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If your skin is in need of some TLC to get in touchable shape, read on for 10 easy softening ideas:
1. Skin likes it lukewarm. A hot shower or bath feels great, but actually robs your skin of its natural moisture, making it scaly and rough. Switch to a lukewarm soak or shower instead, to keep skin supple.
2. Make moisturizing routine. Regularly hydrated skin is soft skin, especially in winter, when dry air and extreme temperatures can dry out skin quickly. Apply moisturizer every time your skin gets wet: after washing your hands, getting out of the shower, even coming in from the snow.
3. Try a smoothing body lotion. When moisturizing, look for a lotion that contains smoothing ingredients like salicylic or alpha-hydroxy acids. Two to try: Neutrogena Skin Smoothing Body Lotion ($9.99) and Jergens Skin Smoothing Moisturizer ($3.49).
4. Use socks as secret weapons. Secret softening weapons, that is. Your feet can become cracked, rough, and dry over the winter. When you get home, remove shoes and socks and apply a rich foot cream to bare feet. Then replace your socks as you do your evening chores. The heat of the socks will help the lotion to penetrate, softening your soles easily.
5. Keep shaving. Believe it or not, regular shaving (even in winter, when it's not always necessary) helps skin stay soft because it manually removes a layer of dead, dry skin cells, revealing healthier, softer cells. Flick the razor at least twice a week for best results.
6. Protect hands. Wear gloves whenever you're outside. The icy cold air can draw moisture from your skin, causing hands and cuticles to crack and become dry.
7. Begin using an AHA face lotion. These products are perfect for making facial skin smooth and soft. Initial use can cause flaking, however, so don't start a new regimen right before a big event.
8. Consider a fragrant scrub. To help make every part of you soft, including your chest, decollete, back, and elbows, use a shower scrub that contains sloughing particles to whisk away dead skin cells, plus a soft fragrance to give your skin allure. A good one: Origins Pomegranate Polish ($30).
9. Beware harsh soaps. Those found in public or corporate restrooms can contain harsh detergents that are drying to skin; the same goes for some deodorant body bars. Instead, stick to more gentle cleansers (carry a mini bottle in your purse), like Cetaphil, $4.90, or Dove Deep Moisture Body Wash, $4.99.
10. Treat cuticles right. They're one of the first areas on the body to dry out and become scaly and scratchy, which can put a damper on a romantic evening when your beau moves to hold your hand. To combat this and replenish easily lost moisture, use a cuticle cream daily. One to try: Heidi's Nail Solution, $17.