We all know at least one of those women whose skin always has a soft, airbrushed look—as though the world is viewing her through a diffused lens or she’s a walking, airbrushed magazine cover. And yet, for some lucky women, their skin really is as soft, supple, and smooth as it looks. So is it really luck, or is there something that these women do that the majority of us are not doing? What is the secret to soft skin?
The Earlier the Better, but it’s Never Too Late to Improve Your Skin’s Texture
There are many things we can do to promote softer, smoother skin, and the earlier the better. If you haven’t been concerned about caring for your skin since you were a teenager, don’t worry—it’s not too late to begin protecting, nourishing, and moisturizing your skin to improve its appearance and texture.
Shun the Sun
Women who protect their skin from the sun from an early age will indisputably benefit from it later in life. Sun damage is the leading cause of rough, dry, wrinkled skin. That golden beach glow that makes you look healthy and radiant at age 16, will later result in wrinkled hands, crow’s feet, and a creepy decolletage.
UV rays penetrate deep below the skin’s surface and damage it at a cellular level, weakening the cells’ ability to produce collagen, which is what gives skin its structure.
The top secret of women with soft, young-looking skin is that they’ve protected it from the sun from an early age. Broad spectrum UV ray protection is critical, and wearing a hat is also helpful in limiting sun exposure on the face and scalp. Resist the urge to sunbathe, and instead use a good self-tanner for a faux glow during the summer.
While there is no magic time machine to take back what you did as a teen, it’s never too late to stop the damage that’s happening now. Women with soft skin protect themselves from the sun with a good daily facial moisturizer with sunscreen protection, and use full-body sunscreen during sun exposure.
Develop a Daily Skincare Regimen
If you’re young, the idea of a skincare regimen sounds dull and time-consuming. But in truth, this can make a tremendous difference in the health and softness of your skin, and the sooner you begin the better. A great skincare regimen only takes a few minutes twice daily.
First, in the morning, apply a facial moisturizer with sunscreen protection. If you wear foundation or tinted moisturizer, choose one that also includes sunscreen for added protection. Also, apply an all-over body moisturizer each morning. If you shower in the morning, the ideal time to apply moisturizer for best results is immediately after drying off with a towel. The moisturizer will promote a strong barrier to seal the hydration from your shower or bath into your skin cells and prevent evaporation.
Then, in the evenings, be sure to cleanse your face thoroughly with a great facial cleanser for your skin type. After cleansing, apply a toner. For teens and young adults, look for an alcohol-free toner to prevent breakouts. For older women, seek an alcohol-free toner with antioxidants.
Next, apply a serum. The best facial serums are those with vitamin C for powerful antioxidants to promote collagen production and combat free-radicals from environmental exposure. Then, apply a good moisturizer. Today’s best drugstore moisturizers contain many helpful ingredients such as retinol which can both reduce the signs of aging, and prevent breakouts, and hyaluronic acid for intense cell hydration.
Finally, before going to bed, dab a good eye cream around your eyelids and below your eyes. The thin, fragile skin in the eye area needs special attention.
While this may seem like a lot to do for soft healthy skin, this nightly skin regimen will typically take less than five minutes. In fact, it probably takes longer to read this than to perform these critical skin-nurturing steps!
Indulge in Weekly Special Skin Treatments
Once per week, you should put a little extra into your skincare regimen. Gently exfoliate your face using a gentle exfoliating product. This helps to remove dry, dead, dulling skin cells that give your skin a rough texture. It also helps to encourage cell renewal so the newer, fresher, dewier cells can more easily surface.
You can also exfoliate other areas such as your legs, arms, or anywhere you’d like to have softer, more radiant skin.
Once or twice per week, you can go a step further and cleanse your pores and neutralize environmental impurities on your skin with a good charcoal peel-off mask. These are great for both young and older skin. It clarifies and reduces blemishes and breakouts in young skin, and also refreshes older skin and allows it to be more receptive to the moisturizing products you use to hydrate skin cells.
You can bet that women with soft, beautiful skin stay well-hydrated. Remember, even the best moisturizers work by effectively sealing the skin’s own cell hydration into the cells to prevent evaporation. If your cells aren’t properly hydrated, moisturizers will only give your skin a temporary feeling of softness, but won’t promote long-term healing and genuine softness.
Be sure to drink plenty of water each day, in all seasons. Many people neglect drinking appropriate amounts of water in the winter when they aren’t getting hot and thirsty, but winter winds and dryness means that your body requires moisture as much as ever. Most health authorities recommend eight 8-oz. glasses of water daily for proper hydration.
Some Other Skin-Softening Secrets
Keep your makeup brushes clean. Surprisingly, studies have shown that bacteria and oils from dirty makeup brushes can not only increase skin breakouts but can clog pores, making them less receptive to your moisturizers.
It’s also a good idea to avoid over-washing, especially in winter. While a really hot shower or bath may sound appealing on a cold winter day, very hot water can strip your skin of moisture, resulting in dryness. Instead, wash in warm water and avoid harsh, drying soaps. Wash instead with a gentle, moisturizing cleanser and apply a good moisturizer immediately after a shower or bath.
Remember, the skin is our largest organ, and it’s the only one that’s out there for all the world to see. Take the time to nurture your skin, and you can be one of those women who look like they have their own magical air-brush artist keeping their skin dewy, soft, and selfie-ready at all times!