The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Best Hand Cream for Dry and Cracked Hands

Dry and cracked hands can be a constant nuisance, especially during cold weather or when frequently washing our hands. The delicate skin on our hands is often neglected compared to other parts of our body, like the face. However, using the right hand cream can make a significant difference in keeping our hands soft, hydrated, and protected. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the best hand creams available in the market that have been expert-tested to heal and hydrate dry, cracked skin effectively.

The Importance of Hand Creams

A hand cream is a handbag essential that should be part of your daily skincare routine. Regularly applying hand cream helps keep your skin hydrated, prevents cracking, and provides a protective barrier against environmental damage. It’s especially crucial for those who frequently wash their hands or work outdoors, where the skin is exposed to harsh elements. Hand creams contain occlusives and emollients that create a physical barrier on the skin, locking in moisture and preventing dryness. While hand creams can soothe and relieve symptoms, it’s essential to consult a healthcare professional for specific skin conditions like eczema.

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Our Top Picks: Expert-Tested Hand Creams

  1. Eucerin Advanced Repair Hand Cream
    • Key Ingredients: Glycerin, ceramides, lactic acid
    • Benefits: Highly moisturizing with anti-aging effects, spreads easily
  2. Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel Hand Cream
    • Key Ingredients: Glycerin, hyaluronic acid
    • Benefits: Increased skin hydration, non-greasy
  3. Dove DermaSeries Dry Skin Relief Hand Cream
    • Benefits: Best hand cream for winter
  4. Philosophy Hands of Hope Sparkling Grapefruit Hand Cream
    • Benefits: Best luxury hand cream

Choosing the Right Hand Cream

Selecting the best hand cream for your needs requires considering several factors. Here’s what to look for when buying a hand cream:

Skin Type and Concerns

Photo: Eucerin \ $15.91

Different hand creams cater to various skin types and concerns. If you have extremely dry skin, opt for rich and deeply moisturizing formulas with ingredients like shea butter, glycerin, or ceramides. For sensitive skin, look for hypoallergenic and fragrance-free options. If you need anti-aging benefits, choose creams with alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) that promote cell turnover for youthful-looking hands.

Hydration and Moisture

The primary purpose of a hand cream is to provide hydration and moisture to dry, cracked skin. Check the key ingredients to ensure they have moisturizing properties and can lock in moisture effectively.

Absorption and Non-Greasy Feel

Photo: neutrogena \ £4.40

A good hand cream should absorb quickly into the skin without leaving a greasy residue. This is especially important for those who need to use their hands immediately after application.

Additional Benefits

Some hand creams offer additional benefits like UV protection, nail and cuticle care, or anti-aging properties. Consider these extras if they align with your skincare needs.

Expert Testing and Reviews

Photo: Dove \ $8.99

At Good Housekeeping Institute, we rigorously test and review various hand creams to provide expert recommendations. Our testing process includes measuring skin hydration levels using specialized devices and gathering feedback from consumer testers on ease of use, texture, scent, and overall skin feel after application. We’ve put dozens of the most popular hand creams through these tests, and the results help us determine the best-performing products.


When it comes to caring for your hands, a high-quality hand cream is a must-have. Regularly applying hand cream can prevent dryness, cracking, and provide protection against environmental damage. Choose a hand cream that suits your skin type, provides sufficient hydration, and absorbs quickly. Our top picks, expert-tested hand creams, offer effective solutions for healing and hydrating dry, cracked hands.

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