As the weather cools, the air outside and in your home will likely begin to dry out a little bit. Dry air can make our hard working, gardening hands dry out quickly and become a source of unneeded pain. Here is an overview of several popular commercially available products specifically made to ease our industrious and sometimes abused hands.
Hopefully you don't have dry, cracked skin on your hands, but if you do let it be because of beautiful, healthy plants and from hours of enjoyment in your garden. Soil, rocks, and working with tools can do a number on our hands as gardeners. With any luck and a little help from this article you'll be able to find an excellent cure for your hard-working hands.
Hand Creams and Salves for Gardeners
Crabtree & Evelyn Gardeners Hand Therapy Cream
This well reviewed hand cream is concocted with shea butter, green clover, lavender, yarrow, and calendula to be nourishing and protective to gardeners' hands. It is available online and in Crabtree & Evelyn stores around the world for around $15-20 US.
Queen Bee Sauce Butta Hand Cream for Gardeners
According to its maker, Butta Hand Cream has the texture of whipped butter which is where it gets its name. It is made with camphor, cinnamon oil, lemongrass, lavender, catnip, and aloe along with mango, coconut and palm oils. The fragrance is formulated to keep bugs away during gardening and the moisturizing quality helps during and after a day out in the garden. Butta Hand Cream is available online for about $22.
Chandler's Natural Gardeners Hand Cream
Calendula-infused water blended with sandalwood, yarrow and chamomile distillates and aloe vera is combined with shea butter (a traditional healing oil), wheat germ oil (a natural source of Vitamin E) and four other oils. Added to that is an uplifting blend of essential oils. Gardener's Hand Cream is available online in a 2.5 oz. tube for about $9.
Burt's Bees Hand Salve
Burt's Bees is a Maine-based company that sells all-natural body products such as lip balms, shampoos, and moisturizers. Burt's Bees Hand Salve is described as their most intensive hand treatment and is made with olive oil, beeswax, rosemary comfrey, and lavender. Burt's Bees Hand Salve is available at drug stores around the world for about $8 US.
Gloves in a Bottle
Gloves in a Bottle is a shielding lotion that bonds to the outer layer of your skin and seals in your skin's natural oils which protects your hands from the drying of dirt and constant washing. Gloves in a Bottle is available at pharmacies and grocery stores around the world as well as online for about $15 US.
Bag Balm was originally concocted to soften cow udders and has been sold in its signature green tin for over 100 years. The company began in 1899 and still operates in its original location in Vermont today. Bag Balm is sold as a hand salve for humans as well as a tincture for domesticated animals such as dogs, horses and cows. Its active ingredients are an antiseptic and a petrolatum and lanolin base (1). Bag Balm is available at drug stores, feed and tack stores around the US for about $7.
O'Keefe's Working Hands Cream
O'Keefe's is a family owned and operated business from Oregon that was started by a woman who had just graduated pharmacy school when she set out to create a hand salve for her rancher father's hard worked hands. She came up with the recipe for O'Keefe's Working Hands Cream which contains no oil and is recommended by the HandyMan Club of America. You can find an 8 oz. tub for about $6.
Hand Scrubs for Gardeners
Gardeners by Upper Canada- Lemon Verbena Hand Scrub
Upper Canada Soap & Candle Makers makes both a hand scrub and a hand lotion specifically for gardeners. They used crushed leaves of lemon verbena, papaya, and bergamot to create the fragrance with the soothing properties of safflower oil and green tea extract. As with most products on this list, they make their products without ever testing on animals and use packaging that is recyclable. Upper Canada's products can be found at variety stores and online for about $12.
Earths Organics Gardeners Hand and Body Scrub
Earths Organics Gardeners Hand and Body Scrub is made in New Zealand from organic botanical ingredients such as crushed apricot kernels and walnut shells along with lavender oil and manuka honey to naturally exfoliate rough skin and loosen caked on dirt. This product comes in a 16 oz. plastic pump dispenser for about $24.
Mangiacotti Eden Gardener's Hand Scrub
Eden Gardener's Hand Scrub is a moisturizing hand scrub that is perfect for those times when your hands are caked in clay or mud after a tough day outside. This foaming scrub is made with apricot shells and pumice to exfoliate and chamomile extract is added for its healing qualities. Mangiacotti also makes an Eden hand lotion and hand soap. Each can be found online for about $15-18.
Some other easy-to-find products that work great on chapped gardening hands are olive oil and lanolin. Both can be found reasonably priced at drug stores and function as great moisturizers.
If you have a favorite hand salve or lotion that you don't see on this list, please feel free to share it with the rest of us in the comment section below.
This article does not represent any endorsement or support from Dave's Garden; it is simply meant as an informative list for gardeners.
Photos of products used from each company's advertising/promotional website. Photos of hand courtesy of morguefile.com
About Susanne Talbert
I garden in beautiful Colorado Springs, half a mile from Garden of the Gods. Since we bought our first house two years ago, I have been busy revamping my 1/4 acre of ignored decomposed granite.
My garden passions include water gardening, vines, super-hardy perennials, and native xerics. By day, I am a high school ceramics teacher as well as a ceramicist and painter.