8 Secrets of Women With Touchably Soft Skin

Updated: Aug. 24, 2019

Steal their daily habits for a healthy, radiant complexion.

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soft focus of a woman washing her hands

They make it a ritual

Simple skin care and lifestyle habits can be cumulative, doing wonders for the tone, texture, and softness of your skin. “But they don’t work if they are not done routinely,” says licensed esthetician Laura Kitzmann. “The most important part of daily skincare is the ‘daily’ part.” That means washing your face with a gentle cleanser every night and following with the treatment products, including a moisturizer, that are right for your skin type. Here are the nighttime habits of people with great skin.

woman in the shower washing her hair

They cleanse gently

Choosing the right daily cleanser is a great first step toward softer skin. Gentle cleansers will clean your face without stripping your skin’s natural oils. “Harsh soaps will dry out the skin, leaving it feeling parched and tight and looking wrinkly and dry,” says board-certified dermatologist Tsippora Shainhouse, MD. “Consider avoiding products with sodium lauryl sulfate, which can be especially drying.” Dermatologist-favorite cleansers that are mild but also effective include Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser and Aquation Gentle Moisturizing Cleanser. For super-dry or mature skin, consider a cleansing balm that uses nourishing botanical oils to gently purify skin. Try Elemental Herbology’s Purify & Soothe Facial Cleansing Balm, with 10 bio-oils, including chamomile essential oil, to calm and hydrate skin. You can also try making your own gentle cleansers with these natural face wash recipes from popular bloggers.

woman squeezing lotion from a tube onto her hand
iStock/Salvador Benítez San José

They avoid overwashing

Daily cleansing is a must but it’s possible to overdo it. “Warm water and soap will dissolve natural skin oils, leaving skin susceptible to dehydration and damage,” Dr. Shainhouse explains. Limit showers to once a day at most, she advises, and use a moisturizing soap, like Dove. (Related: Here are other good reasons to shower less often.) If you must take a second shower to unwind, rinse off quickly with only water, pat dry with a towel, and apply a moisturizer within 3 minutes of getting out. Try Everyone 3-in-1 Lotion, with a blend of deeply hydrating oils plus aromatic and therapeutic essential oils that’s light enough for your face but moisturizing enough for your hands and body. Check out these face-washing mistakes you probably don’t realize you’re making.

woman checking her face in the mirror

They never skip moisturizer

After cleansing your skin, use toner and moisturizer to lock in hydration. Kitzmann suggests using an alcohol-free toner to give the skin an extra boost of moisture. Try ArtNaturals Rose Water, a natural, pH balanced, non-alcohol toner that soothes and softens freshly washed skin. Immediately follow up with moisturizer, preferably one with hyaluronic acid, an ingredient that binds water to the surface of the skin, plumping it with moisture for major softness. Try Neocutis Lumiere, known to have one of the more potent concentrations of hyaluronic acid on the market. When time is short, here’s how to moisturize your skin in the shower.

woman in a sun hat, smiling and applying sunscreen

They shun the sun

Sun exposure is the biggest contributor to skin damage and aging over time, so it’s critical to protect against it year-round. “UV rays damage epidermal skin cells and accelerate collagen breakdown deeper in the dermis,” Dr. Shainhouse says. “This leads to rough patches, skin discoloration and fine and deeper wrinkles.” Always wear sunscreen, even on cloudy or snowy days. Choose a broad-spectrum formula with 30+ SPF. Dermatologists recommend EltaMD UV Physical Broad-Spectrum SPF 41, which is lightly tinted, oil-free, and water-resistant, and SkinCeuticals Physical Matte UV Defense SPF 50, an oil-absorbing, matte formula that hides sweaty skin. Try to avoid direct sunlight between 10 am and 3 pm, but if you must head outdoors, add long sleeves, and a wide-brimmed hat, and seek out shaded areas whenever possible. If you spend many hours in front of computer screens, cell phones or tablets, consider wearing a formula that blocks blue light, a “silent skin ager,” because it penetrates deep into skin without our realizing. Are you making these sunscreen mistakes may be sabotaging your skin-care routine?

black woman with earbuds outdoors

They drink up

Staying hydrated is just as essential to soft, radiant skin as a good product regimen. “Your skin will tell the story of what’s going on internally as well as externally,” Kitzmann says. “The body is composed mostly of water that needs to be replenished.” Be mindful of how much H20 you drink every day, and limit dehydrating beverages, such as soda, a drink loaded with added sugar and salt, both of which can deplete your body of water. How much water you need to drink daily depends on your weight: Kitzmann suggests dividing it by two—that’s the number of ounces of water you should guzzle daily. So for example, a 150-pound woman should aim to knock back 75 ounces of water every day. A little flavor can make all that water a little easier to swallow. Try CORE Organic, a fruit-infused drink with antioxidants and only 5 calories per serving, with flavors like Peach Mango and Coconut Colada. Some women take hydration a step further by taking a skin hydrating supplement designed to moisturize from the inside. Try NeoCell Glow Matrix Advanced Skin Hydrator, with hyaluronic acid and other ingredients known to increase moisture and skin elasticity.

woman in exercise gear checking her smartphone outdoors

They live clean

In general, what’s good for your body is good for your skin, according to Dr. Shainhouse, so you’ll want to establish healthy habits such as regular exercise and a well-balanced diet. Of course, you’ll also want to avoid harmful habits such as smoking and excessive consumption of alcohol and caffeine, which can take a toll on your skin. You can’t go wrong with these 35 tips for living your healthiest life.

elbow with extremely dry skin

They get pro help

If you’re battling excessively dry skin, with rough patches or breakouts, consider checking in with a skin expert. A dermatologist or licensed esthetician can customize a skincare regimen that will help you achieve—and maintain—soft, velvety skin. Next: Steal these skincare tips dermatologists use themselves!

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest