I received the La Source 60-Second Fix Manicure Set for Hands as a gift a year or two ago, and it's my favorite treatment for winter skin.

The "Hand Recovery" scrub is the key to its effectiveness. In the winter, my hands can sometimes get so dry you can see the little dry flakes if you look closely, and they feel rough. Ordinary lotion makes them feel better right after you use it, but it really doesn't do much to get rid of the dry flakes, it just turns them into soft flakes.

The "Hand Recovery" is an emollient scrub that you use without water. You scrub this all over your hands to make them soft and get rid of the dry skin. It's not immediately soothing or even particularly comfortable, but you've got to get the dead skin off unless you want to keep feeling it until it falls off on its own. I'd rather just scrub it and get it over with. That said, because this is just a manually-exfoliating scrub, if you've got a lot of dead skin it won't come off in one day, and you'll have to repeat the treatment. It's no substitute for dipping your hands in acid at a spa, but that's expensive and not even available everywhere (although I've found that acid exfoliations do the job quicker than manual exfoliations).

After you've scrubbed your hands, you rinse it all off. But since the scrub grains are suspended in an emollient base, the base stays on your skin after the grains are washed off. At this point, my hands feel good. But they feel even better after I use the second part of the kit, the "Hand Therapy" moisturizer. I can't say there's anything revolutionary about the moisturizer, although it is good quality and is designed to coordinate with the emollient part of the scrub.

On one hand, I think the kit could be improved by including some sort of acid-mask to dissolve the dead skin before it's scrubbed off, but on the other hand, that might be too painful a treatment for skin that is already so dry that it's flaking.

Regardless, this two-part treatment is what I use on my hands all winter long, and highly recommend it if you think you can tolerate the scratchiness of a scrub. If your hands are already so dry and cracked that the very thought of dry-scrubbing them causes you to wince in pain, then perhaps you should get this kit next fall, and start using it before your skin gets overly dry, and thus ensure that you'll have nice hands all winter and they won't get so dried out in the first place. An ounce of prevention. . .