within a few hours (and it’s healed up the next day!). My mom gave me a jar of Working Hands Cream that I use when my hands get really dry. It works miracles!!

  23. I alternate regular Aquaphor and Neutrogena’s Norwegian Formula. I also started wearing gloves while doing dishes. I’ve had coconut oil suggested to me, but I haven’t tried it yet.

  24. My mom’s dermatologist and my brother (surgical resident) both suggest a new hand cream called CeraVe. I know that you can buy it at Walgreen’s for sure. It supposedly works with your skins own natural moisture and oils.

  25. I have used Mary Kay’s extra emollient night cream. It ver similar in texture to Aquaphor but even thicker. I use it on my feet mostly with socks. Aquaphor is high up ony list though.

  26. I found Neutrogena “Norwegian Formula” hand cream is AWESOME!! It reminds me a bit of Aquaphor consistency-wise, but it works IMMEDIATELY, and you don’t have to use a lot…softer hands on contact!! It’s amazing!!

    Sometimes, though, depending on where my hands have been (LOL, washing dishes, forgetting my gloves, etc…) I use the Aquaphor, or apply the Neutrogena stuff twice (once after I get home, then again before bed, usually). ANYWAYS, I highly recommend it. My hands start to get dry & cracked when the weather changes over in October, and this is the best stuff I’ve ever used for it :)

  27. AVON Silicone Glove is the best for me and my whole family. Not greasy and great for my sensitive skin. Cheap too- like less than $3. I am a rep- let me know if you want some and free shipping :)

  28. Ahh – THIS is the constant topic at my house. You’d think living on the Coast wouldn’t be so drying to the skin! My sister uses (and I just tried it) Dr Scholls Foot Cream. Whoa. Amazing. Not greasy at all. And totally absorbs right into the skin and takes care of all the sad cracked bits.

  29. I’m glad I’m not the only one suffering! And that most of you are finding relief. Thanks for giving your moisturizing suggestions. I’m going to have to check a few of them out.

  30. The only thing that has EVER worked for me (I have the dryest skin on the planet! It actually peels!) is called O’Keeffe’s Working Hands. I put it on at night, let it soak in my cracked and bleeding hands, and I am as smooth and soft as can be in the morning.

  31. My fav is Gold Bond Ultimate in Shea Butter. My husband gave this to me in my stocking this year because I am always complaining about my cracked finger-tips and heals. LOVE this stuff! Instantly satisfying and no greasy residue. I stocked up and got more at Walmart. I even like the Gold Bond Ultimate lotion hand sanitizer for my purse. A must!

  32. I live in Utah as well so I soooo understand :) I use Skin Milk. A moisturizer that can be found at Albertsons or Smiths market place. It is amazing!!! It’s the first winter I have not broken out in ezema. The best time to put it on is right after your shower or for your hands right after doing the dishes…..when your skin is moist. And there is no greasy feeling, which I love. It’s the best stuff! ………It is also the thing that has lightened all those lovley stretch marks from my first baby so I am using it faithfully right now on my second pregnancy and the stretch marks are so much lighter this time!!! Who wouldn’t want that :)

  33. I recently had an allergic reaction on my face due to a facial product or a vitamin (still trying to figure it out) and after days of suffering from peeking and itching, I applied some Aquafor (the dry skin formula) and in a matter of 24 hours I saw a drastic improvement in my skin. I applied a SMALL amount to my hands, rubbed it together and then applied, which cut down on the greasy feel; however it is still there slightly. But it worked so I can take the greasy feel for a day or two.

  34. I was on the constant search for the perfect lotions for dry chapped skin and eczema for years. I’ve had serious and mild cases of eczema throughout my life. I use Eucerin Calming Creme as soon as I get out of the shower, while my skin is still damp. I put that stuff all over, otherwise I am itchy all night during winter and I develop small eczema spots on my legs and feet.

    I use Cetaphil facial moisturizer and that helps keep away dry patches on my skin, again just when I get out of the shower.

    During the day I use Avalon Organics hand and body lotion in Lavender on my hands and that is the only lotion I have found that keeps them froming drying out in between handwashes and it doesn’t leave them greasy. Plus lavender is really good for your skin.

    For severe chapped hands and knuckles I have found that Burt’s Bees farmers hand salve is the most amazing thing. It heals and calms the ache. A little greasy at first but it goes away as it soaks in. This works great on your heels with socks overnight too!

  35. I have incredibly sensitive skin that is prone to very severe eczema and hand dermatitis. I even have to see a special dermatologist specializing in allergies for my condition. My Dr says to only use Dove Sensitive Skin cleanser on my hands (and body for that matter), Cetaphil is ok, but vaseline is the best. It’s ok to wipe off the excess on a towel, the important part gets into the skin. And avoid hand sanitizer. I know, hard to give up. But I haven’t used it for over a year and have remained very healthy. Just keep up the good handwashing routine. And ALWAYS wear gloves when outside. And wear gloves when washing dishers. I’ve followed these rules for over a year and notice such an improvement! Good luck!

  36. Oh I hear you! Between the hard water, the freezing cold & wind, hand washing and hand sanitizer my skin has NEVER been the same since I moved to UT from the Northwest 4 years ago!
    I got a Bath and Body Works gift card for Vday and I picked up their CHAPPED HANDS THERAPY ($12)…. and to my amazement, it really, really works! I have been using it 2 x’s a day and my hand no longer look like those of a 100 year old!

  37. I use Vick’s Vaporub at night and wear gloves or socks over my hands so it doesn’t make a big mess in the bed. It does the trick better than anything else I’ve ever tried!

  38. I wash my dishes by hand, so your mileage may vary on this, but this has really, really helped me! I got some cute dishwashing gloves, and generously apply my favorite bath & body works lotion to my hands, then put on my gloves and stick them in the hot soapy water and wash the dishes. If I take a break to have some tea, or check on the kiddos, when I come back I reapply the lotion even if it already feels soft. I’ve made this part of my routine, so now habit is on my side! :)

    I posted some pictures of my pretty gloves here http://naddy.blogspot.com/2010/02/squeaky-clean.html :)

  39. I would be interested to know what works too…the only thing that works for me is to slather on the vaseline and not move! Basically, all the creams and lotions are just vaseline but chemically altered to be less greasy and/or perfumes added…so vaseline is the source…but of course you can’t exactly do anything when you have it all over you hands!

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