This article originally appeared on Real Simple.
“Working on the casino floor, I’ve seen people take chips out of their shoes and bras, even hold them between their teeth before putting them on the table for me to pick up! I’ve tried many hand soaps but the one I carry in my workbag is Bath & Body Works Black Cherry Merlot Deep Cleansing Hand Soap ($6.50; bathandbodyworks.com). You’d never know it was a deep cleansing soap because its moisturizers—like aloe and vitamin E—keep my hands feeling super soft after each washing. I follow up with a hand cream from Avon called Care Silicone Glove Protective Hand Cream ($5; avon.com). It’s a hydrating gel that literally sealcoats my hands until the next washing.” —Terri Acilio, blackjack dealer, Caesars Hotel and Casino, Atlantic City, NJ
“At any given time, my hands can be covered in everything from glue to glitter to nose snot! Because I’m always juggling a zillion things, I prefer the ease of liquid hand soap and the one I reach for is Yes To Cucumber Eucalyptus Hand Soap ($4; target.com). I love that it’s 98 percent natural—it doesn’t contain preservatives or artificial colors—which might have something to do with why I never feel the need to follow-up with a moisturizer. And I love how the scent lingers on my skin beyond my time at the sink. When my kids are having a moment, I simply breathe in the calming cucumber scent.” —Crystal Jablonski, prekindergarten teacher at Chatham Day School, Chatham, New Jersey
“I work as a nurse in the special care nursery at a hospital and a big part of my job is drawing blood and giving vaccines to newborns. I wash my hands before and after every patient interaction—so cracks in my skin are pretty common, especially in winter. When this happens, I reach for two products: Eucerin Intensive Repair Extra-Enriched Hand Cream ($5; amazon.com), which contains an alpha hydroxy acid that does a great job of exfoliating my dry skin, and Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion ($9; amazon.com), which uses hydrators like oatmeal to repair my hands without leaving them greasy or slippery—important when you’re handling newborns all day!” —Natalie Forde, R.N., Silver Cross Hospital, New Lenox, Illinois
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“Keeping my hands in great shape is crucial to my livelihood. For years I only washed with water because I found soap too drying—until a friend gave me a bar of Pure Harmony Soap ($9; pureharmonysoaps.com), and I was instantly hooked. My favorite, the Lavender Milk soap, is filled with things like hydrating olive oil and shea and cocoa butters, leaving my skin feeling soft after every washing. Once a week, I’ll make my own hand moisturizer by combining 1/4 cup of coconut oil and 1 tablespoon of liquid vitamin E before rubbing the liquid onto my hands at night. The mixture can be a bit greasy, so I wear cotton gloves to bed, which also helps the oil absorb into my skin.” —Ashly Covington, hand model, Los Angeles & New York City
“It’s my job to handle food all day long—from prepping meals for our cooking school to helping out in the company café. At night, I pack on the moisturizer by squeezing out some pure aloe vera from the plants in my home and then turning to Crisco. Yep, I use Crisco ($11, amazon.com) once a week during the frigid Northeast winters to heal cracks and cuts, applying it to my hands (and feet), and covering everything with white cotton socks before bed.” —Patty Roche, culinary specialist, Stonewall Kitchen, York, Maine
“I do everything wrong, rooting around impulsively in the soil without gloves on, and never getting manicures. But I manage to keep my hands in good condition despite it all. I have a small, stiff nailbrush at each sink and use it midday and again after my gardening chores are done. I follow up with Dr. Hauschka Hydrating Hand Cream ($17, amazon.com), because it’s not greasy and has a subtle, natural fragrance. Plus the product line’s focus for almost fifty years has been on harnessing the healing power of plants—something right up my alley!” —Margaret Roach, garden writer and blogger at AWayToGarden.com
“Throughout the day, my fingers slowly take on a grayish black color, thanks to the ink from dollar bills rubbing off on my hands. But that’s only part of the reason I’m always in the bathroom—some of the bills I handle leave a smell on my hands—mildew, gasoline, perfume, beer, you name it! Having a hardworking lotion is important because I wash my hands so much. Thanks to its moisturizing sesame oil and cocoa and shea butters, Burt’s Bees Shea Butter Hand Cream ($11.30; target.com) feels silky going on, but it’s not so slick that it doesn’t absorb. The fresh citrus scent doesn’t linger—which I like. I have enough scent interference throughout my day!” —Laura Iurato, bank teller in Wayne, New Jersey
“I work with chemicals every day so my hands get dry, bleached, and colored. I use Avon Moisture Therapy Intensive Healing & Repair Hand Cream ($5; avon.com) to help. It’s super thick but absorbs quickly and leaves my hands soft and hydrated. I also turn to my favorite moisturizing soap—Jo Malone London Pomegranate Noir Bath Soap ($20; nordstrom.com). It has a musky scent that’s very rich and warm.” —Rita Hazan, colorist and owner of Rita Hazan Salon, New York City
“I’m on photo shoots pretty much five days a week and in constant contact with the drying chemicals in polish removers and hand sanitizers. For relief, I massage OPI’s Avoplex Oil ($15; ulta.com) into my hands and cuticles at night. It’s packed with sunflower, sesame, avocado, and kuikui nut oils. Although not sticky, it is fairly dense so I use it sparingly to avoid messing up my sheets.” —Alicia Torello, OPI celebrity manicurist based in New York City, New York
“I can read up to 100 palms a day, touching skin that can be dry, or moist and clammy. I work in a cabana with no access to a sink, so after each reading I wipe down my palms and fingers with rubbing alcohol, then follow up with the only moisturizer I’ve found that really works—Eucerin Skin Calming Daily Moisturizing Crème ($7; amazon.com). It contains hydrating oatmeal, is fragrance-free—a smelly scent would be distracting in my business—and dries quickly with no tackiness.” —Lisa Green, palm reader, Long Beach Island, New Jersey
“Because they’re often overworked, I get acupuncture on my hands twice a month to improve and maintain flexibility, along with a twice-monthly hand massage to reduce tension. I also apply a hand cream containing 5 percent moisturizing urea—Natura Bisse Essential Shock Intense Hand Cream ($50; amazon.com)—between washings to keep my skin soft and hydrated. It’s fast absorbing and contains antioxidants and vitamins that help reduce my dark spots.” —Edyta Jarosz, licensed aesthetician, Fifth Avenue Dermatology Surgery & Laser Center, New York City
“As the owner of a cleaning service, I can tackle up to four houses a day, which exposes my hands to a lot of drying chemicals and irritants, as well as to all types of germs. I have a bottle of Bath & Body Works PocketBac Sanitizing Hand Gel ($2; bathandbodyworks.com) on me at all times. The gel comes in so many different scents—from eucalyptus spearmint to French lavender—I simply grab the one I’m in the mood for and head out the door. This is truly the only hand sanitizer I’ve found that kills germs without drying out my skin.” —Kim O’Connell, owner of Clean Therapy, Phoenix, Arizona
“I’ve got my hands in people’s mouths all day long, pretty nasty since the mouth harbors more germs than anywhere else on the body. Although I wear gloves (which in itself can be drying), I’m constantly washing my hands between patients and keep CeraVe Therapeutic Hand Cream ($8, walmart.com) at my work sink. I never have to worry about skin irritation, thanks to its alcohol and fragrance-free formulation. —Wilma Antonio, D.D.S., New York City