The Secret to Soft, Supple Hands Is Not What You Think

Exfoliate your hands regularly to enjoy softer hands. (Image: 55Laney69/flickr)
Exfoliate your hands regularly to enjoy softer hands. (Image: 55Laney69/flickr)

In hand cream advertisements, you are told that all you need is to use a good moisturizer to attain soft hands—wrong!

The secret to smooth, supple hands is actually removing dead, dry, cracked skin first with an exfoliating scrub.

Then once the calloused layer is gone, the moisturizer can penetrate to soften your living skin.

Your hands need attention when:

  • You can see small cracks in your skin where there is a fine dirt inlay that doesn’t wash away.
When gardening, dirt can get into the hands cracks and stay there (Image:Flickr)

When gardening, dirt can get into cracks in your hands and stay there. (Image: Flickr)

  • Your hands look aged and tired. An exfoliation will remove all the dead cells, allowing the new cells to be visible—your hands will look refreshed.
Dry, cracked hands feel and look old (Image:fred_v/flickr)

Dry, cracked hands feel and look old. (Image: fred_v/flickr)

  • Your hands feel rough and textured—even the thickest, richest hand cream won’t change that!
  • You want to feel nurtured and cared for—do a spa treatment for yourself or your friend.
Laborious work can lead to calloused, cracked skin- no cream can fix this! (Image:Megyarsh/flickr)

Laborious work can lead to calloused, cracked skin—no cream can fix this! (Image: Megyarsh/flickr)

  • Before a manicure.
  • After hard, laborious work.
  • In the winter when your hands feel dry and cold.

Soften hands with a sea salt hand scrub

Sea salt is an excellent exfoliant, as it easily smooths away rough and hardened skin, yet is gentle when applied in repeated circular movements.

You don’t need to buy expensive sea salt scrubs; you can make this sea salt hand scrub easily at home—and avoid extra chemicals you simply don’t need.

This recipe combines the exfoliant grains of sea salt with lemon, to brighten and minimize age spots, honey to sooth chapped skin, and coconut oil to deeply replenish and protect your skin.


  1. Mix 1 tbsp coconut oil with 1 tsp honey until a smooth, thick paste forms.
  2. Squeeze in 2 tsp fresh lemon juice, and mix further.
  3. Add 2-3 tbsp sea salt to the paste, and mix well.
  4. Apply to clean, moist hands in a gentle circular motion. The longer you exfoliate, the more dead skin you will remove. Concentrate on knuckles and the sides of your fingers, where the skin has become calloused.
  5. When finished, wash hands in warm water, and apply a light oil or moisturizer.

The before and after effect is dramatic, especially if you have neglected your hands for a long time.

If your skin is still visibly calloused, that is okay. It may take a few treatments to wear down those thick layers of dead skin. Repeat this routine one or twice a week, as the results will appear gradually over several weeks.

When Not to scrub

Some types of dry and irritated skin are the result of eczema. If dryness and cracking continue, see a doctor or skin specialist, as a more medicated approach may be needed.

Don’t forget about your pups!

Now that you are enjoying your super-soft hands, no doubt your feet will be next?!

Exfoliation can likewise be done for your feet, and a scrub or pumice stones are good methods. Best results will happen when you first soak your feet to soften the hard skin; foot soaking has additional health benefits.

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