Nurses work hard to keep their hands clean. But all the washing and sanitizing can seriously dry your skin. Hand lotion is a must for any RN on-the-go, but what exactly is the best hand lotion for nurses? See our 14 recommendations below:
Our top pick is the L’Occitane Shea Butter cream. It moisturizes your skin and protects it from the drying effects of sanitizer for multiple washes.
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The 14 Best Hand Lotions for Nurses
L’Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream
This is our top pick for nurses who frequently wash their hands. It quickly absorbs into the skin and provides moisturizing relief. Not only that, but the cream creates a protective barrier that prevents soap from drying your hands for multiple washes.
- Soothing combination of shea butter, honey, coconut oil, and almond extract
- Moisturizes and protects the skin against further damage
- Softens hands without leaving grease or oil
- Can be applied multiple times per day
- One bottle lasts a long time, making it a great gift
The Body Shop Hemp Hand Protector
This 1 ounce bottle of lotion is excellent for those with sensitive skin. It hydrates, softens, and protects your hands from damage. The hemp seed oil has been dermatologically proven to help extremely dry skin. Each moisturizing treatment can last up to 24 hours, though you may need to reapply sooner if you wash your hands frequently.
- Designed for people with sensitive skin
- Uses hemp seed oil to rejuvenate very dry skin
- Softens, moisturizes, and relieves sore hands
- Cruelty-free and ethically sourced ingredients
Gloves in a Bottle Shielding Lotion
These 3 ounce bottles of lotion are the best waterproof hand lotion on the market. It moisturizes irritated skin and helps promote healing. For nurses who frequently sanitize their hands, the fact that it doesn’t wash off is a lifesaver. Every dose lasts from 4 to 12 hours.
- Moisturizes dry and irritated skin
- Suitable for those with psoriasis and eczema
- Waterproof, lasting from 4 to 12 hours
- Protects against rashes and skin allergies
- Vegan, hypoallergenic, and uses FDA-approved ingredients
Gold Bond Ultimate Intensive Healing Hand Cream
This is a three-ounce bottle of lotion that’s the best for nurses with peeling hands. Too much sanitizer can cause serious skin damage. This cream is dermatologist tested, doesn’t wash off, and uses hypoallergenic ingredients. It’s built for sensitive skin.
- Doesn’t wash away with soap and water
- Lightly scented with hypoallergenic ingredients
- Blends soothing aloe, moisturizing Vitamin E, and antioxidants in Vitamin C
- HYDRALAST technology blends ingredients to moisturize consistently through your shift
This hand cream absorbs quickly without leaving greasy traces!
Aveeno Skin Relief Intense Moisture Repair Cream
If your skin is often irritated by fragrances, this fragrance-free lotion is a lifesaver. The protective ceramide helps prevent moisture loss through multiple hand washings. Since the tub is 11 ounces, you can expect it to last a while.
- Fragrance-free and formulated for sensitive skin
- Restores the skin’s natural moisture barrier and prevents moisture loss due to washing
- Triple Oat Complex uses three active ingredients to soothe, hydrate, and heal skin
- Moisturizes for 24 hours
- Can be used all over the body in addition to your hands
If you're looking for a bulk option to keep your hands hydrated, look no further than the Aveeno skin repair moisturizing cream.
Burt’s Bees Shea Butter Hand Repair Cream
This cream is specially formulated for dry skin. It’s also safe for individuals with diabetes to use. The tube of lotion has a low-stick formula that’s less greasy than the lotion in a Burt’s Bees jar.
- Tube of creamy, low-grease lotion for dry skin
- Uses sesame oil and cocoa butter to repair and soften the skin
- Includes Vitamin E for extra nourishment
- Clean, pleasant scent
- Contains zero parabens, petrolatum, or phthalates
Give your hands the break they deserve with this naturally moisturizing hand lotion that revitalizes tough, dried out skin
Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream
At just two ounces, this bottle of hand cream is smaller than most on the list. But it comes in a pack of four. The fragrance-free composition is ideal for sensitive skin, and the lotion soothes both irritation and itching.
- Pack of three 2-ounce bottles
- Fragrance free for sensitive skin
- Strongly concentrated high-moisture formula
- High in glycerin content
- Moisturizes throughout the day
Just a dab of this glycerin-enriched formula instantly relieves and protects seriously dry or chapped hands
Vanicream Moisturizing Cream with Pump
This is the best cream for nurses with eczema. The 16 ounce bottle has a hand pump and can last for months. Dermatologists have tested the formula and confirmed that it soothes cracked, itchy, and irritated skin.
- 16 ounce fragrance-free bottle of lotion
- National Eczema Foundation has given it the Seal of Acceptance
- Can be used as a face and body moisturizer as well
- Does not clog pores
- Non-greasy and quickly absorbed
This 16-oz bottle with a pump packs a serious punch of moisture.
Aveda Hand Relief Moisturizing Cream
Each 4.2 ounce bottle of Aveda cream is packed with anti-aging antioxidants. It’s a great option for nurses who want to repair their dry skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Ongoing use can increase the skin’s elasticity and moisture levels on a permanent basis.
- Stimulates collagen production to reduce wrinkles
- Uses hydrating plant compounds and exfoliating acids from fruits
- Loaded with Vitamin A, Vitamin E, and other powerful antioxidants
- Noticeably softens and smooths hands
Vermont’s Original Bag Balm for Dry Chapped Skin
This four-ounce tin contains moisturizer that’s been used since 1899. It’s the best formula on the market for dry patches of skin. The lanolin helps to repair cracked heels, elbows, knuckles, and hands. You can also opt for a one-ounce or eight-ounce tin.
- Good for cracked skin all over the body
- Simple, lanolin-based formula has been used since 1899
- Soothes abrasions, cuts, and irritation
- Softens and moisturizes the skin
- Available in different tin sizes
EO Everyone Lotion with Coconut and Lemon
At 32 ounces, this is one of the largest bottles of lotion on the market. It’s the best lotion if you’re looking for 3-in-1 action that goes beyond your hands. The formula is gentle enough for your face and hydrating enough for your body.
- Moisturizes your hands, face, and body
- 32 ounce bottle with an easy pump
- Pleasant coconut and lemon scent
- Gluten, paraben, and polysorbate free
- Natural and organic ingredients
This pack of two 32-oz bottles contain coconut and lemon, pure essential oils, coconut oil, aloe vera, and vitamin E.
L’Occitane Nourishing and Intensive Hand Balm
This is another excellent offering from L’Occitane. If you want a lotion with a higher concentration of shea butter than our top recommendation, then this is the one to pick. It contains 25 percent shea butter alongside other active, soothing ingredients.
- Soothing hand lotion that can be gently massaged into the skin
- High concentration of shea butter
- Formulated for mildly dry and very dry skin
- Softens the skin and soothes irritation
- Provides ongoing moisture
L’Occitane Moisturizing Hand Lotion with Lavender
The light lavender scent of this lotion helps to enhance relaxation. Lavender is a favored scent in aromatherapy for this reason! With that said, an unscented product is best for those with sensitive skin.
- Relaxing lavender scent
- Shea butter soothes and moisturizes
- Designed for dry skin
- Penetrates deep into the skin to repair and replenish
Tips for How Nurses Can Keep Hands Moisturized
Finding the best lotion for nurses is only half the battle. You can also make lifestyle changes that prevent your hands from drying out. From regularly using moisturizer to adding new ingredients to your self-care routine, there are ways to be kinder to your skin.
Always thoroughly dry your hands after washing.
Not only is this important for your skin health, it’s also important for your job. Dry hands don’t spread germs as easily as wet hands. Don’t believe us? Read this. As a nurse, you want to keep germ spreading to a minimum – that’s why you wash your hands so often!
Wet hands are also more likely to dry out. Though that sounds strange, it isn’t. Water and sanitizer can damage the moisture in your skin.
Gloves in a bottle will stay on your hands through multiple washings.
Apply moisturizer several times a day.
The best lotion for nurses is one that can moisturize your skin several times daily. You might use a moisturizer while getting ready for bed and think that’s enough. It isn’t!
During each shift, you’re constantly drying your skin with soap and sanitizer. Even some waterproof moisturizers won’t last as long as they should in the face of this aggression. By reapplying moisturizer, you give your hands a chance to heal.
The more you apply your moisturizer, the more protected your skin becomes against further damage. This also gives your hands the chance to replenish their natural reserves of moisture, aided by Vitamin E and antioxidants, such as what you may find in Aveda’s Hand Relief Lotion.
Use a cotton glove and night cream for sleeping.
The procedure is simple: cover your hands in the lotion, and then pull the gloves on. The gloves seal in the lotion so it can’t rub off while protecting your hands from the dry air. As you sleep, your skin gets a chance to heal.
In the winter, look for ingredients like shea butter or petrolatum.
Shea butter and petrolatum are both emollient ingredients. This means that they create a barrier of moisture over the skin. Soap and sanitizer can’t penetrate this barrier to dry your skin.
This is especially important in the winter, when the cold and dry air can worsen dry skin and eczema. Many lotions contain shea butter, but this formula from L’Occitane has a very high concentration.
For sensitive hands, use non-fragrance and dye-free options.
Sensitive skin is more likely to react to fragrances, chemicals, and artificial ingredients. That’s why it’s best to look for fragrance-free options.
If you’re prone to allergic reactions, look for hypoallergenic formulas. And of course, make sure none of your known allergens are on the ingredients list for your lotion.
This fragrance-free lotion is ideal for irritated, sensitive skin.
Our top pick for the best hand cream for nurses is the L’Occitane Shea Butter hand cream. Not only is it affordable, but the product’s design makes it long-lasting as well.
Many hand lotions wash off with soap, which isn’t helpful for nurses. You’re constantly sanitizing and scrubbing your hands. The L’Occitane cream forms a barrier over the skin that protects it throughout several washes.
Not only does this moisturize your hands, but it helps prevent soap and sanitizer from drying them out again. It’s a protective measure that’s great for frequently-washed hands. If you have a nurse in your life, this lotion makes a thoughtful and affordable gift.
When choosing your own lotion, remember to keep your needs in mind. If you have eczema, sensitive skin, or allergies, always look for lotion that’s formulated specifically for those issues.