Best Hand Cream for Nurses

It's funny the things that you realize are important once you gain some experience on the job. While nursing-specific items like scrubs, stethoscopes, specially designed watches, etc, are all important, more practical items can be just as important as well, and are often crucial to maintaining a healthy lifestyle while you work your way through some long grueling shifts.

A few things I noticed that made huge differences in my overall well-being, particularly from a comfort standpoint, were good shoes, compression stockings, appropriate timing of caffeine intake, healthy diet/exercise/sleep outside of work, and last but not least, good hand cream!

In this article, we will focus on why hand cream can make a huge difference for nurses, and what sort of hand cream may be best for those in the nursing profession, or similar professions that are generally tough on the hands. Therefore, while this article is written with nurses in mind, please keep in mind that many professions can benefit from these high-quality hand creams.

Reviews of the Best Hand Cream for Nurses

While it's pretty clear that most nurses and other professions that are hard on the hands will benefit from high-quality moisturizing hand creams, these products can often be quite expensive. This can make it difficult to buy in on something really good , as no one really wants to waste their funds.

Therefore, these reviews are intended to provide you with information on a variety of hand creams that can be really good for nurses, nursing students, and other professions that involve work tough on the hands, hopefully providing you with a better idea of whether or not certain hand creams will be good for your particular needs. We will make sure to review hand creams for both men and women, but in our opinion, there isn't much difference between them other then the appearance of the bottle, and maybe the scent (if applicable).

You can find our reviews of the best hand cream for nurses below, and given we provide an overview of many different types, they are not ranked in any particular order. Below the reviews we will supply more general information about hand cream for nurses, so feel free to check that out as well!

Hand Cream


Price Range

Average Customer Rating

A very affordable, highly-popular, proven hand cream for everyday use. Fragrance-free. While nothing fancy about this cream, it is one of the best all-around hand creams for its price range.


Burt's Bees started with lip chap and had great success. This hand cream follows those footsteps. Made with almond oil, natural beeswax, and Vitamin E. No parabens. All-natural nutty almond scent.


Excellent value in this hand cream. Neutrogena is an extremely popular and reliable brand. This hand cream acts immediately, is non-greasy, fragrance-free, and lasts a while since you don't need to apply very much.


A lesser-known hand cream, this cream is packed with vitamins, manuka honey, and mafura oil, which all help promote hydration and healing. The fragrance is quite strong with this hand cream.


A very well-liked hand cream, Glysomed used glycerine for skin hydration, silicone to lock in the moisture, chamomile to help with irritated skin, and antioxidants for further protection. A slight "fresh"  odor.


Marketed towards men, but anyone can use it. Fragrance is slightly less strong than AHAVA's women's products. Rich in Dead Sea minerals, this is a great healing cream. Slightly greasy for the first few minutes. People have good results applying it before bed.


Nourishing hand cream with shea butter (nourishing), honey extract (soothing), and sweet almond extract (softening). Non-greasy. Lightly scented.


A stronger hand cream meant for dry, cracked, and chapped hands. Vitamin A and E condition skin and cuticles. Macadamia nut oil and eucalyptus condition, moisturize, and refresh skin. Fragrance-free and paraben-free.


A non-greasy creamy balm with 20% shea butter, as well as honey, almond extracts, and coconut oil. Excellent for moisturizing and healing. Light scent that some find pleasant, while others find it smells a little like diaper cream.


Excellent product that gets straight to the point. Well known for its healing properties and being absolutely odorless. Non-greasy and hypoallergenic. Nothing fancy, but excellent for really cracked or chapped hands, especially considering the low cost.


Best Hand Cream for Nurses - Individual Reviews

In this section, we would like to pick 5 hand creams from the table above and review them in more detail, particularly the ones we like best for nurses or find interesting for various reasons. Below these individual hand cream reviews, we will have our more general information about the broad topic of hand cream for nurses.

Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion

Aveeno is an extremely popular brand of hand cream and other moisturizers, and for good reason. The value is excellent, and as a brand that specializes in this category, you can have more confidence that you aren't being provided with a crummy product.It's fragrance-free, which we personally prefer, especially if wearing it in a clinical setting.

I have a little bit of personal bias with this hand cream, as it has been in my household for a while. I don't really use it extensively for repair of severely cracked or chaffed skin, but it's a great daily moisturizer that helps prevent those types of issues from occurring. Moreover, I find that many other people are familiar with Aveeno and like their products, whether or not they are nurses, so I like to have a bottle around the house in case people want to use some when they're over or staying as company.

We say the value is really good because you get a pretty decent amount considering the low cost, and at the end of the day, it's pretty effective. It's marketed as non-greasy, but i still find it just a tad greasy, mainly when I first put it on. After a few minutes it's fine. One thing to keep in mind is that you shouldn't really use this on your face. While it's not harmful by any means, some of the ingredients may promote clogging of the pores, so if possible, try and limit this to your hands and body. If your face is really dry and you need to use it, no problem at all, but it's probably best not to make a daily habit out of it.

Overall, we would recommend this hand cream for anyone looking for a familiar and basic, yet effective, moisturizing hand cream. It's a great item to have around the house, especially if you live in a climate with colder winters, or you just want something to prevent skin issues from arising after a long day of washing and scrubbing.

Burt's Bees Almond and Milk Hand Cream

If you are unfamiliar with Burt's Bees, the man behind the company (Burt) is an extremely enthusiastic beekeeper that saw many benefits of beeswax and honey. He started out making lip chap, which you may already be familiar with, and he had a lot of success with it due to the effectiveness and natural origins of the product. We mention this because, to this day, Burt is still a down-to-earth beekeeper that's not out to rip everyone off, but instead, share the love of bees.

While not as popular as Burt's Bees lip chap, the Burt's Bees Almond and Milk Hand Cream could be an excellent option for nurses; however, we should say right away that there is an all-natural nutty almond scent, so it may not be great for a clinical setting, especially if there are restrictions on fragrances or potential for severe allergic reactions. We aren't entirely sure if this is a hypo-allergenic product, but in those cases, it might not be worth the risk.

Otherwise, if you are using this product at home, it's great! It has a really creamy feel, which is weird at first because you think it's going to be really greasy, but it's not. The cream absorbs rather quickly, and rather than feeling greasy, your hands will simply feel much softer. The almond oil, milk, and Vitamin E all provide and facilitate moisturizing of the hands, while the natural beeswax essentially seals and conditions the skin.

Overall, this is a really nice hand cream for nurses, but may not be best to apply when in the actual clinical setting at work (depending on where you work of course). Otherwise, the scent is really nice, and the all-natural ingredients do a good job keeping the hands well moisturized for long periods of time.

Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream

This is another extremely popular hand cream on the market, one that we decided was worthy of our vote for #1 best value hand cream for nurses and other health care professionals. There are many reasons why we say this, so allow us to explain.

The Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream provides excellent value especially considering its effectiveness. The bottle is fairly small, about 2 oz (56 grams), but you only need a tiny bit to cover your entire hands and feel the difference. This makes it a great option to have with you anywhere you go, including work.

If you work in a clinical setting and are worried about the scent, don't be, because this hand cream is fragrance-free, a huge plus for nurses. If you prefer a slight fragrance, you can get this cream in a scented version as well. Additionally, the non-greasy formula will keep your hands feeling soft and moist, but not at all slippery or oily. This is in large part due to the relatively high concentration of glycerine, which promotes hydration and healing of the skin.

Overall, this is an extremely popular and well-liked hand cream for nurses that is made by a reliable brand known for these types of products. It has everything a nurse would want in a hand cream, and when combined with the portable size and the relatively low cost, it's available at an excellent value price point. In fact, on Amazon you can usually find them in packs of multiple bottles, which can add even more value to an already good hand cream.

Jack Black Industrial Strength Hand Healer

This Jack Black Industrial Strength Hand Healer is generally marketed towards males (if you couldn't already tell from the name), but realistically, anyone can use it. This is a great hand cream that focuses a little more on actually healing dry, cracked, and/or chaffed hands, as opposed to general daily use (although it can be used for that, too).

This hand cream has a lot of desirable characteristics. For example, it's alcohol-free, colorant-free, paraben-free, uses certified organic ingredients, vegan, cruelty-free, safe and suitable for all skin types, and dermatologist-tested. They also market it as a fragrance-free hand cream, which is sort of is, but you may notice a slight menthol-type scent when you first apply it. This only lasts a few minutes though.

Similar to the caveat surrounding its fragrance-free property, it's also non-greasy, but still seems a little greasy within the first few minutes of application. Nothing super noticeable, but just a warning that you may feel like it's a little oily the first few minutes after application, but it does go away pretty quickly. As you feel the oiliness going away, you may also notice a nice refreshing "cool" feeling (most likely related to the initial very slight menthol scent), and the greasiness will disappear, leaving your hands feeling great and natural.

Overall, this hand cream is extremely well-liked by those with dry, cracked, chaffed, and even cut hands, or with other conditions like eczema as well. It doesn't go on too thick that it's difficult to rub in, but it's also not overly thin to make it feel useless, just a perfect balance for those looking for a rejuvenating and healing hand cream, which are great properties for nurses and other health care professionals who are constantly washing and scrubbing their hands.

O'Keefe's Working Hands Hand Cream

This certainly isn't a fancy-looking product, but wow, does it ever get the job done. O'Keefe's Working Hands Hand Cream is relatively new on the market compared to many other hand cream brands, but this is isn't just a fad. The immense popularity of this hand cream is merit-based, as it's simply known to be super effective at helping to moisturize and heal severely dry, cracked, chaffed, and cut hands.

This hand cream is often marketed to those in outdoor laborious professions who are constantly tearing their hands apart. This doesn't mean it isn't good for more casual use, rather, it's one of the only hand creams out there for those individuals, so it's a smart strategy. This is also a great hand cream for nurses, as it is completely odorless, non-greasy, hypo-allergenic, and works on all skin types.

O'Keefe's Working Hands hand cream works by immediately supplying the skin with necessary hydration, then it forms a layer to further protect the skin and ensuring no further moisture loss. While this hand cream can be applied anytime, most people use it before bed as a healing cream, rather than everyday use and constant re-application throughout the day. Therefore, it may not be the best thing to carry around all the time, but it certainly works anytime. It can even be applied to open cuts without any sort of irritation, while still accelerating healing.

Overall, this is definitely one of the best healing hand creams for nurses, especially considering it's completely odorless, non-greasy, and hypo-allergenic. What's even more surprising is the very low cost. I feel like they could charge more. Nevertheless, that's one of the reasons people really like this hand cream. Therefore, we would recommend this hand cream to nurses who need something a little more advanced for the healing of cracked hands. It may not be the most practical to carry around at work, but it's definitely worth it to have around at home.

Why do nurses need good hand cream?

When I talk about this outside of work, people are often surprised to hear that nursing can be tough on the hands. Most of this misconception comes from the fact that most nurses work indoors, and therefore are not exposed to the "elements". Additionally, people outside of the medical professions often think that nurses have access to, and use, the highest quality treatments all the time. However, given the craziness that often occurs during a shift, nurses simply don't have time to be attending to themselves, and therefore are left recovering once they are off shift.

One of the main reasons that nurses' hands suffer after a set of shifts, and even more after making this full time work routine, is the constant hand washing and scrubbing. For most people in the general population, hand washing is something that can help hand health. While hand washing is certainly mandatory for good reasons in the nursing profession, the sheer amount of hand washing and thorough scrubbing involved, usually with harsher soaps, as well as the application of hand sanitizer, leads to the hands becoming extremely dry, and eventually cracking and becoming painful, as well giving them a generally rough appearance.

Nurses and nursing students often find many benefits from having a really nice high-quality hand cream that they can apply during breaks and on their off days. While more common and standard hand cream can totally have benefits as well, nurses are one of the professions that can really get more out of high-quality hand creams.

However, these high-quality moisturizing hand creams can sometimes be quite expensive, and it makes it really difficult to decide whether or not a certain hand cream is worth buying. Generally speaking, if the hand cream is highly popular, backed by science, and they aren't just making bold claims without any justification, then there's a decent chance it will be a worthwhile purchase, at least to try and get a sense of the effectiveness of these types of hand creams in general.

Why does hand washing and scrubbing irritate skin?

This is a notion that many people find counter-intuitive. If we are constantly immersing our hands in water, as well as cleaning them, shouldn't they be more soft and hydrates if anything? If we break it down a little, one can start to see more clearly why hand washing and scrubbing can make your hands dry, chaffed, and cracked.

First of all, most soaps are alkaline (basic and dissolved in water, as opposed to acidic), whereas the natural oils on our hands tend to have a slightly acidic pH. The soap can strip these natural protective oils away, which usually isn't a big deal because your hands can replenish them rather quickly. However, for nurses and other health care professionals who are constantly washing their hands, their hands may not have the adequate time needed between washes to replenish these protective oils, thereby leaving the hands more exposed to the elements throughout the day.

Drying your hands with a towel can also be more beneficial than air drying. When water is in contact with your skin and evaporation occurs, some people believe this evaporation can also disrupt the natural oils as well as the skin itself, leaving it feeling a little more dry than when dried with a towel.

Last but not least, nurses have to wash their hands thoroughly. This means ample soap, water, and lots of thorough scrubbing. In addition to the soap and water we described previously, the physical act of repeatedly scrubbing your hands at the same time can also act to wear down the skin.

In summary, hand washing and scrubbing is extremely important for anyone in a clinical setting, especially nurses. The sheer amount of repetitive washing means your hands cannot replenish the natural oils quickly enough, which is where a good hand cream for nurses can really make a huge difference.

What makes a good hand cream for nurses?

There are so many different brands and types of hand creams out there that it can be difficult to know what is and isn't important. If you're a nurse and are looking for the best hand cream, a lot of this will simply come down to personal preference; however, there are a few things to keep in mind that may help with a decision.

Many clinical settings prohibit the use of fragrances and scents. Usually, hand creams aren't the worst for this, especially in comparison to perfumes and body sprays, but if you want to play it safe, it's probably best to look for a fragrance-free/scent-free hand cream, or worst case, something that is just lightly scented.

Also, look for the term "non-greasy" or "non-oily". These are indications that the hand cream can be applied anywhere and any time of day. Usually they will feel a little greasy at first, but after a few seconds or minutes you shouldn't notice the cream at all, other than your hands feeling better. If you're applying the hand cream at home, for example, before bed, then this won't matter as much. There isn't anything wrong with a hand cream that is slightly greasier, it just makes your hands feel a little more slippery.

In our opinion, practical considerations should play a fairly large role in the decision as well. We like hand creams that come in small portable bottles, and that you don't need to use much of. For example, the Neutrogena Norwegian Formula hand cream we reviewed above is a great example of this. The bottles are usually really small, often around 2 oz, but you only need a small drop of the cream for it to be effective, so it still lasts a while. This makes it really easy to have on you and apply throughout the day. If you're a nurse and don't want to carry it around in your scrubs pocket, you can still easy apply it on your breaks, and if you need to take it back and forth from work to home, it's not a big deal at all.

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