There’s something to be said for soft, silky skin. It’s luxurious. It’s healthy. It doesn’t scrape against the sheets when you roll over in bed at night. But no matter how much lotion you slather on, how many glasses of water you chug or how often you hole up indoors to avoid the harsh sun, you can’t seem to get that smooth, supple feel you’re striving for. Here’s why:
1. Water damage. Sure, you need to shower. But excess time spent soaping up under a stream of hot water strips away protective oils naturally produced by your skin. Keep your clean-ups short: less than 5 minutes is ideal.
2. Bubble blunders. Who doesn’t love smelling like spring rain or a lavender field? Whether you’re lathering up with a solid bar, a body wash or bubble bath, watch out for fragrances and other harsh chemicals that can cause dryness. Natural soaps are gentle, effective and can leave you smelling just as sweet.
3. Shed a layer. Skin constantly renews itself, with new cells forming as older ones run their course, eventually dying off. Let them linger on the surface and your skin may look dull and feel rough. The solution? Exfoliation. Use a gentle, sugar-based scrub to slough away dead cells and debris, revealing the softer, smoother layer underneath.
4. Yo-yo moisturizing. Graze over a rough patch and that lotion bottle is in hand faster than you can say dry skin. But a day or two may pass before it’s pulled out again, setting you up for a cycle of never-ending quick fixes. To achieve truly soft skin, make moisturizing a habit. Keep lotion where you’ll remember to use it (on your nightstand, near your computer, in your car), and slather it on whether or not you’re feeling dry.
5. Off-target types. Don’t expect the same product you’re using to relieve itchy, frequently washed hands to give you a dewy, moist complexion or soften your hardened heels. Dryness manifests differently on different parts of your body, so choose your moisturizers accordingly!
6. Dry on dry. When you apply moisturizer matters almost as much as the type you use. For maximum, full-body hydrating benefits, load up on lotion (or spread on a light layer of coconut oil or baby oil) right after a shower. Doing so while you’re still damp will lock in moisture and keep your skin baby-soft for hours.