10 Easy Tips for Naturally Soft Skin at Home

woman in white robe holds tray of natural ingredients for skin softening

Treehugger / Sanja Kostic

Skin is the body's largest organ, covering an area of about 20 square feet. What's more, it's one of the most visible organs, and many are willing to pour ample time and money into its maintenance. Despite the umpteen products, tools, and concoctions promising near miracles (meanwhile costing a fortune), you can achieve soft skin naturally with just a handful of common kitchen ingredients and a diligent routine.

Swearing off mainstream formulas riddled with harsh chemicals and heavily packaged in single-use plastic is a great first step in curating a clean, "green" skincare regimen. Here are 10 additional tips for realizing smooth, soft, and glowing skin naturally.

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Clear Away Dead Skin

woman in shower scrubs back with diy coffee scrub for exfoliation

Treehugger / Sanja Kostic

One of the most vital steps in a skincare routine is regular exfoliation. Scrubbing off the top (dead) layer of skin encourages collagen production, keeps acne at bay, boosts circulation and lymphatic drainage, and leaves skin feeling splendidly rejuvenated. This can be achieved mechanically or chemically. 

Chemical exfoliants are typically alpha or beta hydroxy acids that react with skin and break down the bonds that hold the top layer of skin together. However, these harsh products aren't always agreeable with sensitive skin types—or natural skincare routines, for that matter. Instead, you can get a similar effect by brushing or gently scrubbing with coffee grounds, salt, sugar, or oatmeal.

Exfoliating too often can cause hypersensitivity, so stick to two or three times per week.

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Wear SPF

woman in bright sun outside squeezes blob of SPF sunscreen into palm

Treehugger / Sanja Kostic

Prolonged sun exposure leads to the dreaded leather effect—skin that's dry, rough, potentially droopy, and prematurely aged. It's important to wear sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30 every single day, even when it's cloudy. On days when skin is exposed to direct sun, it should be reapplied every two hours. Natural, reef-safe mineral options are the best for your skin and the planet. 

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Reduce Your Shower Temperature

woman in robe adjusts knob to reduce shower temperature from too hot to warm

Treehugger / Sanja Kostic

Hot water strips skin of its natural oils and potentially damages the keratin cells that create its protective barrier. Short, warm showers are better than long, hot showers, but some experts say cold showers are the true secret to achieving a natural glow. Whereas blood rushes toward skin in hot water, cold water causes it to rush instead to your organs, resulting in a radiant complexion—at least temporarily.

Cold water sustains natural moisture and causes pores to tighten, leading to softer, livelier-looking skin, but regular warm showers are still necessary to remove daily grime.

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Moisturize Skin While It's Damp

woman wrapped in white towel applies lotion to damp skin after bathing

Treehugger / Sanja Kostic

You may notice that rich moisturizers tend to sit on dry skin without actually soaking in, producing a greasy, cakey coating that promptly washes away on first contact with water. Damp skin is primed to absorb emollients much more effectively than dry skin because it's more permeable, allowing hydrating products to penetrate more easily.

Ideally, skin should be damp but not wet when humectants are applied. Don't towel off completely after a shower—leave the skin damp and apply product within five minutes.

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Embrace Body Oils

woman in olive sweater displays glass jar of coconut oil with gold lid

Treehugger / Sanja Kostic

While moisturizers provide hydration, oils lock that hydration in. Amp up your skin's soft factor by following up toners, serums, creams, and lotions with a natural oil to seal it all in. Coconut oil, sunflower seed oil, shea butter, sweet almond oil, and grapeseed oil are mild enough to use on skin, though they vary in weight. In skincare, products should be applied lightest to heaviest, with oils usually being the final layer.

Note that some oils are comedogenic and not recommended for acne-prone skin. That isn't to say they can never be used for oily skin, though. Beneficial oils tend to break down and replace bad oils that cause blemishes.

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Avoid Products With Drying Ingredients

honey, coconut oil, and vitamin E capsules for dry skin displayed on round table

Treehugger / Sanja Kostic

Despite their claims to the contrary, many store-bought skincare products actually strip skin of moisture because they contain harsh ingredients like retinoids, alcohol, artificial fragrances, surfactants, and preservatives. Traditional soaps and chemical exfoliants (namely AHAs and BHAs) are especially drying, and prolonged use can make skin less capable of moisturizing itself.

Instead, look for products with natural ingredients touted for softening skin, such as niacinamide (vitamin B3), aloe vera, shea butter, vitamin E, honey, argan oil, and coconut oil—or make your own skincare products at home.

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Sleep With a Humidifier

a small humidifier on wooden table is placed next to bed for moisture during sleep

Treehugger / Sanja Kostic

A good night's sleep is possibly the oldest, most unwavering beauty secret available—and it costs virtually nothing. Those crucial eight hours of rest are when the body goes to work repairing all the damages from the day. Studies show that skin cells grow faster while you're sleeping than when you're awake, so it's important to keep it hydrated during this crucial period of regeneration.

Enter: the humidifier. Humidifiers are especially useful in the winter, but they should also be used during naturally humid summers because air conditioning units condense moisture and wreak havoc on skin and sinuses.

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Don't Touch Your Face

woman holds phone in hand to read sustainable story on screen

Treehugger / Sanja Kostic

Soft skin is clear skin, void of bumps and blemishes that interrupt the landscape. One fundamental way to keep these breakout-prone areas clean is to simply stop touching them. One 2015 study of 26 subjects found that we touch our faces about 23 times per hour—that's more than 300 opportunities for bacteria to transfer from our fingertips onto our faces per day.

The bacteria comes from our phones (which can house some 17,000 bacterial gene copies), keyboards (covered in 3,295 germs per square inch), door handles (harboring microbial communities spanning 700 genera), and so forth. So, that habit of resting your chin on your fist is not exactly harmless. 

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Choose Your Razor Wisely

woman shaves leg on carpet with cream and metal reusable safety razor

Treehugger / Sanja Kostic

Another epidermal obstruction standing in the way of upmost softness? Stubble. Also razor burn—or any irritation associated with shaving, really. Those inclined to groom body hair may naturally reach for the most high-tech, many-bladed razor with strips of moisturizing ingredients built right in. But experts say more blades leads to more friction.

Instead of newfangled plastic varieties, opt for a reusable safety razor, which employs a protective device to prevent cuts. Equally important is prepping the skin with cream or gel and always making sure your blade is clean and sharp.

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Consider How Internal and External Factors Impact Skin

woman in olive sweater holds large glass carafe of water for hydration

Treehugger / Sanja Kostic

Skin is often a reflection of internal well-being. A dull complexion could represent dehydration. A localized breakout may indicate a food allergy. Your skin is affected by stress, sleep, food habits, water intake, hormones, and age. Even genetics play a role.

Moreover, external factors should be considered. Cold or windy weather can leave skin dry, red, and irritated. Sticky heat can increase sebum production, leading to congested pores. Given its drying effect on skin, cranking up the air conditioning isn't the solution, either. Then there's the issue of air pollution harboring cell-damaging free radicals.

All this to say that skin well-being is influenced by innumerable factors—some controllable, some not. Drink your recommended eight glasses of water per day, eat your greens, get enough sleep, and your skin will likely benefit. 

View Article Sources
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