Someone else also mentioned paraffin treatments- I did the DIY version and didn't want to wait for a home unit to get shipped as my hands were bleeding and almost impossible to move without crying. I got a smaller crockpot at a thrift store & got a big block of plain, unscented, uncolored candle wax (paraffin) at michaels. Drop a chunk in, let it melt, turn off & let it cool a little, dip a few times & have a second party wrap you up in saran wrap. Hang out looking hilarious for half an hour or so. Peel off. Works WONDERS.
A friend at work gave me something called "Working Hands". Her husband uses it, he's a mechanic/race car driver/cranberry bog person (whatever they are called) and trashes his hands. It comes in a green jar with bright orange type and is available at hardware stores. It doesn't seem like much, but it really works! And, it has no smell and is not greasy. It's helped a lot.
Last winter, I found a good, intensive treatment by accident . I was making wreaths from pinecones and pine bows I picked up in your yard after a storm and got pine sap all over my hands. I used olive oil to get it off and I don't think my hands have ever been as soft and pliable as after I finally got all that sap and olive oil off my hands!
Use this stuff in the morning and it will help prevent the cracks.
It does not add moisture, for that I like either O'Keefe's Working Hands or George's Hand Cream or a mix of 50/50 Glaxal Base and Vaseline.
If you do get cracked knuckles, treat and bandage them at night before you go to bed. If you put Polysporin Triple Action with Quick Heal in the cracks then cover with a band aid you will find that they heal quite a bit overnight. Do that for a few nights until existing cracks are healed.
Good luck, I have done battle with this frustrating problem and the thing that made the biggest difference for me was treating the cracks and covering with a band aid overnight.
You may also want to invest in a humidifier for your bedroom if you have forced-air heat and your house is dry like mine.
Ditto the Neosporin/petroleum jelly on the hands at night. I've never tried the glove trick b/c I don't think I'd be able to sleep with gloves on-I can't sleep with socks on! Footie pajamas were H*LL for me as a kid!
I've had great success using the gel-based crazy glue to put the cracks back together. I use only natural, moisturizing soaps (no SLS or other sulfates as they pull whatever moisture is in my hands) and follow with hand lotion. I like Udderly Smooth since it's non-greasy. At night, I slather on hand lotion and put on vinyl gloves. In the morning, my hands are hydrated and smooth. (Don't do this if you have semi-infected nicks on your hands (apart from the cracks at the nails). Drinking lots of fluids helps. If it's in the budget, a few days in Florida will fix the hands (warm, humid air). Seriously, the few times I've tried this, my hands were fine in about 12 hours, so really I need to winter in Florida for my health But have cold, north wallet...
If it's really really bad (and cool enough outside to be able to stand this) put neosporin on the cracks and slather the hand cream on, then put on powdered rubber gloves under your riding/barn gloves.
I would not suggest doing this at all-the powder used in latex exam gloves is extremely drying and can cause severe reactions (similar to chemical burns) This powder is part of the reason my hands are SO BAD from all the sterile gloves I wear (the ones we get are powdered in my practice) If you really want to use gloves to hold the medicated lotions under your riding/barn gloves, I would suggest Powder-Free Nitrile or powder free vinyl (last would be powder free latex)
Michael: Seems the people who burned me want me for a job.
Sam: A job? Does it pay?
Michael: Nah, it's more of a "we'll kill you if you don't do it" type of thing.
Sam: Oh. I've never liked those.
There is a product out there called 'glove in a bottle'. It's a type of lotion that gives your hands a really decent barrier when dried. You can't see it on your hands or anything, it absorbs into your skin, and it actually repels water and dirt, I love it for gardening, especially when I pinch tomatoe buds and stems off, my fingers don't go green lol.
It will wash of with soap and water.
Olive oil is also fab for soothing really dry hands. I use it regulary in the winter, it is so cold and dry here in Alberta!
Eta: I just saw Mozart posted the same product, I definitely second this!