Skin is exposed to harsh elements on a daily basis, from sun and wind to harsh chemicals and drying soaps. Hands and feet are particularly prone to suffering from dryness and cracking, especially in the winter months when your skin can become stressed and hardened from dry, cold air. Smooth and soften your hands and feet with a weekly routine that uses all-natural, healthy ingredients you can find at your local drugstore and around the house.
Soak your feet and hands in warm water. Either take a bath or fill a small basin with soothing warm water. Avoid hot water, which can dry out your skin. Add a few drops of lavender or rose essential oil to the water to create a soothing sensory experience. Soak your hands and feet for about 10 minutes.
Dry off your hands and feet using a soft, clean towel.
Slice a lemon in half and dip one-half of the lemon into a small amount of regular sugar. Use the sugared lemon half to scrub any rough areas on your hands and feet. Go over your fingers and toes as well using gentle circular motions. If you have particularly rough areas on your feet or hands, use a pumice stone or foot file to smooth out these areas.
Rinse off your hands and feet using warm water and towel dry them.
Pour a small amount of natural oil, such as coconut, almond or olive oil, onto a small cotton ball.
Apply the oil to your feet, making sure to sweep the cotton ball around and between all your toes. Reapply oil to the cotton ball as needed until your skin is lightly coated.
Pull on a pair of clean cotton socks or plush socks to keep your feet clean while the oil does its job.
Repeat the process of applying oil to your hands and pull on a pair of clean cotton gloves.
Keep the socks and gloves on for at least two hours and, ideally, around eight hours. Time this process for around bedtime so that the oils can soak into your skin while you sleep.
Repeat the exfoliation process about once a week. You can apply natural oil to your skin as often as every day.
Be aware of any allergies or sensitivities your skin may have before applying lotion or oil.
Purchase a deep moisturizing lotion for everyday use between oil treatments to keep your skin happy throughout the day. Reapply after washing your hands or doing the dishes.
Sarah Vrba has been a writer and editor since 2006. She has contributed to "Seed," "AND Magazine," Care2 Causes and "202 Magazine," among other outlets, focusing on fashion, pop culture, style and identity. Vrba holds an M.A. in history with an emphasis on gender and fashion in the 19th century.