What Is Hand Balm?

Kelly Ferguson

Hand balm is a product that is put on the hands to moisturize the skin and sometimes to repair skin damaged from dryness and cracking. Individuals can buy hand balm from stores that carry lotions and other moisturizing products, or make homemade balm. Many people who use hand balm regularly for very dry and damaged skin advise putting the balm on at night before bed, and then wearing gloves or otherwise wrapping the hands to make sure that the moisturizing properties of the balm are taken advantage of all night, leading to more intense moisturization by morning. Users who only need a little bit of extra moisturizing help can simply apply the hand balm as needed.

A woman using a hand balm.
A woman using a hand balm.

Several resources exist that provide information on how to make homemade hand balm. Generally, most people prefer to purchase already made balm from stores for convenience. Making homemade balm, however, can guarantee individuals with allergies or restrictive lifestyle choices, such as veganism, control over exactly what ingredients go into the balm. In some cases, attempting to get a hold of the ingredients needed to make handmade balm will be equal to or more expensive than buying pre-made balm, although in other cases it may be less expensive for an individual to buy the ingredients in bulk or use ingredients that are already common in the household, such as olive oil. For those who use large amounts of hand balm frequently, it will probably cost less money to make the balm at home rather than to replenish the supply with store-bought products.

Hand balm may be used to repair dry, cracked skin.
Hand balm may be used to repair dry, cracked skin.

Reading user reviews or simply using a trial and error approach can help an individual determine which hand balm brand will work best for his or her needs. Balms vary most often in the ingredients used, the fragrance, the texture, and the price. Some users dislike balms that leave a greasy or slippery feeling on the hands after use, while others feel that the oils used in the greasier products lend extra moisturizing benefits. Some balms may also tend to separate when stored, and may need to be stirred or re-mixed before each use. This bothers some users, while others have no problem doing this.

Depending on the ingredients used, some brands of balm may be gentle enough to use on other areas of the body, such as the lips and face. It is often better to avoid putting greasier formulas on the face to avoid clogging pores and triggering a breakout, and some fragrances or added chemicals may irritate the sensitive skin of the face. If an individual plans to use the hand balm on areas besides the hands, he or she should first make sure that the balm is safe to be applied to sensitive areas like the face, neck, and chest.

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