Why Your Fancy Hand Cream Isn’t Working …Even though you’re putting it on, like, hourly Published: January 9, 2014 | By Amy Keller Laird

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As any OCD hand-washer can tell you, winter bodes really badly for the skin beyond your wrists (repeated washings + freezing temps + lack of moisture in the air = cracks/rawness/redness/disaster).

Proof: my poor hands, which were looking far too ragged to be showcasing my cool new stacking Catbird Alphabet Rings (M&J, the initials of my two sons—a Christmas gift from the hubs). I tried to nix the granny-hands syndrome by lathering up for days with a rich (in both texture and cost) shea butter cream…and couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t helping, like, AT ALL. Until I remembered the lessons learned from many skin-care-story interviews with dermatologists: All the shea butter in the world isn’t going to do diddly unless it’s paired with another important ingredient.

That’s because shea butter—as well as petrolatum and silicone—is an occlusive (also called an emollient), so it’s fabulous at locking in moisture.* But raw, cracked skin doesn’t have much moisture to lock in. So what’s a dried-up hand to do? Get involved with a humectant, an agent that draws gobs of water to the skin so that the occlusive can get down to its business of keeping your hands smooth and soft and worthy of showing off trendy-Brooklyn-jewelry-store rings.

Be a label-reading geek and check products for glycerin—it’s one of the most effective (and most common, so typically inexpensive #woot) in skin-care products. My pick: Lumiere De Vie Intensive Hand & Body Creme http://bit.ly/1fn8pIk  It actually seals up little cuts overnight and doesn’t leave palms slick, so you won’t be tempted to head to the sink and start the whole cycle over again. Image

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