The Best Lotion for Dry, Shriveled, Disgusting Hands (and Cute Babies)

My hands look about 100 years old. I never bother to paint my nails or wear fancy rings because I fear any embellishment would simply draw more attention to my flimsy nails and ragged cuticles. I’m also not particularly invested in keeping my hand-skin unblemished and supple. Though my day job includes tapping out stories on a computer and talking about writing in a classroom, by the look of my hands, you’d think I’d been toiling out in the fields. I’m always washing a dish, digging in the garden, or tiling my shower.

Me, tiling my shower, a crazed look in my eye. Also, mortar is murder for the skin.

While I’ve long ago given up the dream of moonlighting as a hand model, I still need to moisturize. Yes, need. If I don’t, my hands get so dry they crack and bleed. It’s uncomfortable. Ordinary lotion doesn’t help at all. It might sink in and make my skin look softer for fifteen minutes or so, but after that, it’s as if I’ve never applied it. And here’s a problem I’ve never heard others discuss before: when I go out into the rain wearing lotion, it melts right off my hands in a sickly white film.

What I need is heavy-duty hand cream. One that I’ve tried—and heard great things about from others—is Burt’s Bees Hand salve. I like the strong eucalyptus smell, and it does soothe my thirsty skin, but it’s not my favorite. It’s powerful stuff, with a base of almond and olive oils. I actually prefer an oily or even greasy formula, but this is just too greasy. You need to dedicate a good ten minutes to letting it soak in. (I do reserve an unabashed fondness for the Burt’s Bees lemon cuticle cream, however!)

Burt’s Bees Hand Salve

Burt’s Bees Cuticle Cream

So my leading favorite in hand salves is . . . Weleda Skin Food. Yes, it is expensive, but it’s the only stuff that seems to work on my hands—even through several hand washings! It’s heavy, but it doesn’t leave a greasy film. It somehow manages to soak in and then protect the skin from further wear and tear. I also love the citrusy scent.

Weleda Skin Food

A few months ago, I was sent a sample of the Weleda calendula baby cream. I gave it a try on my own hands, and it works just as well as the Skin Food! It’s so thick that I can’t really imagine using it on a baby, but I haven’t tried it, so I should reserve judgment. (Further research reveals that this product can be used as a diaper cream! Good to know. Weleda also makes a dedicated calendula diaper care cream.)

Weleda Calendula Baby Cream

What do you use to combat winter dryness? I’ve heard using pure coconut oil works, but I haven’t tried that yet.  Any other recommendations?



  1. I’ve tried every hand cream on the market, just about, and my current favorite is Curel Ultra Healing Lotion. If I put a thick layer of it on at bedtime, I don’t usually have to re-moisturize during the day.

  2. Good tip, Michele. I don’t think I’ve tried that one in a long time, but I’m intrigued by the slathering-up-at-night/ready for the day method!

  3. I’ve recently tried Weleda hand cream. It’s pretty good for dry
    wrinkled hands. Better, more comforting and flattering for mature skin, but expensive, are La Mer and La Prairie. I haven’t tried the even more expensive, but I have found that you get what you pay for. Burt’s Bees and other creams found at counters of nurseries are soothing but greasy, and do not cosmetically treat the hands. I do not recommend shopping in the boutique cosmetic shops as inviting as they are – they do not have a return policy. The best return policies are at the department stores. Since you will be paying a lot of money, it’s best to shop where the return policy is excellent. Save receipts.

  4. I keep a bottle of Made from Earth’ Holistic Honey Lotion at my desk. Not only does it heal my dry hands, but the smell, which is great, actually wakes me up during that afternoon lull. Instead of grabbing a candy bar or coffee I put on some lotion and the smell wakes me up, while taking care of my skin. Love it!

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