Super Natural Skin
Protect Your Hands from Cold, Dry WeatherCleanse
Hands often get shortchanged, which is downright unfair since they literally do so much heavy lifting! Yes, you want your hands to be clean, but excessive use of products such as antibacterial hand cleansers will only siphon away precious moisture, says Dr. Jeffrey Dover, MD, a dermatologist near Boston, and associate clinical professor of dermatology at the Yale School of Medicine, in New Haven, Connecticut. Instead, choose gentle hand cleansers with softening ingredients, such as shea butter or aloe vera.
Great to try: Softsoap Brand Shea Butter Liquid Hand Soap, $2.19, cleanses hands while pampering them; C.O. Bigelow Chapped Hands Cleanser, $12, is a soap-free formula with conditioning jojoba and aloe.Exfoliate
Like the skin on your face, your hands are vulnerable to an overaccumulation of dead skin cells. Regular exfoliation prevents hands from building up thick, rough skin, making them less likely to peel or crack, says Dr. Audrey Kunin, MD, a dermatologist based in Kansas City, Missouri, and author of The DERMAdoctor Skinstruction Manual.
Great to try: L'Oreal Refinish Chest, Arms & Hands Gentle Micro-Dermabrasion Exfoliator ($24.99 for the 2-product kit) uses both finely milled aluminum oxide crystals and pumice to soften hands; Origins Spice Odyssey Foaming Body Rub, $27.50, makes your hands ultra soft with avocado and almond oils and smells delightful, too.Moisturize
Freezing weather presents a double-whammy for hands: Even humdrum activities, such as washing dishes, can leave skin and cuticles looking ragged, as repeated water exposure strips away essential moisture. Glycerin, which attracts and holds water -- is a lifesaving ingredient to look for, as are natural moisturizers such as honey and shea butter. Remember that in cold weather, hand cream is as essential as your lipstick -- don't leave home without it!
Great to try: De-luxe SHEA 25% Pure Shea Butter Hand Creme, $7.99, combines shea butter with glycerin for ultimate hydration; DERMAdoctor Handy Manum Anti-Itch Fissure Relief, $27, has hydrocortisone to help heal cracks in the epidermis -- it's even helpful for eczema and psoriasis sufferers.Extra Indulgence
Ready to take hand-softening task to the next level? Then set aside a few minutes, two or three times a week, to slip on a moisturizing spa glove. We like Earth Therapeutics' Soft-Hands Gel Gloves, $24.99, with a jojoba and olive oil-infused lining.