With biting winds outside and dry, stale air inside, winter is brutal on your skin. Worst of all is the season's effect on hands, which dry out more rapidly than the rest of the body. The only solution: hand cream.
"Because of their lack of sebaceous glands, hands are prone to drying," explains Dr. Terrance Keaney, director of W for Men at the Washington Institute of Dermatalogic Laser Surgery. "When you expose your hands to dry, cold weather, an increase in trans-epidermal water loss – a loss of moisture from the skin – occurs, which causes hands to crack and peel." In short, nature and civilization have conspired to strip our hands of the precious moisture they require not to dry up and peel off in a sandpapery mess.
The solution is to moisturize early and often. Dr. Keaney recommends using a fast-absorbing lotion that doesn't leave grease stains on all your stuff. He also advises getting ahead of the problem, because it's easier to prevent dryness than it is to cure it. We tested dozens of creams, salves, lotions, and potions before settling on this list of man-friendly moisturizers. Read on to find the ones that best suit your lifestyle and preferences.
Buckler's Chapped Skin Remedy
This intensely thick, moisturizing ointment smells minty, like candy canes, and uses the hydrating powers of shea butter and aloe juice to replenish moisture – both ingredients that are especially effective for those who get sore and torn cuticles. It's been fortified with calendula extracts, which herbalists use to treat eczema and wounds, and chamomile extract, which is sensitive, skin-friendly and soothing. It works well as a thick nightly hand mask or to restore already chapped and wind-burned skin. [$19 for 3.3 oz; themotley.com]