Whether you’re still practicing strict stay-at-home safety measures or carefully exploring the parts of the country that are cautiously reopening, it’s never been more important to disinfect your hands. While it’s obvious to most that clean hands are critical during times of pandemic, Dr. Joshua Zeichner, M.D., Director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research at New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital, warns that avid hand care is always important, especially when traveling:
“Whether there is a pandemic or not, travelers should always be extra vigilant about hand washing. Whether you’re on a plane, bus or train, you are in close contact with hundreds of other people who are all touching the same doorknobs, counters and seats. This creates a breeding ground for microorganisms that can easily spread an infection from one person to many others.”
Unfortunately, as many are already experiencing, increased washing can lead to a host of skin issues, especially when the wrong products and techniques are used. As Dr. Zeichner explains, “Many people end up disrupting the skin barrier. When there are cracks in the outer skin layer, the skin loses hydration and becomes inflamed.”
Happy Hands is a four-part series rounding up the best products to keep your hands clean and comfortable during the COVID-19 pandemic now, and as you travel back into the world after. In this edition, the 15 best hand creams from Cuticle Convenience to Avo-mazing Antibacterial are presented.
CBD Oil Honey Happy
Best for Itch Relief
Originally intended to relieve eczema sufferers, the Oatmeal Hand Cream from Eczema Honey blends the hydrating powers of honey with the emollient properties of colloidal oatmeal and the soothing touch of aloe and shea butter for all-around relief to dry, irritated hands. Pro Tip: Avoid getting to that stage by using this cream on a daily basis!
Best Whole-Hive Hydration
Plenty of products incorporate honey, but few take advantage of the whole hive like Savannah Bee Company’s Hand Cream, incorporating all four ingredients (royal jelly, beeswax, propolis and honey) for hydration, protection and repair. It’s available in Cedar, Honey Almond and the newly-released Rosemary Lavender.
Best Butter Blend
This one doesn’t actually have honey in it, but the Honey Almond Whipped Body Butter from 100% Pure gets high marks for its honey-almond scented blend of shea, cocoa and avocado butters with aloe and rose hydrosol for added hydration. If sweet scents aren’t your thing, try the more spa-like fragrance of the equally decadent Eucalyptus Hand Buttercream.
If you’re not familiar with manuka honey, consider it the superhero of the honey-verse. With antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antibacterial properties, it’s the king of honeys and the power behind Manuka Honey Hand Cream from Aú. Combined with grapeseed extract and ponga fern seed, the trio of natural New Zealand ingredients balances your skin’s microbiome to maintain moisture and protect from external damage (and signs of aging!). Pair it with Prepare Brightening Lotion for ultimate results.
CBD Oil CBD
Kana Vita Cream contains double the typical CBD potency of comparable creams for ultimate relief of inflamed or irritated skin, and rehydrates your dried-out hands with Swiss Alps spring water and edelweiss flower extract in combination with jojoba oil and almond kernel oil. The thick cream has a refreshingly light scent and can be applied to trouble spots like dry hands or swollen feet, or even be used as a regular face mask for more vibrant skin.
Most Reliable Relief
CBD Muscle Cream from Extract Labs was designed for heavy-duty muscle relief with 1500 mg of potency to soothe the most overworked bodies from pro athletes to pro caregivers, and anyone else who could use a little muscle relaxation. Cooling menthol, anti-inflammatory arnica, and calming rosemary and lavender are whipped together (not heated, to preserve the ingredients’ powerful properties), and each batch’s lab certificate of analysis is published online for total transparency and authenticity. (This one is not intended for your face).
CBD & Honey Powerhouse
If you’re torn between the honey creams or the CBD creams on this list, stop debating and choose CBD + Manuka Cream from Medterra. Combining the age-old wisdom of applying manuka honey to protect and hydrate skin with the growing research supporting the use of CBD to relieve soreness and irritation, this cream comes in two travel-friendly sizes (1 oz with 125 mg and 2 oz with 250 mg).
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CBD Oil Unique Ingredients
If your hands aren’t yet brutalized by constant washing, help prevent future irritation with regular use of Hand Food from Soap & Glory. This hydrating cream brings moisture and relief from shea butter, macadamia oil and marshmallow in a rose and bergamot fragrance with mandarin, jasmine, peach, strawberry, and soft musk and amber for a results that’s almost too tempting not to taste (don’t).
Fork & Melon draws on its signature French watermelon seed oil to bring moisturizing, anti-aging and detoxifying comfort to your sore skin with Rich Hydrating Cream for Body & Hands. Blurring the boundaries between lotion, cream and butter, this cream goes on thick but absorbs rapidly, leaving only smooth, calm skin and a light citrus scent behind.
Where better to find the most moisturizing magic than in the sea itself? Repêchage brings the moisture-binding properties of seaweed together with shea butter in Sea Spa Hand Cream and adds green tea and vitamins C and E to soothe already-dry hands with a non-greasy cream. Bonus: Lavender and chamomile will help soothe your mind along with your hands each time you apply.
While olive oil and eucalyptus can be found in a host of hand creams, not many also incorporate avocado extract for additional hydration and nourishment, and even fewer are also antibacterial. The new Antibacterial Hand Cream from Sunytizer, developed in the very early stages of COVID-19’s arrival in the United States, is all of these things, providing relief to over-washed hands and a boost of protection with each application.
While rose-scented products generally tend to take too deep a dive into that unmistakable fragrance, Orange & Rose Hand Cream from John Masters Organics relies far more on the skin-restoring properties of the flower than on its scent. In fact, despite containing both rose and palmarosa (an Indian grass with a sweet floral nose), this cream smells nothing like your grandmother’s perfume and provides serious relief to overworked hands.
You might think of sunflower oil as more of a kitchen ingredient, but its high vitamin E content provides long-lasting moisturizing benefits and omega 6 acid helps reduce inflammation and generate new, healthy skin cells. The Hand Cream collection from Paddywax blends sunflower oil with sweet almond oil and shea butter for a hydrating hand cream as wonderfully aromatic as its beloved candle collection, with fragrances like Eucalyptus Santal, Black Fig + Vetiver and Rosewood Vanilla.
CBD Oil Cuticle Creams
With so much attention to restoring and protecting your hands, don’t forget your cuticles, where dryness often leads to cracks and opens you up to infection. KBShimmer’s Matte Cuticle Cream combines jojoba, cocoa butter and shea better to moisturize this often-overlooked part of your hands, and comes in a keychain-friendly screw-top container for worry-free convenience on the go. It comes in 7 scents, but if you’re already using other scented products on your hands you’ll be most interested in the Barely There variety.
It should be no surprise that shea butter is one of the most sought-after ingredients in the Travertine Spa Collection of organic skincare, but you’ll be shocked to discover how effective a tiny dose of its Shea Hand & Nail Cream is. A small dab of this thick cream with enhanced hydration from aloe, watermelon and rose will treat not just your nails but your whole hands, making the quarter-ounce travel container the perfect fit for pockets and purses (a larger size is also available). Bonus: You’ll appreciate the light floral blend of lavender and geranium adding an extra ounce of spa sensation to your revived hands, too.
You can find Happy Hands, Part 1: Soaps and Sanitizers here.
You can find Happy Hands, Part 3: Lotions here.
You can find Happy Hands, Part 4: Oils, Balms and Salves here.
(These specific products are not endorsed by Dr. Zeichner, whose participation in this series is solely as an expert on the general importance of skin care. Consult your physician or dermatologist to discuss the best practices and products for you.)
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