With advice everywhere telling us to wash our hands and use anti-bacterial gel to stop the spread of coronavirus, our hands are drier than ever - these are the salves and creams saving the day
If you've been heeding the warnings about the best way to stop the spread of coronavirus, chances are you've been washing your hands and dousing them in anti-bacterial hand gel more than normal - and while you're hopefully free of the virus you might have noticed your mitts are getting very dry. Not ideal when the chilly temperatures are already leaving them chapped.
"Hands are the most used part of our body and with sales of hand sanitiser soaring, dermatologists have warned that alcohol-based gels can damage the skin’s natural barrier, weakening its defences and causing dryness and ageing," says dermatologist Dr Emma Coleman "To limit these side effects I recommend applying a hydrating hand cream after using hand sanitiser and washing hands, in order to help heal the skin."
Thankfully there's a whole host of hand creams out there to get them back to their silky soft best - here are the ones we're reaching on the regular.
Best hand cream for fragrance fans
Jo Loves Eucalyptus & Cedar Woods Hand Lotion, £40 for 375ml
This slightly alpine scent transports us far away from the bathroom sink and to a remote forest spa instead - dreamy when we're washing our hands for what feels like the twentieth time that day. The delicate scent lingers long after the nourishing hand cream has absorbed, leaving a trail of soothed skin and relaxing fragrance in its wake.
Best hand cream for anti-ageing
Margaret Dabbs London Intensive Anti-Aging Hand Serum, £30 for 30ml
Pioneer of the medical pedicure, Margaret Dabbs is an oracle when it comes to all things hands and feet - which is why we've included this even though it's not strictly a hand cream. Scented with uplifting geranium and mandarin, this serum is packed with anti-ageing antioxidants to leave hands visibly more silky, improving the elasticity and firmness of your skin, while diminishing age spots and creating an even tone. It's a delight to use rather than a chore, and some thicker hand care can be.
Best barrier protection hand cream
Bioderma Atoderm Hand & Nail Cream, £4.50 for 50ml
This nourishing hand cream reinforces the natural hydration of the skin and strengthens the hydrolipidic film to restore the skin’s barrier. It contains shea oil and glycerine and the formula is hypoallergenic so it is suitable for even sensitive skin.
Best budget hand cream
Soap and Glory Hand Food, £6 for 125ml - until April 7 you can save a third in Boots
If, like our digital designer Jemma, you love the inimitable Soap & Glory scent that lasts and lasts, you can't go wrong with this non-greasy hand cream. A little bit goes a really long way and it feels really thick and nourishing. Massage it your paws at bedtime to wake up with hands that are as good as new - or getting there, at least.
Best hand cream for brittle nails
Clarins Hand and Nail Treatment Cream, £23 for 100ml
This professional treatment cream is designed to shield the hands from the elements, minimise signs of ageing and also strengthen and condition nails. The cream itself is very rich yet absorbed into the skin very quickly, which is always a bonus as often cheaper hand creams can be quite greasy. If your nails are ravaged my gel manis (guilty!) this is one to invest in.
Best hand cream for rough hands
CeraVe Reparative Hand Cream, £5.50 for 50ml
We're yet to find a Cerave product we don't like and this no-nonsense, non-fragranced hand cream is just as effective as the other products from the dermatologist-led brand. It houses ceramides and hyaluronic acid to pack a moisturising punch - plus the innocuous packaging makes it great for every member of the family.
Best hand cream for brightening hands
Omorovicza Nourishing Hand Treatment , £45 for 100ml
This luxe hand cream turns dry, slightly grey looking mitts into silky, healthy-looking hands in a flash. Many products promise to ‘brighten’ as this one does (often with sparkly particles or iridescence) but this potion actually does just that without any shimmer or glimmer to speak of - we can’t quite put our silky smooth finger on it but our hands definitely look more dewy and youthful. While it may still seem a tad on the dear side, it holds a generous 100ml of product and will last you for months, given that you don’t need to reapply throughout the day.
Best hand cream for dry cuticles
Clinique Deep Comfort Hand and Cuticle Cream , £19.50 for 75ml
It's not only your hands that suffer from the drying side effects of anti-bacterial hand gel - your cuticles can get ragged too, so this is a great one to pop in your handbag. It’s also great for applying to cuticles to soften them before pushing them back if you're an at-home mani kind of girl. It feels almost balmy in texture and leaves skin deeply nourished ( good for very parched skin). Initially, your hands might felt slightly ‘coated’ but within a few minutes this disappears to leave hands very soft and smooth.
Best hand cream for teenagers
It's Skin Cookie & Hand Cream, £9.50 for 80ml
If your teen's hands are getting dry from over-zealous use of anti-bacterial gel (schools are telling them to take it in), ply them with this sweetly scented hand cream that packs a powerful punch, approved by editorial director Victoria's teenage daughter. It has a delicate cookie scent, but also comes in strawberry or mint for those who aren't Ben and Jerry's lovers.
Best for hand cream for keeping in your bag
Lumene Arctic Hydra Care Moisture and Relief Rich Hand Cream, £6.90 for 30ml
If anyone knows about plumetting temperatures it's the Nordic countries, which is why this rich hand cream is so good for protecting your hands in the most chilly climes. It provides thermal stress-protection against dehydration caused by temperature changes to reduce the appearance of dryness-induced redness - perfect if your hands are looking a little raw. Plus, the compact tube is perfect for popping in whatever bag you've got with you - even one of those microbags everyone's rocking at the moment.
Best SPF hand cream
Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Visibly Renew Hand Cream SPF20 , £5.49 for 75ml
It's just not a handcream round up without a Norwegian Formula included - this one has SPF 20 in the formula to prevent brown spots. You only need a tiny dab for instantly soothed hands, with the formula protecting the skin's barrier too to keep it moisturised. Not the most exciting handcream in our edit, but definitely one of the most reliable.
Best hemp hand cream
Burt's Bees Hemp Hand Cream, £9.99 for 70g
The cannabis leaf is cropping up on everything at the moment and with hemp being renowned for its soothing properties it makes sense for the ingredient to be included in a hand cream. This 99 per cent natural origin, non-greasy formula sinks in effortlessly while still providing heavy-duty hydration while the verbena and basil fragrance is fresh and uplifting.
Best CBD hand cream
Vitality CBD Infused: CBD Dry Skin Cream, £19.99 for 50ml
While we're on the subject of hemp, it's only right to mention CBD too, seeing as there's much confusion between the two. (Read our explainer on the difference between hemp and CBD for all you need to know). CBD in skincare is all the rage thanks to its ability to soothe red, sore skin and this cream includes not only CBD, but shea butter too for an extra protective formula that boosts the natural barrier of the skin. It's not just a hand cream and can be used all over the body, but we've been keeping it deskside to combat all the hand washing we've been doing.
Best anti-pollution hand cream
Heath Handsalve, £10 for 75ml
We're rigorous about applying anti-pollution skincare to our faces, but it's important to remember our hands need the same attention. Scented with mint and lavender and powered by Pollustop, an invisible skin matrix to protect hands from the ageing effects of pollution, this is a great hand cream for city-dwellers.