Hand Cream for Woodworkers

Woodworkers recommend remedies for winter shop-chapped hands. February 15, 2009

At the risk of sounding like a wimp and being prepared for any and all heat, here goes. In the winter my hands get really chapped and rough and I'm always afraid of using any old hand cream because of stains or contamination of the wood causing finishing problems later on. Has anyone found a good tough hand cream for men that doesn't feel greasy, smell like flowers, and leave stains on the wood?

Forum Responses
(WOODnetWORK Forum)
From contributor X:
Avon “skin so soft” cream works great.

From Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
Corn Huskers or Lubriderm works for me.

From contributor W:
I second Corn Huskers and add Zims Crack Cream. Also when I do lots of seat weaving little cracks develop at the corners of the finger nails, then I reach for Nexcare's Skin Crack Care that seals the crack and helps heal.

From contributor G:
Bag Balm.

From contributor K:
Aside from the cream for re-moisturizing, I think one of the problems is due to the fact that our hands get thick skin which when it dries out shrinks. If you will notice before they crack, how tough they feel, then after the crack is there, the extra thickness around the cracks, which makes them even worse.

I take a piece of medium grit paper to sand those areas ever so often when I think it is getting too thick. Sometimes I even use my random orbit sander to do a quick job of it. I think the thinner skin is less prone to drying and shrinking and cracking than those hard leather paws.

From contributor D:
Aquaphor has changed my life for the better. Whatever secret ingredient is in this stuff, it heals cracks like nothing else. A little costly perhaps but it seems to promote healing, not simply moisturize. Great stuff. Turned on to it by a nurse because they have to wash their hands so many times each day cracks are a big problem, particularly in the winter. Well winters have improved greatly for me now that I no longer have to use butterfly bandages and tape all winter long.

From contributor K:
Oh I forgot my favorite cure after you get them is to cut about 3/4" of a nice healthy fat leaf of aloe, then peel the skin off of one side and tape a piece of it right over the crack before going to bed. Nothing feeds new cell growth like this natural plant. Use the creams during the day.

From the original questioner:
Thanks for all the suggestions. I'm going to give them all a try and see what works best for me.

From contributor J:
I seconds the Bag Balm. Anything that's good for a cow's teets has to be good for a cabinetmaker’s hands.

From Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
Our local store did not carry Corn Huskers anymore, so I tried Zim's Crack Cream and it is fantastic too.