The older I get, the more hypersensitive I am becoming to dry hands. They itch; they turn red and grow scales; they cry out for a drink. There are times when my day must come to a screeching halt until I can hydrate my hands. When I’m in the car I reach for hand lotion so often that it looks like I have a nervous tic. (The habit has led to many a lost ring - taken off and dropped in my lap never to be seen again.) Now that my left ring finger has taken center stage, the need for well-moisturized, manicured hands is more acute than ever.

My compulsive hand moisturizing goes hand in hand (so to speak) with my compulsive hand washing. Though I never thought good hygiene could do harm, I have noticed that the frequent scuffles with soap are adding years to my hands. But like magic, the moment I apply a good hand cream, the signs of aging go into hiding. One such product that has taken up permanent residence in my bag of tricks is Pharmacopia Hand Cream.

The criteria I consider most essential for a hand cream to qualify as superior are as follows: 1) It makes your skin feel silky smooth and look healthy; 2) It does not leave a greasy sheen or make your fingers slippery; 3) It has lasting power over an hour (depending on whatever activity you do with your hands after application).

Pharmacopia’s Hand Cream satisfies all these criteria and more. It fills in the cracks and wrinkles that form when my hands are dry and gets into the nooks between my fingers to relieve redness. While some of my other lotions leave grease marks on my computer keys, this cream seems to have struck the perfect balance between a lightweight consistency and lasting hydration.

What attracted me to Pharmacopia in the first place was its stated mission to choose healthy ingredients and go organic whenever possible, while shunning the use of artificial colors, fillers, fragrance, and parabens. The hand cream’s formula bears out this mission. More commonly known for its medicinal properties than its topical benefits, aloe leaf juice is the second ingredient after water. Its anti-inflammatory effects help soothe irritated skin, like the chapped creases between my fingers.

Sweet almond oil, glycerin, shea butter, and a few fatty alcohols make up the main emollients. An interesting line-up of herbs, oils, and vitamins (vit C and vit E) follows shortly after, contributing antioxidant protection. Unfortunately, sandwiched between the good and the great is the nefarious phenoxyethanol. Why did Pharmacopia have to made it harder than ever to avoid this controversial preservative? At least, for the hand cream’s sake, it is equally hard to find fault with the rest of the formula.

Though I can’t speak to Pharmacopia’s other varieties (all boast organic shea butter as their base), I have been using the Jasmine & Clary Sage Hand Cream. I’m not enamored with the fragrance, but I have never been jasmine’s biggest fan. Combined with clary sage, the aroma seems to take on a medicinal tinge. By no means is the scent a deal breaker, though, as it is subtle enough to go unnoticed. Oddly enough, my puppy voraciously licks my hands when they’re coated in Pharmacopia’s cream. At least somebody likes it!

What I realized while healing my winter-worn hands with this cream is that I don't have a moisturizing compulsion after all. I was only lubing up so frequently because I was using poor-quality lotions (i.e. the free kind from hotels). With Pharmacopia's help, I have drastically cut down my use of moisturizer and given my hands a new lease on life.

Ingredients:
Aqua, Aloe Leaf Juice, Cetearyl Alcohol, Sweet Almond Oil, Cetyl Alcohol, Shea Butter, Glycerin, Stearic Acid, Polysorbate 60, Phenoxyethanol, Jasmine Oil, Sage Oil, Olive Fruit Oil, Wheat Germ Oil, Marshmallow Root Extract, Oat Straw Extract, Chamomile Extract, Symphytum Officialis Extract, Carrageenan Extract. Ethylhexylglycerin, Xanthum Gum, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Alcohol, Titanium Dioxide, Tocopheryl Acetate.