HELPING HAND // soothing gel for cracked, itchy skin

dry cracked hands

There are LOADS of things they don’t tell you about motherhood.

Like the fact some kind of emotional switch gets flicked, and you will forevermore be this over-mushy mess who cries at department store adverts. Or that you’ll wash your hands so often you literally scour the top layers of skin off.

I’d never suffered from dermatitis in my life, but after three years of cleaning up after the kids and constantly washing my hands, they were red raw.

It wasn’t anything that traditional moisturisers could touch: it would start as a maddening itch, then become so painful I couldn’t wear my rings, or even bend my fingers properly. It was like my hands had been covered in thousands of tiny paper cuts; even when I was sitting perfectly still my hands would sting and burn.

To add insult to injury, they looked awful too – angry and red and scaly – and I’d have to pull my sleeves down over my hand to cover them up.

I tried everything from steroid creams, to Big Sis’s eczema treatments, to organic salves. Nothing helped. Then I came across a product called Cardiospermum Gel, from THE SKIN SHOP.

My hands were so painful I was willing to give anything a go. In just a few days, I could see and feel a difference: the redness was settling down, and my hands weren’t burning constantly. After two weeks they were as good as new. 

cracked and dry hands 
dry and cracked hands

Since then I’ve applied a bit each day, or every time my hands start to feel itchy or sore, and use a fragrance-free moisturiser a couple of times a day. The dermatitis has tried to come back, but the gel always prevents it from getting bad, and clears it up much more quickly. 

I also keep a jar in the fridge – it’s the perfect cooling relied for when you’ve caught too much sun.

dry and cracked hands
Cardiospermum gel is a natural hypoallergenic containing soothing extracts from the Cardiospermum plant, or Balloon Vine, and Aloe Vera. It’s available from 100ml, £9.95; 200ml £17.95; 500ml, £39.95.

• gel was provided for the purpose of review

• image ‘female hands being treated with handcream‘ courtesy of Shutterstock. 


  1. HonestMum - February 4, 2012

    Great tip. I get excema intermittedly so might try this.

  2. twobecomefour - February 4, 2012

    Wow! I might have to get some of this for the husband! For years, every winter his become very red, dry and cracked and even end up bleeding at times 🙁 It’s sounds like this is definitely worth a try… thanks 🙂

  3. mistressmummy - February 4, 2012

    This past week my hands have started to look like that!
    I’ve never had any skin conditions, I think it must be from the cold, and the dishwashers broke so washing up 3 times a day hasn’t helped!

    I may have to give some of this stuff a try x

  4. mummyslittlemonkey - February 5, 2012

    MistressMummy: The dishwashing will def be making it worse – more reason to hire a full-time cleaner, right?? 😉

  5. mummyslittlemonkey - February 5, 2012

    You should def try it – you need to apply it really regularly and religiously and moisturise as well. It’s honestly helped my hands so much though! x

  6. mummyslittlemonkey - February 5, 2012

    Worth keeping a pot handy for when it flares up – I found mine got even worse after second child (more hand washing) x

  7. Mari - June 1, 2012

    Thank you for the link I am definitely stocking up on this as – well you saw my hands they’re desperate for some TLC thanks for thinking of me xx

  8. Mari - June 1, 2012

    Thank you for the link I am definitely stocking up on this as – well you saw my hands they’re desperate for some TLC thanks for thinking of me xx

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