Basic Grooming: How to Get Softer Skin

Advice from a dermatologist, an esthetician and a dude with skin soft enough to make a baby jealous.


Some say having soft skin is a sign of emasculated weakness. And to those people, I say: Put on some moisturizer, bro! Your skin looks like a piece of beef jerky old enough to have watched the dinosaurs eat a giant asteroid. 

I must admit, I may have gotten a little carried away there. Either way, if you want soft skin (and you should!), block out the haters and read through this advice from some skincare experts.

Rajani Katta, dermatologist and author of Glow: The Dermatologist’s Guide to a Whole Foods Younger Skin Diet: For my patients looking for tips about softer skin, I tell them to focus on these top three things: Shower the right way, use the right products and use them in the right way.

In the shower, you have to remember that prolonged exposure to extremes of temperature can really damage and dry out your skin. So keep your showers on the lukewarm side, and no longer than 10 minutes. Also, do not overdo it with the soap, because soaps and body washes can really strip away the skin’s natural oils

It’s also important to choose the right products. In general, you’ll want to choose products that work for your skin type and any other factors, such as hands versus face or summer versus winter. For example, in the winter, you may need to reach for thicker creams for your hands, while in the summer, you might be able to get away with more watery lotions.

In general, if you want to get the best effect from your moisturizers, you should apply them directly to damp skin. So if you’re washing your hands, I recommend that you pat dry partially and then apply moisturizing cream on top of damp skin.

Gregory Dylan, esthetician: They key to softer skin is keeping it well-hydrated, protected and most importantly, exfoliated. Daily use of an antioxidant moisturizer will help replenish and plump the skin, prevent water loss and protect from environmental stress, all lending to softer, more supple-feeling skin.

Exfoliation is a must when trying to achieve softer skin. Why does a guy’s skin feel so soft after shaving? You just exfoliated! A product with alpha hydroxy acids a few nights a week will work to break up the glue holding the dead cells on, so fresher cells take center stage, resulting in a much smoother complexion. Balance that nighttime exfoliator with the use of a physical exfoliator — think a scrub or a facial brush — the morning after, once or twice a week, to help remove all that superficial dead skin, which can feel dry or rough. Pro tip: Use the brush or scrub before shaving for a closer, smoother shave.

Lastly, use SPF and protect the skin. Regular use of sunscreen and keeping the skin safe from damaging and aging sun rays will always help keep the skin smoother, more youthful and healthier.

Malcolm Siu, an amateur hand model with some seriously soft skin: I wash my hands pretty frequently, even when I’m just cleaning a cup or something. When I play golf, I also wear a glove on my left hand. I do use a hand cream — not too often, like once a day if my hands start feeling dry. I don’t use a lot of sunscreen, but I try to keep my exposure to the sun to a minimum. I think the softness of my skin is mostly genetics, and I’ve just been subconsciously taking care of my hands ever since.