Hand sanitizer and hand washing may dry you out—but these top-rated hand creams will bring back critical hydration.

By Braelyn Wood
March 04, 2020
Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.

If you’re skipping hand cream, you might want to think again. Hands are washed and sanitized more times a day than any other body part—and that constant cleansing has a drying effect. 

“Harsh soaps can strip the skin barrier leaving them dry, irritated, painful, and even more wrinkly,” Connecticut-based dermatologist Mona Gohara, MD, tells Health. 

While your first thought might be to avoid alcohol-based sanitizers or reduce hand washing to prevent overdrying, that’s definitely a risky move, especially with flu season still in swing and the current global outbreak of novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Keep in mind that both hand washing and alcohol-based hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol concentration are recommended by doctors and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] to prevent the spread of germs that can lead to illnesses.

Instead of pulling back on this vital step in keeping yourself healthy, it’s worth investing in a good hand cream. Their moisturizing formulas are “the antidote” to dryness, according to Dr. Gohara, and they’ll “keep the [skin] barrier strong.” It's important to maintain a healthy skin barrier because a compromised one is more likely to become irritated, which leaves room for subsequent infection.  

But when it comes to hunting down the best hand creams, not all ingredients are the same. While Dr. Gohara personally uses Skinfix Ultra Rich ($7; amazon.com), she also recommends searching for ingredients like glycerin, dimethicone, shea butter, or mineral oil, all of which help restore your skin’s natural moisture. To give you a hand in your search, we’ve collected the top-rated hand creams from around the web. Read on to discover your perfect pick for soft, smooth skin:

Best for Extra Dry Skin: O’Keeffe’s Working Hand Cream

Amazon

If you’re constantly dealing with dry hands, this Amazon best-seller should be your top pick. The unscented cream repairs dehydrated, cracked skin through a combination of moisturizing glycerin, paraffin, and mineral oil. It even keeps your hands feeling supple and soft for hours after application by creating a moisture-locking barrier on the skin’s surface. While you can purchase a single 3-ounce tube of this “life-changing” hand cream, it’s worth considering a multipack. Many reviewers said they stockpile jars around their home—including one registered nurse who keeps a tube in their car, purse, and locker at work to combat excess drying from constantly sanitizing their hands. 

Available at amazon.com, 2 for $11

Best Drugstore Option: Eucerin Advanced Repair Hand Cream

Amazon

This budget-friendly find combines ceramides, which build up the skin’s moisture barrier, and shea butter, a nutrient-packed ingredient that locks in hydration. The result? A fragrance-free formula that quickly absorbs into skin and boosts moisture levels while preventing further dryness. And with almost 700 positive reviews on Amazon, it’s clear this affordable drugstore pick succeeds. 

Available at amazon.com, 3 for $14 (was $17)

Best Long-Lasting: L’Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream

Amazon

Not every high-end beauty product is worth the splurge, but this luxury choice is one of L’Occitane’s best-sellers for a reason. The creamy balm is crafted with a high concentration of shea butter blended with sweet almond oil and organic honey to soothe, nourish, and soften skin. Its thick consistency is not only fast-absorbing but also lasts on the skin through multiple washes, so you won’t have to constantly reapply. But thanks to the fresh scent and non-greasy feel, you might want to.  

Available at amazon.com, $29

Best for Sensitive Skin: Ahava Dead Sea Mineral Hand Cream

Amazon

Multiple reviewers with sensitive skin gave this nourishing hand cream their stamp of approval. Its unique formula is crafted from nutrient-rich water sourced from the Dead Sea, skin-smoothing witch hazel, healing allantoin, and 21 essential minerals—including magnesium, calcium, and potassium—so your hands feel instantly softer without a greasy film. Plus, it comes in four fresh scents, including a unisex ocean-inspired fragrance. 

Available at amazon.com, $15

Best for Eczema: Aveeno Eczema Therapy Hand & Face Cream

Amazon

According to Aveeno, this fast-acting cream helped 83% of eczema patients see visible improvements in the appearance of their hands in just one week—and it even earned the National Eczema Association stamp of approval for relieving eczema symptoms like itchiness, dryness, redness, and irritation. But unlike many other eczema treatments, you won’t find steroids in this affordable lotion: Instead, it’s formulated with colloidal oatmeal, a scientifically proven natural moisturizer and anti-inflammatory agent, along with barrier-protecting ceramides. Already deemed a “miracle cream” by reviewers, it’s no surprise the gentle fragrance-free pick has 91% positive ratings.

Available at amazon.com, 3 for $15

Best Scent: J.R. Watkins Natural Moisturizing Hand Cream

Amazon

Some hand creams may get a bad reputation for their faintly medicinal scents, but the hospital will be the furthest thing from your mind when applying this hand cream. Each tube is crafted with 3 primary ingredients—shea butter, cocoa butter, and jojoba oil—with additional ingredients added to achieve scent profiles like Green Tea & Aloe or Lemon Cream. While you’ll still get all the hydration and nourishment your hands could ever want, the delightful fragrances are the true sell, with at least 100 people commenting on the robust scent selection. 

Available at amazon.com, $7

Best Anti-Aging: StriVectin Volumizing Hand Cream

Dermstore

Your hands are one of the first body parts to show signs of aging, but this hydrating cream is designed to prevent that. It strengthens thinning skin by fortifying the natural barrier with shea butter and repairs sun damage and discoloration with vitamin C. Beyond a collection of other anti-aging ingredients, like resveratrol and dimethicone, it also boats SPF to shield your skin from future sun damage. Despite a higher price tag, reviewers say it’s worth the splurge and has led to a noticeable difference in their skin’s plumpness. 

Available at dermstore.com, $29

Best Multipurpose: Nivea Soft Moisturizing All-In-One Cream

Amazon

This popular pick checks all the boxes: Its creamy formula is moisturizing, long-lasting, and soothing. But even better is that it’s optimized for use on your entire body, from head to toe—or rather, face to feet. The dermatologist-approved cream is concocted with jojoba oil and vitamin E for a super lightweight formula that offers long-lasting moisture. Already the “go-to cream” of multiple reviewers, the super affordable lotion will serve multiple purposes in your medicine cabinet. 

Available at amazon.com, 3 for $9

Best Natural: Burt’s Bees Almond & Milk Hand Cream

Amazon

Dried out hands are no match for this all-natural find, which combines the power of moisturizing sweet almond oil and hydrating vitamin E to rejuvenate hands, elbows, feet, and knees. Just a small dollop goes a long way to soothe rough hands, with the addition of beeswax helping to seal and condition broken skin. While it should be avoided by anyone with nut allergies, it’s a favorite of many customers and has earned 93% positive ratings. 

Available at amazon.com, $9

Best Non-Greasy: Elta MD So Silky Hand Crème

Amazon

Everyone from Drew Barrymore to Mindy Kaling can’t stop raving about Elta MD’s sunscreen, but it turns out the brand’s lightweight hand cream deserves equal praise. The fragrance-free lotion gives skin up to 12 hours of moisture through a combination of vitamin E, jojoba oil, and ceramides. Reviewers confirm the formula not only lasts through hand washing, but also reduces the appearance of skin discoloration by adding brightness back to the hands.

Available at amazon.com, $19

Best for Winter: Avène Cold Cream Concentrated Hand Cream

Dermstore

Specially formulated to repair dry, chapped hands from harsh winter weather, this hypoallergenic treatment was carefully tested under severely cold conditions to provide up to 24 hours of moisturization—and it lasts through up to 5 hand washings. With key ingredients like thermal spring water, pure white beeswax, and paraffin oil, it passes the hydration test. Called a great option for “chronic hand washers,” it also has the perfect consistency, shoppers say, with one user raving that it’s “not too thick or light.”

Available at amazon.com, $15

Best with Sun Protection: Supergoop! Forever Young hand Cream

Amazon

Many people wash off excess sunscreen in the sink rather than rubbing it in, and if you do, your hands pay the price. But this moisturizing find with sun protection saves the day thanks to a clean formula powered by hydrating meadowfoam oil and argan oil. You’ll love that it gives your hands protection with SPF 40, but still smells elegant with notes of eucalyptus and tangerine that have earned it positive ratings from 78% of users.

Available at amazon.com, $14

Editor’s Pick: Gold Bond Ultimate Intensive Healing Hand Cream

Amazon

This intense hydrating cream is the only way to soothe my dry hands in cold winter weather. Its lightweight formula provides hours of moisture thanks to positive ions in the formula firmly attaching to the skin’s barrier. Despite the long-lasting wear, it never leaves behind a greasy or uncomfortable film. Needless to say, it’s my personal favorite. 

Available at amazon.com, $4

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