How to Have Soft Skin

Skin plays a significant role in the health of our bodies, but having soft, healthy skin is also important for self-esteem. There are many things that can prevent your skin from feeling soft and smooth, including exposure to the elements, irritants and pollutants, lack of moisture, and poor overall health. Getting and keeping your skin soft involves proper diet, following healthy routines, taking care of your skin inside and out, and avoiding things that could irritate or dry out your skin.


EditGetting Soft Skin

  1. Exfoliate weekly. Exfoliation makes your skin softer by removing dirt, oil, and dead skin cells. You can scrub your face with coffee grounds mixed with some mild soap,[1] or a store-bought exfoliation product. For relief of redness as well, look for something that contains green tea extracts and glycolic acid.[2]
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    • Avoid exfoliating more than once or twice a week, as exfoliating too often can cause skin irritation.
  2. Wash properly. Moisture loss and removing your skin’s natural oils can lead to dry and flaky skin, and bathing too often, bathing for too long, and using hot water can all increase moisture and oil loss. Bathe every other day if you can, use cooler water, use your hand or a soft cloth instead of a scrubber to apply soap,[3] and limit your shower time to five or 10 minutes.[4]
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    • After your shower or bath, don’t rub your skin dry, as this can remove moisture and oil. Instead, gently pat or rub yourself with a fluffy towel.[5]
    • When your skin is still somewhat damp, apply your favorite moisturizer.
  3. Shave properly. If you choose to shave, save shaving for last when you’re bathing, because this will give your skin time to soften up. Use a moisturizing shaving cream and sharp razors with multiple blades. It’s also important to shave downward, or with the direction of your hair growth to prevent irritation.[6]
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    • Don’t shave first thing in the morning when you’re retaining water, as you won’t get as close a shave.
    • Treat razor burn with a warm compress, and always moisturize after shaving.
    • To avoid the added cost of shaving cream, you can use hair conditioner as a substitute, but avoid soap as it won’t lubricate your skin enough.
  4. Moisturize daily. Your skin doesn’t seem to mind what kind of moisturizer you prefer, as long as you use it often and regularly.[7] Always moisturize after bathing or shaving, before applying makeup, after removing makeup, and after doing dishes or getting your skin wet.
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    • Look for a moisturizer that has plant-based oils and hydrating ingredients like vitamin A, vitamin E,[8] cocoa butter, shea butter, lavender, and chamomile.[9]
    • For particularly dry skin, try a deep overnight skin conditioning. Before bed, apply a heavy-duty moisturizing cream to dry areas like your hands, feet, and elbows. Then, put on cotton socks and gloves, and wrap your elbows with a soft cloth.[10]
  5. Keep your makeup brushes clean. Makeup brushes can harbor bacteria and spread from one area of your body to another, clogging pores and causing irritation. To avoid this, wash your brushes weekly with liquid soap and warm water. Allow them to dry out again before use.[11]
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  6. Remove makeup before bed. For people who choose to wear makeup, sleeping with it on can clog your pores and lead to infections.[12] Before bed, use a gentle cleanser, lukewarm water, and soft cloth to remove your makeup. Pat your face dry and apply moisturizer.
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    • Use makeup sparingly if you do choose to wear it, as it can dehydrate and dry your skin. Look for brands that don’t contain dangerous ingredients, and that are hypoallergenic.[13]
  7. Apply skin-softening foods topically. There are many skin-friendly foods that are good to use both inside and outside of your body. For instance, potatoes can help reduce puffiness, while avocado can make your skin look fresh and plump. Citrus fruits, which shouldn’t be applied to the face, can be used as exfoliants, and pineapple has been known to brighten skin.[14]
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  8. Treat yourself to a massage. Not only are massages relaxing and wonderful, but they also increase circulation, which helps bring nutrients, hydrating water, and a radiant glow to your skin. Moreover, oil massages can also be very moisturizing, so even if you don’t opt for a professional massage, treat yourself by massaging your hands, face, arms, legs, and body with your favorite oil before bed a couple nights a week.
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EditAvoiding Common Irritants

  1. Shield your skin from dry cold. Humidity levels tend to drop in colder weather, which means less moisture in the air, and drier skin. To make matters worse, artificial heat further reduces moisture, leaving you with dry, itchy, flaky skin. You can help prevent dry skin by:
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    • Showering less in the winter.
    • Moisturizing more.
    • Installing a humidifier to add moisture back to the air in your home or office.[15]
  2. Protect yourself from the elements. The cold, dry air of winter isn’t the only environmental factor that can cause your skin to be less soft. Exposure to wind can cause dryness and irritation, while UV exposure can cause premature aging, wrinkles, leathery skin, and more serious medical issues like skin cancer.
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    • Protect your skin from the sun with sunscreen, sun-protective apparel, and SPF makeups and moisturizers.
    • Protect your skin from the cold and wind with gloves, hats, scarves, and other winter gear.
  3. Stay away from allergens and irritants. There are many things that can cause your skin to become blotchy, red, itchy, and flaky, including fabrics like wool, harsh detergents and fabric softeners, perfumes and fragrances, dyes, and non-hypoallergenic cosmetics and creams.[16]
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  4. Avoid dehydrating ingredients and products. Stay away from alcohol-based products that go on your skin, and anything containing sodium lauryl sulfate.[17] It’s also important to watch what goes into your body, as diuretics like caffeine, alcohol, and cigarettes can dehydrate your skin, lead to wrinkles, and make your skin look sallow.[18]
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EditKeeping Skin Healthy

  1. Eat for soft skin. Many healthy foods contain ingredients and nutrients that will keep your skin soft and radiant. Eat a balanced diet that’s loaded with fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and a moderate amount of healthy fats. Skin-friendly foods include:
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    • Foods with a high water content, such as kiwi, cantaloupe, apple, watermelon, celery, cucumber, and zucchini.[19]
    • Foods that contain vitamin C and zinc, which help with collagen and elastin production. These include dark leafy greens, nuts and seeds, beans, mushrooms, citrus fruits, and berries.
    • Omega-rich foods that fight wrinkles, such as hemp and flax.[20]
    • Antioxidants like tomatoes, red and yellow peppers, berries, and other red, orange, and yellow foods. [21]
  2. Drink water instead of sugary drinks. While the eight cups of water rule is a generalization, it is important to stay hydrated. If you feel thirsty, your body is telling you that you need water, so drink up!
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    • Don’t fret over the natural sugar found in fruits, but you should avoid drinks like pop that contain lots of added sugar, which can lead to wrinkles and saggy skin.[22]
  3. Exercise regularly. Along with improving overall physical and mental health, exercise also increases circulation, bringing nutrients to your skin that make it soft and healthy. Also, the sweat helps to wick dirt and bacteria away from your skin, which can help to keep pores clear. Always be sure to at least rinse off with cool water after a workout to remove sweat and dirt.
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  4. Get your beauty sleep. Collagen is the protein that keeps your skin taut and wrinkle-free, and this is created thanks to growth hormones that are secreted during sleep. A good night of rest, therefore, is necessary for smooth and soft skin.[23]
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  5. Address medical issues. Many skin-related problems can lead to rough, red, blotchy skin that isn’t smooth or soft. Often, redness, scaly skin, itching, blisters, and excessive pimples can be treated with special medications or ointments, depending on the cause. Talk to your doctor or dermatologist about diagnosis and treatment if you suspect you may have skin problems such as:
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    • Acne
    • Eczema
    • Psoriasis
    • Dermatitis


  • While it may be tempting to pop pimples to make them less apparent, it’s usually best to let them run their course without touching them. Popping a pimple can push bacteria further into your skin, can spread bacteria to new places, and can ultimately lead to permanent scarring.[24]

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EditSources and Citations

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