Product Reviews: Hand Cream
An old saying goes that when it comes to age, the hands don't lie. You can guess a lot about a woman by looking at her hands; not just her age, but also what type of work she does and even the climate she lives in. That's why it's so important to take care of your hands on a daily basis.
Think about it, what other body part endures more punishment than our hands? They're out in the elements for most of the year. They're plunged into dirt, grime, and household cleaning solutions. They endure repeated washing.
If you're young, you may not have any hand complaints worse than some dry skin now and then, but the daily wear and tear you put on your hands now is laying the groundwork for more noticeable problems like premature wrinkling and age spots down the road.
One of the best ways to avoid damage to the skin on your hands is to find an effective hand cream and use it regularly. Hand creams relieve dryness, provide protection against environmental damage, and sometimes even reduce the appearance of aging.
There are hand creams available for all types of skin and all kinds of moisturizing needs. Maintaining the health of your hands is a long-term commitment; it pays to have a few different hand creams around the house (and at work) that suit your needs so you'll be ready to protect and beautify your hands anytime and anywhere.
Relief For Extra-Dry Hands
Some women suffer from dry hands that become red, cracked and irritated. For hand dryness this severe, your everyday lotion just won't do the trick; you need a crème that's made specifically to penetrate the layers of skin and deliver essential moisture to where you need it the most.
If you have seriously dry skin, Bag Balm can probably help. Bag Balm began providing soothing skin for relief for farmers and farm animals in 1899, and over the years has become a trusted name in skincare for people from all walks of life. Its heavy-duty formula heals dry and weather-beaten skin with its unique blend of natural ingredients. If you live in a rural area, you can find this product at your local farm and feed store. If you're a city slicker, you may be able to find it a large drug store, or you can order it online.
Sometimes, it can be hard to find an ultra-healing hand cream that isn't slick and slippery on your hands. It isn't always practical to have to wait for several minutes to touch anything after applying your hand cream. If you're looking for a hand cream that's fast absorbing and effective on very dry skin, Aveeno Intense Relief Hand Cream (average cost; $6.50) may be your best bet. It contains calming colloidal oatmeal to soothe your dry itchy skin, and the unscented formula is great for those with sensitivities to fragrance.
Plenty of products claim to be able "turn back the hands of time", so to speak, but which ones actually work? While any hand cream with good-quality moisturizers will shield your hands from dryness and sun damage, some hand creams contain extra ingredients that work to reduce the appearance of loosening skin and the telltale "crosshatch" pattern of wrinkles many of us notice as we age.
In order for a hand cream to be effective at fighting the signs of aging, it needs to have some key components. Formulas vary, but some ingredients to look out for include antioxidants, rich emollients, and collagen. StriVectin Hand Cream (suggested price; $38) contains all these and more. StriVectin is infused with a patented form of Niacin discovered by skin cancer researchers. This formula works to repair and renew your skin.
Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) is another beneficial ingredient that may be found in anti-aging hand creams. AHA gently exfoliates the skin to help return it to a more youthful appearance. Hand crèmes with AHA can be helpful in fading sun damage. One to try: Eucerin Plus Intensive Repair Hand Crème (average price; $5.49)
For everyday hand maintenance, it's a good idea to use a hand cream with sun protection. This is especially important if you want to avoid or repair signs of aging on your hands. Most women remember to apply a facial moisturizer with sunscreen but completely overlook the fact that their hands need sun protection too, and not just during the summer. Neutrogena Age Shield Hand Cream SPF 30 (suggested price; $6) provides a high level of sun protection and is clinically proven to diminish the signs of aging on your hands in just 4 weeks.
Water-Resistant Hand Creams
Water is one of the most common aggravating factors for dry hands. Dermatologists recommend that you use lukewarm water for most of your washing tasks, because the super-hot water many of us use in excess robs your hands of vital natural moisture. Wear a pair of rubber gloves for those jobs like mopping and dishwashing that call for hot water. Rubber gloves are inexpensive, easy to throw on in a second, and can save you a lot of misery in the long run.
Even if you use lukewarm water for most of your washing tasks, you probably notice that your hand cream disappears after each wash. Reapplying after every hand wash can be a drag, especially for people in professions that require frequent hand washing and sanitizing. Luckily there are hand creams designed with water resistance in mind. These creams are usually thick formulations that form a protective layer for your skin that doesn't disappear after being exposed to water.
The Body Shop's Hemp Hand Protector (suggested price; $10-$18) contains essential fatty acids that penetrate deep into your skin to provide dry hand relief that stands up to hand washing.
The 8 or so hours that you're asleep is probably the longest stretch of time you go without washing your hands, so put it to good use! Avon Skin So Soft Renew & Refresh Overnight Corrective Hand Treatment (suggested price; $6) is a good, affordable overnight hand cream. Slather it on before bed, put on a pair of thin cotton or micro fiber spa gloves, and you'll wake up with noticeably softer hands.