The 10 Best Lotions for Dry, Cracked Hands in 2021

Get soft, smooth skin with these top moisturizers

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First Look

Best Overall: L'Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream at Amazon

"Only a little of this rich formula is needed to leave hands feeling soft and supple."

Best Budget: Yes To Coconut Hydrate & Restore Protecting Hand & Cuticle Cream at Amazon

"This award-winning hand cream combines coconut oil, shea butter, and avocado oil while being 97 percent natural."

Best Cruelty-Free: J.R. Watkins Natural Moisturizing Hand Cream, Aloe & Green Tea at menards.com

"Delightfully scented with fresh aloe vera and invigorating green tea."

Best for Eczema: CeraVe Therapeutic Hand Cream at Amazon

"This non-greasy, fast-absorbing hand cream is ideal for chafed, cracked and dry skin."

Best Natural: Burt's Bees Honey & Grapeseed Hand Cream at Amazon

"The softening, protective lotion is formulated without phthalates, parabens, or petrolatum."

Best Non-Greasy: O'Keeffe's Working Hands Hand Cream at Amazon

"Designed with key ingredients glycerin and paraffin to moisturize extremely dry skin without that greasy feeling."

Best SPF Protection: Supergoop! Handscreen SPF 40 at Amazon

"This reef-friendly formula packs broad-spectrum SPF40 protection against UVA and UVB rays without octinoxate."

Best Balm: Vermont's Original Bag Balm for Dry Chapped Skin Conditions at Amazon

"This formula provides protection and moisture for dry, chafed, and cracked skin all over the body."

Best for Babies: Eucerin Baby Eczema Relief Body Cream at Amazon

"Enriched with colloidal oatmeal, this nourishing formula is very gentle."

Best for People with Diabetes: Aveeno Diabetics’ Dry Skin Relief Lotion at Amazon

"This hydrating lotion provides a fast-absorbing, rich cream that restores essential moisture to the skin."

Whether it’s due to constant hand washing for hygiene, or exposure to dry environments, the skin on our hands can become sensitive, dehydrated and in some cases, broken and peeling. Seasonality can impact the prevalence of dry, cracked hands as well. In colder months, there is often less moisture in the air. Pair this with often dry, forced-air heating systems in wide use and dryness can become a bigger issue.

Here, the best lotions and hand creams for dry, cracked hands—they provide hydration without leaving greasy residue.

Best Overall: L'Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream

L'Occitane Hand Cream

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Rich texture

  • Fast absorbing

Cons
  • Expensive

  • Scented; not ideal for sensitive skin

This non-greasy, long-lasting formula features a superior blend of shea butter, honey, almond extracts and coconut oil. This hand cream smells has a subtle, powdery fragrance and is quickly absorbed into the skin, which makes it pleasant to use in addition being effective.

While it’s not a cheap option, only a little of the lotion is needed for long-lasting relief from dry and chapped skin.

Best Budget: Yes To Coconut Hydrate & Restore Protecting Hand & Cuticle Cream

Pros
  • Affordable

  • 97% natural

Pros
  • Scented; not ideal for sensitive skin

This award-winning hand cream contains a deliciously scented combination of coconut oil, shea butter and avocado oil. The nourishing formula is 97 percent natural does well to moisturize dry hands and cuticles without leaving greasy residue. The summery scent is uplifting (though may be overwhelming for some) and, thanks to the affordable price, it’s easy to stock up on a few bottles for your home, car and handbag.

Best Cruelty-Free: J.R. Watkins Natural Moisturizing Hand Cream, Aloe & Green Tea

J.R. Watkins Natural Moisturizing Hand Cream

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Made in the USA

  • Free of parabens, dyes, and pthalates

Cons
  • Scented; not ideal for sensitive skin

The vintage style tube with its signature design contains a nourishing formula of avocado oil, cocoa butter and shea butter. The 100 percent cruelty-free product is delightfully scented with an invigorating blend of aloe vera and fresh green tea. J.R Watkins has been made in the USA for over 150 years and receives rave reviews from customers.

Best for Eczema: CeraVe Therapeutic Hand Cream

Pros
  • National Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance

  • Non-greasy

  • Affordable

Cons
  • Thin texture

This non-greasy, fast-absorbing hand cream is ideal for chafed, dry and cracked skin. It is gentle and non-irritating to skin, while also being water-resistant and fragrance-free. The hyaluronic acid and niacinamide formula, together with three essential ceramides provides long-lasting moisture. Additionally, CeraVe Therapeutic Hand Cream has received the National Eczema Association seal of acceptance, which sets it apart as being specially approved for use on sensitive skin or for eczema.

What are ceramides?

Ceramides are fats found in the top layers of our skin that form half of the natural skin barrier. They help seal in moisture by preventing evaporation. People with eczema have fewer ceramides in the the top layer of their skin. Replenishing ceramides in the skin with moisturizers that mimic the role of ceramides in the skin has has been clinically proven to improve hydration and the skin's barrier.

Best Natural: Burt's Bees Honey & Grapeseed Hand Cream

Pros
  • Affordable

  • Not tested on animals

  • Travel-friendly size

Cons
  • Scented; not ideal for sensitive skin

This rich lotion moisturizes, conditions and heals dry and chapped skin, both hands and feet, while the sweet honey scent is calming and subtle. This softening, protective lotion is formulated without phthalates, parabens or petrolatum. And its handbag-friendly size and budget-friendly price means you might want to keep a few of them in the bathroom cabinet, ready for when you run out.

Best Non-Greasy: O'Keeffe's Working Hands Hand Cream

Pros
  • Affordable

  • Hypoallergenic

Cons
  • May be stinging for severely dry skin

The key ingredients of O’Keeffe’s Working Hands cream include glycerin and paraffin, both designed to moisturize while leaving a protective layer on the surface of skin. Rest assured, there’s no greasy residue after application, so you can treat dry, cracked and chafed skin and carry on your daily business. There’s no need to use a lot, nor to apply the product often, in order to obtain relief.

Best SPF Protection: Supergoop! Handscreen SPF 40

Pros
  • Reef-friendly SPF

  • Fragrance-free

  • Non-greasy

Cons
  • Expensive

Sun damage is known to worsen and intensify dry skin, so ensuring that you use a high protection sunscreen lotion is important, particularly when you spend quite a bit of time outdoors and exposed to direct sunlight. This reef-friendly formula packs broad-spectrum SPF40 protection against UVA and UVB rays without octinoxate.

Best Balm: Vermont's Original Bag Balm for Dry Chapped Skin Conditions

Pros
  • Affordable

  • Great for hands and body

Cons
  • Tin packaging isn't the most portable

  • May be greasy after application

A favorite of many, this product by Vermont’s is relied on to treat severely dry and calloused hands. The formula was first originated in 1899 when it was used to protect dairy cows from the harsh conditions of the Vermont environment. It doesn’t boast a calming scent like other options and isn't completely non-greasy, but it can be used on dry skin all over the body.

Best for Babies: Eucerin Baby Eczema Relief Body Cream

Pros
  • Affordable

Cons
  • Not suitable for newborns

Colloidal Oatmeal is a well known skin protectant and is commonly used in lotions and creams formulated for sensitive skin and eczema. Combined with Ceramide-3 and licorice root extract, this tried and trusted, clinically proven body cream provides 24-hour moisturizing for dry and eczema-prone skin. This product is ideal for babies 3 months and older.

What is colloidal oatmeal?

A skin protectant often used to treat dry, sensitive skin conditions, colloidal oatmeal is finely ground oats. The oats become emollient in this finer texture, which make them easier for the skin to absorb. Studies have found colloidal oatmeal to be effective repairing the skin barrier among those with atopic dermatitis. The ingredient is clinically-proven to improve skin dryness.

Best for People with Diabetes: Aveeno Diabetics’ Dry Skin Relief Lotion

Pros
  • Affordable

  • Good for sensitive skin

Cons
  • Not specifically formulated for hands

Research has found that the overall prevalence of skin disorder in people with diabetes (type 1 and type 2) contrasted between 51.1 and 97 % in various regions globally. This hydrating body lotion provides a fast-absorbing, rich cream that restores essential moisture to the skin. The cream contains natural shea butter, Triple Oat Complex (oat flour, oat oil and oat extract), and dimethicone. This formula is both steroid and fragrance-free.

Final Verdict

For a fast-absorbing lotion that suits most needs, O’Keeffe’s Working Hands cream should provide a skin softening effect without any greasy residue. For those who spend a lot of time outdoors or exposed to direct sun, Supergoop! Handscreen SPF 40 provides essential protection and moisture.

What to Look for in a Lotion for Dry, Cracked Hands

Ingredients

When seeking a lotion to treat dry, chafed, chaffed or cracked skin, look for products that provide moisturizing ingredients such as colloidal oatmeal, ceramides, and natural oils. Look for products that are dermatologically tested, or clinically proven to be effective for dry skin. 

Sun Exposure

Dry and sensitive skin is only further damaged and sensitized when exposed to the sun, so be sure to use a lotion containing sun protection or to apply sunscreen in addition to any moisturizing lotion.

Disclaimers for Prolonged Use

Some products are not recommended to be used regularly or on an ongoing basis. Read the directions for use and seek medical guidance if in any doubt.

Why Trust Verywell Health?

Brittany Loggins is a freelance writer with a depth of experience on a range of subjects from wellness to politics. She is a seasoned health reporter who seeks input from doctors and experts in order to provide thoroughly-vetted product recommendations.

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Article Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Spada F, Barnes TM, Greive KA. Skin hydration is significantly increased by a cream formulated to mimic the skin's own natural moisturizing systems. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2018;11:491-497. Published 2018 Oct 15. doi:10.2147/CCID.S177697

  2. Ilnytska O, Kaur S, Chon S, et al. Colloidal oatmeal (Avena sativa) improves skin barrier through multi-therapy activityJ Drugs Dermatol. 2016;15(6):684-690.

  3. de Macedo GMC, Nunes S, Barreto T. Skin disorders in diabetes mellitus: an epidemiology and physiopathology reviewDiabetol Metab Syndr. 2016;8(1):63.

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