best hand cream dry winter skin eight saints

How to Find the Best Hand Cream For Parched Winter Skin

Winter is nevereasy on the skin. Between dry, cold air, moisture-sucking central heating, and stripping hot water, it can zap away softness and dry skin out in an instant. Throw in all the extra hand-washing and sanitizing we’re doing these days, and it’s nearly impossible to keep hands from flaking, cracking, and looking a mess.

Luckily, the right hand cream can do wonders to soothe parched winter skin. Here’s what you should - and shouldn’t - be looking out for.

How Hand Cream Works

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First thing’s first: how does hand cream reallywork to moisturize and protect the skin? The right hand cream will contain a combination of humectants, emollients, and occlusives, and these ingredients are all crucial if you want your hand cream to work. Why?

Humectants work to draw moisture in from surrounding areas, providing lasting hydration to the skin. Emollients and occlusives, on the other hand, work to seal that moisture in, repairing the skin’s natural barrier and providing lasting protection over time. If you have justhumectants, you’ll notice that your hands might feel moisturized right away, but that the moisture simply doesn’t last.

Similarly, if you apply a product with only emollients or occlusives – like Vaseline, or example – you may notice that your hands feel greasy on top while remaining dry underneath.

In other words, you’ll deal with incomplete, not-so-great moisture.

Hand Cream Ingredients You Shouldn’t Use

That’s not the only issue you should look out for. Some hand creams also contain ingredients that can actually hurtyour skin and exacerbate further dryness.

The thought process here? On one hand, some companies want you to need their products, so they include ingredients that make you more reliant on their lotions. This includes things like:

  • Synthetic fatty alcohols – added to improve product texture – that feelgood but actually cause allergic reactions, redness, and impaired barrier function.
  • Silicone, which makes lotions more spreadable but actually clogs pores and interferes with healthy skin cell turnover.

In the same vein, many products often include preservatives, fragrances, alcohols and other no-no ingredients you should totally avoid (you can find the whole list here).

The top no-no’s on our list?

  • Parabens like ethylparaben, propylparaben, or methylparaben. These are meant to extend shelf life, but they can actually enter your bloodstream and disrupt your endocrine system - yikes!
  • Synthetic fragrances or perfumes, which can irritate the skin and cause allergic reactions.
  • Butylated Hydroxy Anisole and Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT), synthetic antioxidants that actually have carcinogenic and endocrine-disrupting properties.

Hand Cream Ingredients That Work

So what shouldyou look for specifically? We recommend ingredients like:

  • Hemp seed oil, a fatty acid-rich oil that can reduce inflammation, regulate oil production, and hydrate skin.
  • Vitamin C, an MVP antioxidant that works to reduce signs of aging, reverse photodamage (the number one cause of visible signs of aging), and strengthen the skin.
  • Avocado oil, a dry skin savior that’s packed with vitamins – including vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin C, and vitamin E – and rich in lecithin, a lipid that helps deliver nutrients directly into the deep layers of the skin.
  • Cacao butter, a stabilized vegetable extract known to reduce scarring, provide antioxidant benefits, and richly moisturize the skin.
  • Shea butter, a fat extracted from African shea nuts that can soothe eczema, reduce fine lines, and rebuild a damaged skin barrier.

Find all of these ingredients and more in our Almond Butter Sugar High Hand Cream.