Clean Beauty Tips & Techniques 10 Easy Tips for Naturally Soft Skin at Home By Olivia Young Olivia Young Twitter Writer Ohio University Olivia Young is a writer, fact checker, and green living expert passionate about tiny living, climate advocacy, and all things nature. She holds a degree in Journalism from Ohio University. Learn about our editorial process Updated February 15, 2022 Share Twitter Pinterest Email Treehugger / Sanja Kostic Clean Beauty Products Tips & Techniques 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. 1 of 10 Clear Away Dead Skin 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. 2 of 10 Wear SPF 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. 3 of 10 Reduce Your Shower Temperature 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. 4 of 10 Moisturize Skin While It's Damp 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. 5 of 10 Embrace Body Oils 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. 6 of 10 Avoid Products With Drying Ingredients 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. 7 of 10 Sleep With a Humidifier 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. 8 of 10 Don't Touch Your Face 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. 9 of 10 Choose Your Razor Wisely 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. 10 of 10 Consider How Internal and External Factors Impact Skin 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 "Human Skin Is the Largest Epithelial Surface for Interaction with Microbes." Journal of Investigative Dermatology. 2017. "The Truth About Dry Brushing and What It Does for You." Cleveland Clinic. 2021. "Skincare Bootcamp: The Evolving Role of Skincare." Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery - Global Open. 2016. "Sunscreen and Your Morning Routine." Johns Hopkins Medicine. "20(21) Skincare Tips for the New Year." Paradise Valley Dermatology. 2021. "Responses of the hands and feet to cold exposure." Temperature. 2015. "Moisturizers: The Slippery Road." Indian Journal of Dermatology. 2016. "Circadian Rhythm and the Skin: A Review of the Literature." The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology. 2019. "Face touching: A frequent habit that has implications for hand hygiene." American Journal of Infection Control. 2015. "High level bacterial contamination of secondary school students’ mobile phones." Germs. 2017. "Workplace Germs." AAOHN Journal. "Microbial biogeography of a university campus." Microbiome. 2015. "Shaving With Five Blades When Maybe Two Will Do." New York Times. 2006.