Not too long ago I overheard a conversation at the gym between two muscle dudes. One was doing bench presses while the other spotted. The spotter said to the lifter: "Dude, you should wear gloves." (Of course, he said this in his butchest tone). The lifter simply replied, "Dude, I'm not a gardener."

Sure, it makes sense and I understand the lifter. I do some weight training and I don't wear gloves either. I think they're quite silly actually. Unless you're training for the Olympics. But the spotter (who, obviously, was wearing gloves) did have a point. Heaving all the equipment around, we tend to overwork our hands, ultimately developing chafed palms, drier hands and even callouses (lord knows mine can sometimes get as hard as knots). Because I'm stubborn and too cool for school, I sacrifice these results due to the lack of gloves (I'm really not going to wear them). An alternative, however, is a good hand cream.

Finding one that really penetrates isn't exactly the easiest thing for men. We have thicker skin than women thus thicker creams are necessary. Lighter creams usually tend to be greasy and I find they don't really help (think of a good face mask that penetrates the pores). The closest to best is Jack Black's Industrial Strength Hand Healer.

By no means will it magically get rid of the callouses, but it definitely softens them. After all, it's a rich cream packed with vitamin A and E, which help heal dry, rough skin (and cuticles to boot!). It also contains eucalyptus (the scent, which I love, is not overbearing) and rice bran oil, surprisingly an antioxidant and helps soften (as women in Africa tend to use milk for soft skin, Asian women have traditionally used rice bran oil for their soft, smooth skin, FYI).

The hand cream is soothing and moisturizing and definitely addictive. And it's great if you're involved in all sorts of recreational activities (not just weight lifting). Bikers, cooks, carpenters... whoever gets down and dirty with their hands will benefit. For $15, it's not a bad investment. Wearing gloves at the gym? Eh, let's keep the gloves in the garden.

Ingredients in Jack Black Industrial Strength Hand Healer

Water, Glycerin, Cetearyl Alcohol, PEG 32, Coco Glycerides, Rice Bran Oil (oryza sativa), Cyclomethicone, Polymethylmethacrylate, PEG 100 Stearate, Dimethicone, Allantoin, Tocopheryl Acetate (vitamin E), Retinyl Palmitate (vitamin A)Dimethiconol, Eucalyptus Globulus Oil, Phospholipids, Steareth 2, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin, Methylparaben, Benzoic Acid.