How does hand lotion work?

In the winter, I sometimes get horribly dry knuckles, at times dry enough to crack and bleed a little bit. When I use certain types of hand creams, it fixes it in almost no time, whereas others don’t really do much at all.

What is it about hand lotion that fixes dry skin? If moisture is all the skin needs, why would you not be able to just soak your hands in water for a while?

It isn’t really about moisture, but the replacement of lost natural oils in the skin, as a WAG. Companies have included products like lanolin in their cream and moisturiser products for years, because it is the oil in the skin that keeps it supple, rather than straight-out water.

As I understand it, lotion not only lubricates the skin, but locks in the moisture already there. I was told once that the best time to lotion your hands is after you’ve washed and patted them dry.

Lotion mimicks your skin’s natural oils. Working conditions or weather can dry up the oils from the skin and cause it to crack or be painfully itchy. Lotion helps bring things back into balance.

If your skin is particularly bad, I suggest using an agricultural product called “Bag Balm.” (The real name-- I kid you not.) It’s used for cow udders which are dry and cracked from milking, and you can probably find it at any farm supply store. It’s got the consistancy and look of Vaseline, but is absolutley wonderful for super-dry skin.