One great thing about winter is that you can hide your roughest body parts under thick sweaters, heavy coats and fur-lined boots. But cold weather doesn’t last forever even though it feels that way at times). Eventually, spring and summer arrive and it’s time to bring those body parts out of hiding and give them some TLC to make up for all that neglect over the winter.
Here are a few things you can do now so you’re ready to show these areas off in the weeks and months to come.
Back and chest
Breakouts on your back and your chest are common and caused by things like sweat and bacteria getting trapped in pores. Banish these bumps today so you can wear those skin-revealing fashions for spring.
- Twice a day wash the area with a cleanser that contains salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. “This will kill bacteria and prevent dead cells, bacteria and oil from clogging pores,” explains Elizabeth Hale, M.D., clinical associate professor of dermatology at NYU Medical Center. One to try: Yes to Tomatoes Acne Control Gel Cleanser, which contains salicylic acid.
- At night, dab on a spot treatment that contains salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide.
- “And always limit the amount of pore-clogging bacteria and sweat on skin by taking workout clothes off immediately after exercising and taking a shower as soon as possible,” adds Hale. If you can’t bathe ASAP, give skin a quick swipe with a cleansing wipe. One to try: Neutrogena Pink Grapefruit Cleansing Wipes, which are oil free and contain pink grapefruit extract.
Elbows and knees
The skin here is thicker than other areas of the body and it’s a spot where dead, dry skin cells tend to pile up.
- “To soften and smooth your elbows, you need to exfoliate this dead layer of skin cells,” explains Katie Rodan, M.D., associate clinical professor of dermatology at Stanford University and author of Write Your Skin A Prescription for Change. You can do this every other day in the shower with a scrub that contains beads or other particles that physically remove the dead skin. “Exfoliating also helps your moisturizer absorb better,” adds Rodan. Try: St. Ives Naturally Clear Blemish & Blackhead Control Apricot Scrub.
- Which brings us to the next step: at least once a day apply a lotion that contains hydrating, skin smoothing ingredients like lactic or salicylic acid. Try: Cerave Renewing Lotion, which contains salicylic acid and ceramides.
Your heels and soles
A long winter of heavy boots, thick socks and tights and dry, cold air combined with all the pounding you do on your poor soles can leave them rough and anything but sandal-ready. Fix this by giving soles some regular TLC.
- At least once a week, give feet an at-home soak by filling a big bowl with an equal amount of warm water and orange or lemon juice. “The acids in these citrus fruits help exfoliate rough, dead skin,” says Donna Perillo, owner of the Sweet Lily Natural Nail Spa in New York City.
- After your soak, cover heels and soles in a thick layer of a rich moisturizer like Aquaphor or one with ingredients like urea or lactic acid which retain moisture and slough off dead skin.
- Then, slip on a pair of thick cotton socks. Do this each night as well and feet will be soft and ready for their big reveal in no time. (You can also do this to your hands using cotton gloves or socks.)
Being shoved into shoes all winter long is a rough road for your 10 little piggies.
- Shoes that are too small or too pointy can cause an ingrown toenail, which can cause pain, swelling and and infection. Make sure to trim toes regularly and do so straight across. “Toenails that are too long and constantly hit the front of your shoes can lead to bruises under the nail which cause a break in the seal between the nail and the toe underneath,” Tanzi explains. “Those breaks can allow bacteria and fungus to get under the toenail to cause infection, which is difficult to treat.”
- If you do have a fungal infection, which can make toenails look thick and yellow, now is the time to treat it because it can take a few weeks to months to get rid of. Try: Kerasal Nail Fungal Nail Renewal Treatment, which contains urea and lactic acids along with propylene glycol.
Who's ready for spring!?