Pamper and silk-ify every inch with tips from smart doctors.
1. Exfoliate Your Elbows
Friction is the problem; rubbing against clothes can make the skin on your elbows and knees dry and leathery, says New York dermatologist Erin Gilbert, MD, PhD. In the shower, gently use a loofah to power away dead skin, and follow up at night with a moisturizer that contains softening urea. We like Vaseline Intensive Care Advanced Repair Fragrance Free. ($9, amazon.com)
2. Hydrate Your Nails
“As we age, our nails can get dry and brittle, and then peel and split,” says Meghan O’Brien, MD, a clinical instructor of dermatology at Weill Cornell Medical College. Drench them in a heavy salve such as CeraVe Healing Ointment. ($4, amazon.com)
3. Nix Body Bumps
Prone to acne on your butt and back? Use a bacteria-killing benzoyl peroxide wash, says Diane Berson, MD, an associate clinical professor of dermatology at Weill Cornell Medical College. Try PanOxyl 10% Acne Foaming Wash. ($27 for 11 ounces, amazon.com)
Also, reach for noncomedogenic creams and lotions (they won’t clog pores), and wear moisture-wicking natural fabrics on hot days so sweat and oils don’t get trapped against your skin.
4. Don’t Forget About Your Chest
Stomach or side sleeping, wearing sports and push-up bras, and collagen breakdown from sun damage can all lead to lines on your chest, says Bay Area dermatologist Katie Rodan, MD. Soften them by smoothing on a cream with wrinkle-reducing Vitamin A. We like Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Night Moisturizer. ($17, amazon.com) To prevent new cleavage crinkles, use a moisturizer with SPF in the morning, and try to sleep on your back.
5. Remember Your Hands
When was the last time you coated them in SPF before heading out into the daily solar assault? Exactly. “Our hands get as much sun as our face, yet we rarely protect them,” says Texas dermatologist Sherry Ingraham, MD. Then, to add insult to injury, we slosh them around in a sink full of harsh dishwashing detergent. Use SPF, and put on those rubber gloves (even if they make you feel like a 1950s housewife).
6. Take Care With Your Neck
The delicate skin here contains fewer oil glands, making it more susceptible to dryness, itching, and redness. “Shop for moisturizers and anti-agers that don’t have alcohol-based propylene glycol or fragrance, two leading causes of irritation on the neck,” says David Bank, MD, founder of the Center for Dermatology in Mount Kisco, New York.
7. Use the Right Coverage
Yes, self-tanners give pasty legs a safe, sunless glow. But you may want to avoid them if you’ve got brown sun spots, which can absorb the lotion and get darker, says Sonia Badreshia-Bansal, MD, a clinical instructor of dermatology at the University of California, San Francisco. Instead, go with leg makeup like Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs Leg Makeup.