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You’re Applying Your Hand Cream All Wrong — Here’s How to Make Sure It Really Works

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When it comes to keeping skin smooth and moisturized, so many people forget to use hand cream for an extra hydration boost as they get older. Your hands age just like the rest of your body, and they can start to show signs of wrinkles, veins, and more over time. But if you assumed you could just slather on some lotion throughout the day and that’s it, think again! There’s actually a right way to apply it so that your skin gets all of those moisturizing and anti-aging benefits.

When should I apply hand cream?

Whitney Bowe, MD told about the number-one mistake people make when it comes to hand cream usage: They wash their hands and then hold off on applying hand cream or lotion until later. “If you wait too long, you miss that narrow window of opportunity to really trap and seal those nourishing ingredients in the skin before all the water evaporates off the surface, further compromising your skin,” Dr. Bowe explained.

When you wash your hands, that water evaporation takes all of the moisture with it and instead leaves them feeling so dry. You can get rid of that issue by using hand lotion, since your skin cells are able to suck up all of that product and leave you with soft, silky hands in the long run. All of that said, just because it’s optimal to use lotion right after rinsing your hands, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it throughout the day either. It’s better to apply a little bit when you can than to apply none at all!

What’s the best cream for dry hands?

In terms of what to use, Dr. Bowe recommends anything that includes vegetable or seed oils (like olive or sunflower oil). But if you’re looking for an ultra-hydrating lotion, Broadway legend Kristin Chenoweth revealed one of her favorites to us. Might as well steal a beauty tip from the stars!

This article was updated on Thursday, November 3 at 2 p.m. EST. It was originally published on November 12, 2021.

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