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What Ingredients Should I Look for in a Natural Hand Cream?

Hand creams are an essential part of our daily care. Our hands are constantly busy throughout the day and are exposed to several elements and substances. Whenever you’re performing household chores, whether cooking or cleaning, you wash your hands several times. All the soap and detergents can strip away the moisture from your hands. It’s therefore vital to take proper care of them. One of the most common hand care products is a hand cream. It’s easy to use, nourishing and prevents the skin from drying out.

You can find a variety of hand creams in the store. It’s always better to go for homemade and skin-friendly options that have natural ingredients in them. This article will discuss some ingredients you should look for in hand cream to get the maximum benefit from your product.

hand cream
A good hand cream should consist of emollients, humectants, and occlusives.
Photo by Ron Lach :

1.  Emollients

Emollients are lipids that soothe, soften, and hydrate the skin by covering it with a protecting film. They cover the spaces and cracks on the skin and help alleviate skin conditions like eczema, ichthyosis, and psoriasis. If you have dry, itchy, or scaly skin, you should go for hand creams with emollients in them. Emollients can be in the form of oils, creams, ointments, or lotions.

Some popular emollients are:


Beeswax is a naturally occurring humectant and makes for an excellent emollient. It’s one of the most common ingredients you’ll find in natural hand cream.

Shea Butter

Shea Butter is another moisturizer that’s great for fresh and hydrated skin.

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera gel is naturally derived from the aloe vera plant. It has soothing properties and helps in reducing psoriasis symptoms.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is one of the most commonly used moisturizers for the skin. It has healing properties as it fights free radicals and nourishes the skin.

Other emollients include glycerin, cocoa butter, oatmeal, squalene, coconut oil, sweet almond oil, lanolin, mineral oil, urea, jojoba oil, and sunflower oil, among many others.

2.  Humectants 

Humectants are common moisturizing agents, and they perform the task of pulling water from the air and sealing it to the skin.  

Not all humectants are similar, and hence, you should check which one suits you the most. Some examples are:

AHAs (Alpha-hydroxy acids)

AHAs are derived naturally and are common ingredients in anti-aging products. You can also derive other benefits from them as they remove dead skin cells and help in moisturizing.

Salicylic Acid

Salicylic acid is used to treat blackheads and whiteheads. It also helps reduce acne by drying out the excess oil and removing the dead skin cells. It enables the moisturizer to penetrate the skin better. Salicylic acid can be naturally-derived or synthetic.

Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic acid is made with Vitamin C and is used in treating wrinkles and lubricating the skin.


Glycerin is one of the most common moisturizing ingredients you’ll find in skincare products. It’s derived from plant-based or animal-based lipids.

Other humectants are panthenol, glycol, lactic acid, beeswax, and sodium lactate.

3.  Occlusives

Occlusives are also moisturizing agents that act as a barrier to hold the moisturizers in. If you have extremely dry skin or suffer from eczema, you can benefit from a hand cream with occlusives in it.


Petrolatum is derived from mineral oil and contains complex hydrocarbons. It’s an excellent ingredient for preventing water loss compared to other occlusives.


Silicones give shine to the skin’s surface. Some silicones are water and oil-soluble, while others aren’t.

Carnauba Wax

Also known as Brazil wax or palm wax, carnauba wax is a thickening agent due to its film-forming properties.

Castor oil

Castor oil is also a great occlusive as it aids in preventing water loss. It comprises ricinoleic acid having antioxidant properties and protecting the skin from free radical damage.

hand cream
Castor oil is a great natural occlusive that helps lock moisture into the skin.
Photo by Karolina Grabowska:

Petroleum jelly, beeswax, squalene, lanolin, shea butter, bath oils, and dimethicone are other occlusive ingredients.

4.  Essential Oils

Essential oils can enhance the appeal of your hand cream as they’re aromatic and packed with skin-nourishing nutrients. Some common essential oils are lavender, rose, chamomile, rosehip, sandalwood, sweet orange, and carrot seed.

German Chamomile 

This is an amazing oil that repairs the skin and stimulates collagen production. It has anti-inflammatory and soothing properties. If you’re suffering from eczema and extremely dry skin, you should use a hand cream made with this oil.

Frankincense Oil 

This essential oil helps keep your hands young and alleviates any signs of aging. It contains fatty acids and antioxidants that help protect the elastin cells and collagen.

Rosemary Essential Oil 

Rosemary essential oil relaxes tired muscles, relieves pain, and soothes dry hands. It also improves blood circulation and provides essential vitamins and trace elements.

Carrot Seed Oil

Carrot Seed essential oil improves elasticity and rejuvenates skin cells. It’s a moisturizing oil that lightens the dark spots and prevents sun damage.   


Homemade hand creams made with all-natural ingredients contain essential skin-nourishing ingredients and are great for dry and tired hands. Moisturizing your hands is the primary job of hand cream, and these moisturizers are made from combining emollients, humectants, and occlusives. You can customize the ingredients according to your needs and choose an aromatic essential oil for added benefits and a great scent.

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