Somehow, over the past two years, I've become a person with very dry hands. I'm still a little mystified about how it happened—if I had to venture a guess, I'd say probably a combination of stress and too much dishwashing—but it's been surprising to have the nature of my skin change so dramatically, seemingly unprovoked.
Until recently, I hadn't been able to find a product that had any lasting effect on my stinging, cracking fingertips. And not for lack of trying: I've used not one but two different prescription eczema ointments, along with multiple drugstore hand creams (Aveeno, Nivea, Aquaphor, Vaseline). I started wearing rubber gloves for dishwashing and cleaning, invested in a pair of hydrating cotton gloves to wear while I slept, and I even started taking turmeric, at the suggestion of my doctor—all to no avail.
I'd just about resigned myself to a life of sandpaper fingers when, for Christmas, my very thoughtful father gave me a humble jar of O'Keeffe's Working Hands. (He even let me open it a day early, so dire was my need). Since then, I have gone through about a jar a month. After all of my trials, I can say with confidence that it is the perfect hand cream. It is not glamorous: it comes in a plastic green jar announcing its purpose as being as "for dry hands that crack and split."
But it works. It is the perfect consistency: not slimy or sticky, and just a little bit waxy. It's unscented, and it doesn't come off on the things you touch. According to the packaging, the formula works by "adjusting the pH balance and helping to retain moisture." I have no idea what that means, but I believe it. My hands feel entirely altered. The best part? It's only $7, and you can easily buy it online. These days, I never leave home without it.
O'Keeffe's Working Hands, $7, lowes.com.