Overnight relief for dry, chapped hands

woman applying hand cream before bed

Our hands have been another casualty of the coronavirus pandemic. A regimen of constant washing and using hand sanitizers has taken a toll on our aging skin. Our hands feel dry and rough, not unlike the ‘dishpan hands’ of long-ago television commercials.

Since the onslaught of the virus, I have been washing my hands along with the rest of you. Yet my hands are soft as silk. My beauty secret? An overnight hand mask.

You can treat your hands to this overnight spa treatment, too, and heal much of the wear and tear from washing them so often.

Here’s what you will need

  • Glycerin-rich cream
  • White cotton gloves
  • At least eight hours of sleep time (great moisturizing time for your hands and essential to a healthy immune system).



What so special about glycerin?

There are thousands of moisturizing creams on the market.  Virtually all of them will make your hands look and feel better immediately, simply by smoothing the skin’s cuticle.  But many of them will have no long-term effect because their ingredients evaporate soon after application.  (We’ve all smeared our hands with cream and realized an hour or so later that they are dry again.)

The key ingredient for long-lasting moisturization is glycerin.  Glycerin has been around for centuries and it is the workhorse of moisturizers.  Glycerin is a humectant, a type of moisturizing agent that pulls water into the outer layer of your skin from the skin’s deeper layers and from the air. In skin care products, glycerin is commonly used with occlusives, another type of moisturizing agent, to trap the moisture that it draws into the skin.

With a pair of cotton gloves, one of these stellar and well-reviewed glycerin creams, and eight hours of slumber, your hands will soldier through daily washings without showing ill effects.



The five best glycerin creams

Camille Beckman’s Glycerin Hand Therapy not only smells divine (even for those who don’t like scented products) but is so rich in glycerin, the effect lasts through many hand washings.  It has an 85% five star rating on Amazon.  It’s more expensive than drug store hand creams but a tiny bit does both hands thoroughly.  About $20 on

Faithful users refer to Glysolid Glycerin Cream as a miracle skin care product.  Glysolid has been a favorite skin care product in Europe for over 70 years. This cream also contains allantoin, a plant-based healing ingredient.  The company maintains that the product promotes cell growth and wound healing.  Again, it’s more expensive than some drug store brands but you won’t need to use much.  About $13 on

Neutrogena’s Cracked Heel Foot Cream has been a drug store staple for years, a testament to its enduring efficacy.  The company also makes a version for hands but the foot version contains more glycerin.  About $10 on

Glysomed Hand Cream is a popular European hand cream rich in glycerin and chamomile.  It has a 91% five-star rating on Amazon.  It comes in scented (green tube) and unscented versions (white tube).  Six purse-size tubes about $25.50 on

Herbalind Glycerin Hand Cream is another European favorite.  It also contains alpha hydroxy acid which is a skin exfoliator.  It comes in scented (white tube) and unscented (yellow tube) versions.  About $14 on

The best gloves

CARA Moisturizing Cotton Gloves are the perfect white cotton gloves to use with hand cream.  They are lightweight, easy to wash, and completely reusable. Buy two dozen pairs for about $26.39 on

The best beauty routine for soft hands

  • Slather your hands with a glycerin-rich cream
  • Slide on a pair of cotton gloves
  • Clock eight hours of sleep

When you wake up in the morning, you will be amazed at how soft your hands feel.  Covid-19 will end, but you may decide to keep this soft-hands beauty habit for the rest of your life.

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