Zim's Crack Creme is such a guilessly awful brand that you know it must be good for you. If your hands have been ravaged by winter or washing up, then Zim's is the thing to fix them up. It might not be pretty, but it works.

Developed before the Second World War by a pharmacist in Austintown Ohio in response to workers at the local cement factory with chronically dry hands, it was originally called Cement Workers' Lotion. Why anyone thought that Zim's Crack Creme was a better brand name is beyond me. Anyhow, Zim's is apparently the biggest importer of arnica in America. Arnica, derived from a plant that tends to grow at fairly high altitudes, is a well-known homeopathic anti-inflammatory in Europe. The ability of arnica to calm bruising on the skin also makes it a popular ingredient in plastic surgery recovery kits.

Zim's can be used on elbows, knees and feet as well as hands. For particularly battered feet, look out for packs of Zim's Foot Spa.