I don’t think any of us have ever washed out hands as much as we have in the last few weeks. That’s not to say we all walked around coated in a fine level of germs and bacteria because we couldn’t be bothered to run them under a tap for a few seconds, but right know our awareness levels are heightened and we’re increasingly concerned about everything that they touch. We’re told continually to wash our hands, for the safety of ourselves and others, and we’ve been dutifully abiding – but the downside of those twenty seconds massaging in soap and singing ‘Happy Birthday’ multiple times a day is dry, tight, uncomfortable and cracked skin.
If you’re lucky enough to have a hand hygiene gel in your possession too, these only exacerbate the problem; by their nature they’re incredibly drying and cause the essential moisture on the surface of skin to evaporate, leaving hands craving more than a little attention. So how do you restore your hands to their former glory? What are the best hand creams to help soothe dry, cracked and over-washed hands? These are the three I think will really make a difference…
Nursem Caring Hand Cream (£9.99)
Not only is this a cracking product, but it’s also developed by nurses for nurses – and that’s never been more important to support than now. When founder Antonia was forced to take a week off work because her hands were so sore, cracked and bleeding from the constant hand washing required to keep her patients safe, she set about creating a hand cream to help. Nursem is packed full of nourishing, protective and restoring ingredients that include Glycerin, Manuka Honey NPA 15+, Pro-Vitamin B5, Salicylic Acid, Vitamin E, Soya Bean Oil,Passion Flower Oil, Pomegranate Seed Oil and Grape Seed Oil; it’s also rich in Omega 3, 6 and 9 and Manuka Honey NPA +15.
The result is a super hydrating and soothing formula that’s surprisingly light, absolutely non-sticky and grease-free. It’s been designed to be applied multiple times a day, so it’s perfect for times like this when you want to be able to apply a little and get on with your day. What I love even more about Nursem Caring Hand Cream is that they provide a month’s free supply to a nurse for every one bought – and right now they’re commiting to provide 10,000 further to the NHS front line. A great brand with an ever greater heart.
O’Keeffee’s Working Hands (£7.99)
One of the most hardworking hand creams out there, this was designed for use by tradesmen who are always using their hands but are far less likely to look after them. Enriched with potent and highly concentrated glycerin to help lock in moisture and allow the skin to heal, a little of this really does go a long way; a small pea-sized amount is all you need to coat hands, while massaging a little before bed will help to restore dry skin as you sleep. It’s unscented and clinically proven to help repair dry, cracked skin (there’s even a money back guarantee) so it’s definitely one that’s suitable for the whole family. It may be more functional than a lot of hand creams, but right now we’re all after something that works – not just something that looks pretty next to the sink!
L’Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream (£21.50)
An iconic classic that I always have in rich supply, it may be more expensive but lasts a really long time and is absolutely worth the investment. (You can also buy in smaller more handbag-friendly tubes for £8.00.) Each tube is enriched with 20% Shea Butter, which features high concentrations of fatty acids and vitamins to soften skin, alongside providing anti-inflammatory and healing properties that are very much needed to soothe our dry hands. The formula also features a blend of Almond, Honey and Coconut Oil for added nourishment, justifying why it’s so loved and a hand cream is sold around the world every three seconds.
For over 15 years the Shea Butter Hand Cream has been one of L’Occitane’s most iconic products, because it’s simply so beautiful to use and incredibly effective. It’s very creamy and very rich, meaning you don’t need a huge amount to make a difference, without being sticky or greasy. And just to highlight something incredible the brand are doing right now: not only are they donating thousands of hand creams to NHS staff in need, but their factories are currently switching to make hand sanitiser for the French health service who’s so desperately in need of such supplies. Supporting the brands who support the people has never felt so good.
My advice for helping to soothe and repair dry, cracked, irritated hands is:
1. Apply hand cream onto fully dry hands straight after they’ve been washed – don’t wait for them to get bad before you start addressing the issue.
2. Take time twice a day to really massage in the cream, paying specific attention to between the fingers and around the cuticle beds.
3. Massage in a rich and thick layer before bed to allow your skin to absorb it as you sleep, helping to restore dry skin while you’re not putting it under additional pressure.
Stay safe, and stay hydrated!