How To Keep Rough Skin Hydrated

Aly Walansky
laflor / Getty Images

laflor / Getty Images

The winter months can be rough on our skin. Elbows, knees, and feet have thicker skin that tends to get rough like an elephant’s hide during cold, dry spells. These ares are also prone to cracking, so they require extra TLC—and hydration, hydration, hydration!

To keep elbows smooth, apply a thick moisturizer often. A good moisturizer with urea, salicylic acid, or an alpha hydroxy acid will help, says dermatologist Dr. David Bank. If skin becomes cracked and painful, get a super-sloughing, 12 percent AHA product, which is now available over the counter.

Wash elbows with an alpha hydroxy cleanser and exfoliate several times a week, says Dr. Bank. To exfoliate dry, scaly elbows, douse some sugar on a lemon. Lemon juice helps to reduce excess color or pigment and the sugar acts like a scrub to exfoliate the skin. The combination of these two natural remedies together make an ideal at-home natural exfoliator.

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To keep feet smooth, cleanse daily and remove any dead skin with a pumice stone or use an exfoliator. You should apply a thick moisturizer here as well, says Bank. There’s no need for our toes to go “in” for winter—stay on top of your pedicure routine to give your feet some much-appreciated love.

Hands rarely reap the smoothing benefits of moisturizers because we’re always washing them throughout each day. To help keep them smooth, use rich moisturizers, vitamin A products, glycolic acid products, vitamin C products, and peeling treatments, says Bank. When washing your hands, use the mildest cleanser you can find to avoid stripping your skin even further. Try using gloves when doing the dishes, as hot water is very drying to the skin.

For smooth hands and feet, apply your face cream products on your hands at night. Because you don’t wash your hands while you sleep or walk on your feet, the products have the greatest amount of time to penetrate the skin.

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The best way to keep knees soft and smooth is to wash your knees with products containing alpha hydroxy, apply a thick moisturizer and even use an exfoliating mask to remove built-up dead skin in this area.

Try to keep lips as moisturized as possible, using a lip protector or a lip balm loaded with emollients such as petroleum, lanolin and cocoa butter, or even just basic Vaseline, says Bank. Stay away from drying agents such as alcohol, salicylic acid, camphor, and citrus.

Try to avoid licking your lips. It’s a common habit most people think will keep them more hydrated, but it has the opposite effect and is more drying to the skin. To exfoliate the dead skin from dry, chapped lips, use a soft bristle tooth brush or a washcloth. Make sure not to use anything too abrasive or you’ll just make it worse!