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Boots No7 Revitalising Hand Saviour is brilliant. It's like a scrub for hands. You rub it into dry hands and then rinse it off and it leaves hands soft and moisturised. It's done wonders for my old lady knuckles
Don't know what glycolic acid is, but I would try loads of Vaseline, bio oil, other facial oils, palmers cocoa butter, or aqueous cream. Or all of them in succession and see which gets the best results. You can put it on at night and wear cotton gloves to help it soak in, if that's not too weird for you!
I am pretty resigned to my old lady hands but they have been a bit better since I started using Claris lotus facial oil on my face - it leaves my hands very oily so I just rub it in, and actually it's had an effect.
My hands were so sore, cracked and bleeding, that I went to the doctors and got a prescription for a moisuriser. It turned out to be useless. I bought weleda calendula baby lotion for my DD and after 2 days use my hands were back to normal-its fantastic stuff!
Just get any handcream on offer in boots or supermarket and put one by every sink in the house so you apply it whenever you wash your hands. Then use a really good handcream with cotton gloves at night. I really love the L'Occitane Shea butter one. And mix in some nail oil with it. Or I even sometimes add some Lansinoh cream!
wetdog the No7 stuff moisturised but also exfoliated away the horrible crusty, flakey bits I'd get on my knuckles. They looked awful before I started using it. It also helped with my very thick and ragged cuticles without me needing to buy anything specifically for them.
Dry your hands properly every time you wash them. At night apply lots of the body shop hemp hand cream. During the day doublebase dayleve gel is excellent, dries quickly and doesn't leave your hands sticky. It's very good on eczema too.
Wash your hands with aqueous cream, not soap. You can get a big tub for £1 from Savers. It's £4.00 in Boots, cheeky sods. Then do all the moisturising stuff too. I have Diprobase from the GP but that's because I have eczema. I'm going to try the Weleda too now.
I second the brown sugar (or salt) mixed with olive oil as a good exfoliating scrub to start you off
then follow up with Pedical Heel Balm - I kid you not - I once accidentally picked this up instead of my hand cream - never looked back - without doubt the best mistake I ever made - its brilliant stuff for dry cracked hands too
If you can, go and get a deluxe manicure at a good beauty salon to start you off- I did this a the weekend and my hands feel like someone else's, lovely and soft and it will now be easier to keep them that way (I hope)
foot creams are more kick-ass for really dry hands. They have more hardworking ingredients. Once you've got the skin in decent condition, I think it's a good idea to do whatever you do to your face, to your hands too - so creams, scrubs, masks serums etc
Flexitol heel balm, the one with 25% urea, four times a day = lovely soft hands in 4 days. My hands were like sandpaper before this, cracked and sore too. It's wonderful stuff if lacking the glamour factor.
I second the washing with a bar of soap instead of liquid soap. My hands have gone from being cracked and constantly bleeding to looking lovely and smooth purely from just using bars of soap. I still wash my hands loads (this is my trouble) and I hate the feel of hand cream so never use it but am so pleased to have nice hands again .