Background: I have persistant on/off eczema and dermatitis which are especially bad during the particularly hot or particularly cold months, and I am definitely prone to it as I have especially dry hands. I have used almost everything I could think of and next to everything that claims to "moisturise and hydrate" actually absorbs all remaining moisture from my skin. I stumbled across this little gem when I was having a particularly bad itchy eczema day and looking for something to dull it long enough for me to sleep that night.
I had tested the original formula which had been lurking around in my room and found it was the only cream that not only didn't aggravate my eczema, it actually helped temporarily soothe it. I had read on the Boots website that they also provided a concentrated formula which came in a 60g tube for £2.25 so I immediately rushed to get it. I had actually found this in Tesco on my way home from work for £1.80 so I had also saved myself 45p. Yay!
About the cream itself: I absolutely love it. It is easily the most effective cream I have ever used and it's excellent value for money. I have been using this cream continuously for a week and my eczema is nearly gone. Of course, I still have a few dry patches which arise from being in the shower, but otherwise this cream has performed miracles on my poor hands. I had a particularly bad case of eczema which caused the skin to break and bleed when provoked, so any contact was unbearable. Heck, I even flinched when my partner tried to hold my hand on an evening out. Because of my own experience I genuinely think anyone dealing with particularly dry hands will definitely benefit from this cream. If it worked for me, it should almost certainly work for you.
The scent of this cream is the same as the original Palmers lotion, if not slightly richer. It reminds me of a brand of dark-side chocolate that I really love, so that's easily a bonus. It's also really thick but it melts into the skin fairly quickly depending on how generously you apply it. If you have dry skin or eczema, then read on as I can tell you exactly how to get the most from this.
Dry skin: Apply continuously between 3-5 times a day. Build up in layers like you would with a foundation i.e. a sheer layer on areas which are dry but don't require much moisture, then another layer onto the drier parts, then a third or fourth layer onto the areas which need the most treatment. Reapply every time you wash your hands. I know it sounds like a chore, but it does work. You should see results within 3-4 days as that's when my regular dry patches improved.
Eczema: The same as dry skin, but be far more generous. The amounts I had to apply left my hands feeling clammy and greasy, however you must never wash it off. If you really cannot stand the greasy/clammy feeling, dab some of the excess off onto some very soft tissue. Otherwise, by washing the product off again, you are being counter productive. My hands were left very greasy and shiny when I first apply the cream, but they really absorbed the moisture within the hour and were dry and flaky again within 2-3 hours. Trust me, they will really benefit from the greasiness. Reapply to specific areas if they require it i.e. knuckles, in between the fingers etc.
During the week, I felt that this cream really wasn't having any lasting effects on my hands until I noticed that 6 hours went by without me needing to reapply the cream. In fact, my hands were still baby soft and I couldn't detect any flakiness whatsoever. This is probably because the cream contains not only cocoa butter and coconut oil, it also contains vitamins A, C and E which must have a long-lasting healing property for dry skin. This cream should also be suitable for those of you with particularly sensitive skin as I could apply it onto open eczema cuts without any pain/discomfort whatsoever. Best of all, although Palmers aren't an organic company, they are against animal testing so you can get a lovely guilt-free treatment at a fantastic price. They also claim to be against usin parabens, however methylparaben and propylparaben are listed on the ingredients. However both of those parabens are actually naturally sourced (I believe they originate from blueberries) so they shouldn't have any nasty side effects.
Here's the ingredients list if you have any concerns:
Water, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Extract, Petroleum, Propylene Glycol Stearate, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Glycerin, Propylene Glycol, Glyceryl Stearate, Cetyle Alcohol, Mineral Oil, Stearalkonium Chloride, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Elaeis Guineensis (Palm) Oil, Dimethicone, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Fragrance, Hydroxyethylcellulose, PEG 8 Stearate, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Ascorbyl Palmitate (Vitamin C), Vitamin A, Benzyl Alcohol, Yellow 5, Orange 4.
I hope this review has been useful and can be helpful to other people with eczema and very dry skin who are on a budget!