I don’t know about you, but I’m ecstatic that we’ve just sprung into spring (in the Northern Hemisphere). It’s time to start thinking about the warm and wonderful weather ahead. As we break out our spring wardrobe, we’ll trade our long sleeves and pants for less concealing clothing. So now’s the best time to ensure our skin is the softest and smoothest it can be!
The skin on your body needs just as much care as the skin on your face. But because it’s not as visible to the world, we often skip the steps necessary to get super soft and radiant skin on our arms, torso and legs. And this can lead to pesky and undesirable skin issues, like wrinkles, acne, dryness or crepey skin, and bumpy or rough skin.
But a little attention to these areas and issues can give you the confidence to wear those tank tops and shorts proudly every day in the seasons ahead. Below are ten steps you can take for the smoothest baby-soft skin from head to toe.
10 Steps to Silky Smooth Skin
1. Use an All-Natural Body Wash
One of the most important ways to care for your skin is to always wash your body with an all-natural, gentle, hydrating cleanser or soap. So many drugstore products contain harsh ingredients that strip the natural oils away from your skin. This leaves it prone to drying out, breaking out, and aging prematurely.
Not only that, but many synthetic ingredients also come with major health concerns. For example, hormone disruptors, carcinogens and allergens are commonly found in hygiene products. Reading package labels and looking out for certain toxins is the best way to avoid them.
Here are some of the more common toxic chemicals to avoid in anything you wash your body with:
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
- Sodium Laureth Sulfate
- DEA, MEA and TEA
Using a high-quality nontoxic body wash with nutrient-rich botanical oils and healing herbs will keep moisture in while gently removing dirt. Plus, you’ll have peace of mind that your skin won’t be absorbing harmful chemicals.
2. Exfoliate Regularly
Just like the skin on your face, dead skin cells naturally accumulate over time. As the layers of dead cells build up, they clog your pores, prevent your moisturizer from doing its job, and lead to a dry, dull appearance. You might even see white flakes peeling off your skin. That’s a sure sign it’s time to exfoliate!
Clogged pores can also lead to the rough, bumpy patches of skin you might find on your upper arms, legs or buttocks called keratosis pilaris. It's also called "chicken skin." While these bumps aren't harmful, they can be unsightly and embarrassing.
Body scrubs are an excellent addition to your shower routine because they slough off the dead skin layers and stimulate cells to regenerate faster, keeping your skin young and fresh. Most skin types do well with exfoliating once or twice a week, but everyone’s different so you might need to experiment to find the right frequency. Watch out for any redness or irritation, and use your scrub less often if you need.
The best scrubs are made with either sugar or salt and other natural ingredients that nourish your skin. You can even make your own with a few simple recipes! Or, you can use a loofah or something similar instead to get the mechanical effect of exfoliation.
3. Moisturize Every Day
It’s easy to remember to moisturize your face after you wash it, but it’s not as easy when it comes to the rest of your body. Plus, there’s more skin to cover, so it can seem like a hassle or chore. But it’s a must to get that supple skin you dream of.
The best time to apply moisturizer is right after you take a shower or bath and dry off. Doing it at this time will help seal in the moisture left on your damp skin. If you don’t shower every day, get into the habit of applying moisturizer before you go to bed. That way, the ingredients have all night to sink into your skin and keep it hydrated. Using a more intense moisturizer at night is a good idea to counteract any moisture loss while you sleep.
4. Try Dry Brushing
Another fantastic body treatment that helps keep your skin silky smooth is called dry brushing. Dry brushing is an ancient self-care technique used in many Asian cultures, done with a stiff- or soft-bristle brush.
This ritualistic beauty practice is said to have many benefits for your skin, including improved blood circulation, exfoliation, better lymphatic flow, increased detoxification, stress relief, and boosted energy. It’s also believed to reduce cellulite!
Though there isn’t much scientific evidence to back it up, dry brushing has been used for these benefits for thousands of years, and many people are just catching on now. Plus, it’s easy to see the similarities between dry brushing, exfoliation, and massage, and we know these can be wonderfully beneficial practices for your skin and health.
Dry brushing is done on all parts of your body using a circular motion on bigger areas, like your torso and back, and light upward strokes on your legs and arms. Follow these instructions if you want to give it a try!
5. Stay Hydrated
Drinking enough water is always advised to keep yourself healthy, and your skin truly depends on it. Staying hydrated will help your body do its thing and flush out toxins, keep blood flowing, and maintain fluid balance in your cells. The recommended amount is 90 ounces for women and 125 ounces for men. Keep your water bottle full and by your side during the day and sip as you go!
6. Eat Well
Without the proper nourishment, your skin won’t get what it needs to function at its best. Eating a wholesome and varied diet is the best way to feed your skin the proper nutrients. Taking care of yourself on the inside makes you glow on the outside.
Foods that support your skin best include a large variety of colorful fruits and vegetables that contain high amounts of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, fiber and healthy fats. Protein is also crucial, but you don’t need to eat meat to get it. Fish and lean meats will provide quality protein, but if you eat plenty of beans, nuts, seeds and soy, you can also get the protein you need.
7. Use a Safe Sunscreen
Most of us love the warm feeling of the sun dancing on our skin, but we also need to protect ourselves from the damage it can do. Wearing sunscreen is the best way to enjoy the sun while preventing harm that can cause our skin to age prematurely.
The safest way to do this (other than staying out of the sun altogether) is to stick with a mineral-based, broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher made with only all-natural ingredients. The non-nano version of zinc oxide is best to prevent potentially harmful particles from entering the skin. Don’t forget to apply and reapply every couple of hours for prolonged sun exposure. Less damage from the sun means smoother and healthier-looking skin.
8. Avoid Scorching Hot Water
A hot steamy shower often sounds like the bee’s knees, especially when it’s cold outside. But if it’s too hot, it isn’t ideal for your skin. Instead, turn it down a notch and use warm water to avoid zapping your skin of its natural oils.
9. Take a Warm, Skin-Soothing Bath
If you’re a fan of taking a bit of me-time in the tub, you can turn your bathwater into a soothing spa treatment for your skin. Epsom salts may be the first thing that comes to mind, but there are lots of other options that soothe and soften your skin.
Botanical oils are excellent tub additions that can moisturize and soften your skin. If your skin is dry, try adding a little olive, almond or jojoba oil to your bathwater to keep your skin hydrated. If you have sensitive or irritated skin, oats are the perfect addition to calm, moisturize and soothe. Milk and honey are also common ingredients for a skin-soothing bath experience.
10. Always Use Shave Cream
Using a razor without applying shaving cream may be tempting, but it could lead to dry, bumpy or inflamed skin. A rich, creamy moisturizing shave cream can help you get a closer, smoother shave without causing the dreaded razor burn. The cream will soften the hair and make it easier to remove, and your razor will glide over your skin effortlessly. Plus, the emollients will linger and hydrate you well beyond your shower time. It really is a must for that baby soft skin!
Now’s the time to get ready for the warmer weather and the lighter wardrobe that comes with it. Following a few guidelines to take care of the skin on your body will give you a beautiful, radiant glow from head to toe. A little effort goes a long way, but you’ll love being able to show off your fresh, vibrant skin all spring and summer long with confidence!