Whether you’re still practicing strict stay-at-home safety measures or carefully exploring the parts of the country that are cautiously reopening, it’s never been more important to disinfect your hands. While it’s obvious to most that clean hands are critical during times of pandemic, Dr. Joshua Zeichner, M.D., Director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research at New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital, warns that avid hand care is always important, especially when traveling:
“Whether there is a pandemic or not, travelers should always be extra vigilant about hand washing. Whether you’re on a plane, bus or train, you are in close contact with hundreds of other people who are all touching the same doorknobs, counters and seats. This creates a breeding ground for microorganisms that can easily spread an infection from one person to many others.”
Unfortunately, as many are already experiencing, increased washing can lead to a host of skin issues, especially when the wrong products and techniques are used. As Dr. Zeichner explains, “Many people end up disrupting the skin barrier. When there are cracks in the outer skin layer, the skin loses hydration and becomes inflamed.”
Happy Hands is a four-part series rounding up the best products to keep your hands clean and comfortable during the COVID-19 pandemic now, and as you travel back into the world after. In this edition, the 11 best oils, balms and salves from CBD Salve-ation to Best Spot Treatment are presented.
Best for Pre-Bath
With a formula anchored by jojoba oil, Dermatologist’s Choice Pre-Bath Oil should be applied to your skin before getting wet to hydrate and protect from the dryness that comes from overexposure to water. While already loved for regular use on the entire body, take advantage of this dermatologist-designed pandemic hack to protect your hands from constant washing and relieve them from any dryness you’ve already developed.
Best for Post-Bath
Ideally applied to damp skin, the 30 oils contained in BELLA. Skin Beauty’s Body Oil range from hydrating argan, jojoba and olive to fragrant rosemary and essential oils of pomegranate, vanilla and raspberry seed for whole-body hydration. When your over-worked hands tire of heavier creams or even lotions, opt for the supreme lightness of this oil to soothe irritated and cracked skin and bring hydrating protection against future damage and discomfort.
For the hand-conscious multitasker, Lavender + Vanilla Bean Body Oil from Isola brings skin hydration from coconut oil and sweet almond oil with delicate fragrance for a natural perfume (feel free to apply a few dabs to your neck if the oil’s perfuming property is of particular interest). When traveling, bring Isola’s 10-ounce roll-on body oils available in six scents from Rose + Vanilla to Tobacco + Must, each with a lingering hint of moisturizing coconut.
Best Hand & Nail Combo
Protect and restore your nails with Inner Strength from Barefoot Scientist. The pleasantly scented renewal drops moisturize cuticles and promote strong, smooth nail growth and healthy beds through its star ingredient, celery seed extract. A blend of six soothing oils (olive, rosehip seed, sunflower seed and more) relieve already-dry and cracked skin surrounding the nails for added relief to hardworking hands. Pair with Rehab antibiotic protectant serum on particularly damaged hands in need of relief and repair.
Best Cuticle Convenience
KBShimmer makes cuticle health convenient with its Cuticle Oil Pens that travel anywhere and provide no-fuss application that’s quick and clean every time. Choose from floral or fruity fragrances like Blushed Orchid and Raspberry Vanilla, opt for lighter scents like Just Beachy or Tide Me Over, or go aroma-free with Barely There.
Best for Deep Relief
If muscle pain and aches are plaguing your overburdened hands, massage Sports Balm from Anzie Blue on sore areas. The 4-ounce jar contains 500 mg of all-natural CBD for relief below the surface, and olive oil, coconut oil and beeswax help hydrate your hands while peppermint and eucalyptus essential oils relax and revive your mind and mood. Bonus: This powerful balm is equally effective all over the body.
Best Spot Treatment
For your driest parts that require specialized attention (like those knuckles), carry a twist tube of Paddywax Balm. Apply as often as needed for relief through olive oil, cocoa seed butter and hemp seed oil, and rely on the restorative and protective properties of beeswax to help guard against further damage to your sensitive spots. It’s available in six varieties including Black Fig, Eucalyptus, Vanilla Rose and Lavender.
Most Bee-autiful Hands
Savannah Bee Company’s softening and hydrating Beeswax Salve uses pure beeswax in combination with vitamin E, sunflower oil and olive oil to soothe and protect the unhappiest of hands. You’ll definitely want to rub it into your over-washed hands and suffering cuticles, but consider dry elbows, too, if you have them. It’s available in Original Spearmint, Rosemary Lavender and Cedar.
Containing moisturizing coconut oil and beeswax blended with soothing menthol and anti-inflammatory camphor, Color Up’s Sensation – Full Spectrum Salve additionally treats irritated skin, muscles and connective tissue with a CBD-forward formula boosted by minority levels of additional cannabinoids including CBG, CBN, CBC, and below .3% THC. Rub this into your dry and aching hands (and anywhere else) for deep relief.
Almond Zum Rub from Indigo Wild brings goat’s milk and shea butter to its silky salve of oils, beeswax and vitamin E for quick absorption and much-needed relief to your dry and damaged skin, but beware its beguiling scent. If you’re a fan of baked goods, its distinctive dessert-like aroma will have you craving cookies and cakes each time you apply; it’s safe and useful for dry lips too, so dab a little on to curb the craving.
If your busy hands are in need of dry-skin relief but you’re put off by the floral and fruity fragrances that dominate the beauty and skincare industries, turn to Spit & Polish Knuckle Wax from Duluth Trading Co. The “spicy bay” scent is a welcome alternative for the less sweetly inclined, and the roll-up tube of heavy-duty salve brings real relief to serious hands that work or play too hard.
You can find Happy Hands, Part 1: Soaps and Sanitizers here.
You can find Happy Hands, Part 2: Creams here.
You can find happy Hands, Part 3: Lotions and Moisturizers here.
(These specific products are not endorsed by Dr. Zeichner, whose participation in this series is solely as an expert on the general importance of skin care. Consult your physician or dermatologist to discuss the best practices and products for you.)