It’s a contamination-OCD hazard. Wash hands. Touch something “germy.” Wash hands again. Repeat. Little cuts form. Oh crap touched something scary again. Dirty! Wash again. Ouch.
What Insta would dub an #ocdproblem is technically called “washing compulsion,” and it affects about 16 percent of those with OCD, whom research shows may soap up 50-100 times daily.
If, like me, you’re one of these people, you need to be moisturizing your hands on the reg. Same for anyone who’s got standard (OCD-free) contact or allergic dermatitis, a.k.a. super-dry skin crying out for help.
But with all the creams on the market, how do you know which is worth your dollars? The products below do raw, cracked hands a real solid. Chosen by beauty editors, because they’ve tried alllll the creams and know the best. (I’ll go first!)
“I get such cracked skin, particularly during the winter when washing my hands meets cold weather = doom for dry skin. This is my absolute favorite hand cream. It’s light and has no greasy feel, but a layer before bed somehow seals my cuts and neutralizes painful redness overnight. It contains irritation-soother colloidal oatmeal, plus ceramides, which help shore up your skin’s barrier so it can better withstand the natural-oil-stripping effect of excessive washing. Plus, it’s fragrance-free, so it won’t irk sensitive skin. If things get really bad, rub in a dab of hydrocortisone first—it does wonders, but only use it for a few days at a time. It’s a topical steroid, meaning it can thin the skin if used for too long.”
—Amy Keller Laird, Mental founder and former beauty director of Allure
Helps Hurting Cuticles, Too
Glysolid Glycerin Skin Cream, $5.00
“Nothing else works on the chapped, cracked knuckles and cuticles. It’s a freakin’ miracle. No grease, no scent.”
—Courtney Dunlop, founder of Good Skin Day skincare, and a former beauty editor at Marie Claire and Jane (RIP)
When You Want It Rich
Eucerin Eczema Relief Body Cream, $15.89
“My absolute nothing-else-even-comes-close favorite. I have contact dermatitis on my hands if they get dry or the pH gets jacked, and this completely makes it a non-issue. And it feels super rich and great but not greasy. But it in bulk, for real.”
—Catherine Piercy, creative consultant and former Vogue beauty director
The Couture Pick
Chanel Le Creme Main, $70
“Typically I shy away from perfumed hand creams from fancy beauty brands because most of the time the formulas aren’t super hydrating or healing (two things you definitely want a hand cream to be). I was expecting that to be the case with this formula, but years later it’s still one of my favorite hand creams. Yes, it’s fragranced, but the formula is not only incredibly moisturizing, it absorbs instantly and doesn’t make your hands feel greasy or slippery. The ergonomic bottle is obviously très stylish, and I’m always surprised how much product it holds. One of these chic little eggs lasts me four to five months.”
—Sophia Panych, beauty writer and former digital beauty director of Allure
If You Like Naturals
“My current favorite hand cream. It’s so hydrating but not greasy or sticky, and the rose scent is light and pleasant, not heady. I also like that it’s over 98 percent natural ingredients. Makes me feel better about slathering it on 10 times a day!”
—Victoria Kirby, a beauty and wellness writer and brand consultant
Buly 1803 Pommade Concrète, $39.00
“Pasty-thick but penetrates well and not greasy; fresh herbal scent; good mix of emollients/humectants; beeswax makes it durable enough withstand hand washings; plus, it’s French and fancy-feeling, unlike most things in my life 😂.”
—Jolene Edgar, a beauty writer for Byrdie, Fashionista, and The Zoe Report
All products featured on Mental have been selected independently and editorially. When you buy from our links, we may earn a commission.