Smooth Skin Basics

We’re sharing our best exfoliating tips so you can reveal your softer side this season.
Allison Barnes

In the South, warmer weather means switching to a wardrobe of short sleeves and sandals. And that’s the time when ashy elbows and cracked heels can really cramp your style. The solution: exfoliation. This beauty basic leaves your skin soft and glowing.

Step 1: Gentle Exfoliating
Although you may be tempted to go at foot calluses or the leathery skin on your knees and elbows like a scouring pad to a rusty skillet, resist the urge. Your skin, even in its roughest state, is delicate.

“You want to handle your skin like a silk scarf,” says dermatologist Zoe Diana Draelos, MD. “Don’t use anything with rough edges that could damage the skin.”

Bath scrubs with microbeads fill the bill because they gently and gradually rub away old skin layers. They contain either synthetic microbeads or natural ingredients such as finely crushed fruit seeds and nuts. Before using a scrub on your body, rub a little between your fingers to make sure the texture is consistent, with no large, sharp grains. Then wet your skin and apply the scrub with your fingers or your favorite loofah.

 

Step 2: Try This for Trouble Areas
So you’re done with Step 1, and you’re still noticing some dry spots? Don’t revert to long sleeves yet―there’s more help. The next time you’re in the beauty aisle, shop for creams containing one or more of these three beauty agents.

1. Alpha hydroxy acids such as lactic acid, which loosen and eliminate dead skin cells.

2. Salicylic acid, which gradually peels away old skin.

3. Emollients, such as urea, which soften skin and help it retain moisture. Udderly Smooth Extra Care Moisturizing Cream With Urea contains 10% urea. You can also ask your dermatologist if you need a prescription-strength cream, which contains 40% urea.

Use your fingers to rub a small amount of any of these creams into your elbows or heels daily in a gentle, circular motion.

 

Step 3: Moisturize
Now that your skin is ready for spring fashions, how do you keep it that way? Seal in moisture with a skin balm that contains good old petroleum jelly, such as Pooka Pure & Simple’s Citrus Basil Elbow Grease. Even though it says it’s for elbows, it works on all your dry spots―and smells delish!

Healthy Benefits

  • The skin is your largest organ. Keeping it in shape promotes overall health by protecting the body from bacteria and infections.
  • No matter what the season, eating well, drinking plenty of fluids, and practicing sun protection remain the first line of defense for healthy skin.