Moisturizing lotion used in conjunction with washing hands suggestions?
March 31, 2024 5:49 AM   Subscribe

Hand soap dries my hands out. I need hand lotion recommendations that I can use at the same time/right after washing my hands, to keep my hands moisturized.

I have Aquaphor, but it's heavy-duty and is a jelly. I need a hand lotion that's: 1) moisturizing ands feels good; 2) not at all scented; and 3) does not "stick" to the skin at all. As in, I wash my hands normally, then put a bit of lotion on, and boom, my hands stay moisturized.

Bonus question: if I do this, would my skin become "addicted" (for a lack of better wording) to the lotion and dry out even faster?

posted by dubious_dude to Health & Fitness (20 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Can you specify what you mean by does not "stick" to the skin? Do you mean you want something that absorbs relatively quickly? Or are you trying to avoid something with a sticky consistency?

I am a huge fan of Cerave Daily Moisturizing lotion. It's unscented, and I think it feels good. It's not "heavy" feeling - definitely not jelly like Aquaphor (which I also use at times), and lighter weight than Cetaphil and some other moisturizers. Cerave is what was recommended to me by my dermatologist.

Cerave has other products that are heavier, but I like the daily moisturizing one - it's very moisturizing, and it has the nicest consistency of the products i've tried.

I have eczema and live in New England, and I also have the same issue with hand soap drying out my hands.
posted by litera scripta manet at 6:10 AM on March 31 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I keep this stuff in the kitchen, in my nightstand, and at my desk at work. (Except that I buy the store brand knockoff, usually located right next to it on the shelf at the grocery store or drug store.) It doesn't have a smell, it doesn't leave my hands slippery. As to your bonus question, I hate hate hate the feeling of dry skin hands so I guess you could say I'm psychologically addicted to using the lotion, but I would say that's definitely me and not my skin drying out any faster.
posted by JanetLand at 6:13 AM on March 31

Best answer: Bonus question: if I do this, would my skin become "addicted" (for a lack of better wording) to the lotion and dry out even faster?

IANADermatologist, but I don't think this is the case at all. If anything, I think it would be the opposite. By moisturizing more frequently, you improve that sort of protective barrier on the top layer of skin, so you would be more likely to retain moisture over time. (Ever notice how once your skin starts getting a little dry and cracked, it then seems to get even more dried and cracked more quickly?)

I think there are some products - especially heavily scented ones - that might have ingredients which could cause your skin to dry out. But if using moisturizer more often leads to your skin drying out more, then I think you just need to try a different product.

Also, right after you wash your hands is the best time to use moisturizer! You can dry your hands a bit, but if you leave them slightly damp, the moisturizer will more effectively help your skin stay hydrated (same reason why it's recommended to moisturize right after a shower).
posted by litera scripta manet at 6:14 AM on March 31 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Can you specify what you mean by does not "stick" to the skin? Do you mean you want something that absorbs relatively quickly? Or are you trying to avoid something with a sticky consistency?

Both. Aquahor does a great job moisturizing my hands, but it's super "sticky" so instead of using it daily, I put it on occasionally before bed and put a pair of socks over my hands to keep it moisturized overnight. I also mix in some "Working Hands" lotion, which works great as well. I was looking for a daily solution that would not stick to my hands, and something that also would absorb quickly and not leave any smells or residue.

I have ordered the Cerave daily moisturizing lotion and will see how it works. Thanks!
posted by dubious_dude at 6:48 AM on March 31

If you need to do further research, it might help to consider that lotions break down generally into three types: the humectant and the occlusive and the emollient. Humectants absorb into your skin and moisturize deeply while occlusives form a coating. I have found Working Hands to be occlusive, and have long used them to protect my hands while doing tasks like breaking down cardboard cartons. That work is hell on your hands and the cardboard draws moisture out so basically I like something that shields the skin. In the evening, for actually replacing moisture, I use any cheap hand lotion which is advertized to moisturize rather than protect. And yes, socks or gloves are excellent to use over this.

For me, things advertized as emollient are usually like humectants only more expensive? I'm not sure. They may be oilier too.

Overall I think the main thing is to define when you want a protective layer vs. when you want to deeply mositurize and get different prodects for each function.

Also, wear rubber gloves when doing dishes and work gloves for other tasks when feasible.
posted by BibiRose at 7:03 AM on March 31 [2 favorites]

If you don't need to use a specifically antibacterial hand soap, I've had great success with improving dry skin on my hands (especially in winter) by using the Cerave Hydrating Facial Cleanser as my hand soap for routine washing. It also comes in bars if that form factor is preferable for you.
posted by telegraph at 7:07 AM on March 31

Try using a pure liquid glycerine or a bar soap. Virtually all other liquid soaps destroy my hands (it started with being sensitized to that industrial-strength pink goo that used to be ubiquitous in public areas). No more knuckle cracks, red raw skin or fingertip splits for me!
posted by kate4914 at 7:34 AM on March 31 [1 favorite]

I just use Vaseline. I have a little tub by my bathroom and kitchen sink and use it after I wash my hands in the winter. It is kind of sticky, but it doesn't leave any scent or residue. I choose it over ones that absorb more quickly because I find that they have a flavour that can transfer to food when I cook or eat with my hands. Vaseline doesn't.

Also, what kind of hand soap are you using? I find scented ones dry my skin out, even if they're really fancy and I love the smell. I use Ivory bar soap now.
posted by wheatlets at 7:40 AM on March 31 [1 favorite]

My girlfriend gave me a tin of unscented Badger Balm for my birthday, and it was an absolute game changer. It’s just olive oil and beeswax, but there’s something about it that it doesn’t lay on top of my skin like lotion can. Instead, it disappears really quickly, but my skin itself feels softer. My fingers have gotten so soft, I sometimes have trouble getting my bus pass out of its little plastic case because I don’t have enough friction on my fingertips. It feels great, I love putting it on, I love the long-term effect. It seems to have on my skin when I use it regularly , your mileage may vary, of course, but I’m never going back to anything else.
posted by Well I never at 8:19 AM on March 31

Response by poster: Well I never: Is it this one?
posted by dubious_dude at 8:56 AM on March 31

Lubriderm, the purple/magenta label one. Rub some in before you dry your hands.
posted by scruss at 9:18 AM on March 31

For my skin, Aveeno unscented daily lotion and Cetaphil moisturizing lotion work well after handwashing in terms of absorbing quickly and keeping my hands from getting raw. I find avoiding mineral oil is helpful in hand lotion.

Also Dove has an unscented bar soap that isn't sufficiently moisturizing for me on its own, but at least doesn't additionally irritate my skin the way harsher soaps can.
posted by EvaDestruction at 9:28 AM on March 31 [3 favorites]

I swear by Neutrogena's Norwegian Formula Hand Cream. Very effective, reasonably priced and lasts forever. It may seem greasy at first but is absorbed quickly.
posted by bluedora at 12:00 PM on March 31 [3 favorites]

I love my Aveeno unscented lotion too.
posted by kathrynm at 12:51 PM on March 31 [2 favorites]

A tip for application: often, I avoid moisturizing my hands because I worry about greasing up my keyboard/phone/whatever I’m handling. If you wind up with a denser cream, try putting a dab on the back of one hand and spreading it around by rubbing the backs of your hands and fingers together. If you also want to moisturize your cuticles, again, do a dab/spread on each with one finger from the opposite hand, then rub off excess on your forearm - much less sticky than rubbing your hands together as if you’re washing them with soap.
posted by rrrrrrrrrt at 1:03 PM on March 31 [2 favorites]

I swear by this Honest All-Purpose Balm.

It goes on greasy but give it about 10 minutes to fully absorb and you'll have soft hands all day, even after you wash your hands a few times. I've also noticed it's strengthened my nails over time too, for an added bonus.

It's unscented and a little goes a long way.

I also use it on any cut/scratch/irritation for some added healing and sometimes use a little in my hair to tame flyaways.
posted by greta simone at 2:11 PM on March 31

Aveeno Fragrance-Free lotions (the regular and the Skin Relief Intense Moisture) are the best for this for my skin. I am really sensitive to textures and stickiness nad sliminess, and these rub in well while still keeping my hands moisturized. Like not for the entire rest of the day without re-application, but I don't have to re-apply frequently.

If you're as sensitive to scent as I am, though, be warned that while the Skin Relief Intense Moisture version is labeled fragrance-free, one or more of the ingredients still has a faint detectable scent to me.
posted by rhiannonstone at 3:51 PM on March 31 [1 favorite]

I like Eucerin Advanced Repair for this purpose, and I apply it, as rrrrrrrrrt suggests, on the back of the hands first, then using fingertips to smooth it into the nailbeds.

Is there a reason you don't use the O'keefe Working Hands as a daily lotion? If you find it too gunky, you may be using too much--it works best when used sparingly. If you otherwise like it, but it's not quite moisturizing enough, try the foot version, it's slightly superior, imo.

Whatever you choose, the more regularly you use it, the better it will work. Maintaining healthy skin barrier is much easier than repairing it. One more thing--if you're prone to keritosis pilaris or callus/cuticle buildup, adding in an exfoliating lotion a couple of time a week will do wonders. Lactic acid, aha/bha, or fruit enzyme are common terms to look for.
posted by radiogreentea at 8:22 AM on April 1

I haven't found anything that works better than the Neutrogena Norwegian Formula. It only feels greasy if I accidentally use too much -- seriously, a little goes a long way! And it lasts through hand washings. I have multiple tubes at work, in my bag, on my nightstand, on the coffee table, in my work bag...
posted by maryellenreads at 8:41 AM on April 1

I know what you speak of with the lotion "sticking" to your hands and I hate that feeling! Aveeno is the only lotion I use these days because it soaks in right away and doesn't make my hands feel like they're coated with something.
posted by dawkins_7 at 8:49 PM on April 1

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