The Driest Places on Your Body Are Begging You to Add This Step to Your Skin-Care Routine

Photo: Getty Images/Anna Bizon
I have a seven-step facial skin care routine, but most days I can't be bothered to have more than a "meh" attitude toward body care. Until recently, when the temperatures began to drop in Los Angeles, causing extremely dry skin on my knees, elbows, and lips. (It was a brisk 66 degrees here, which, I know, is not exactly frigid—but it was definitely a drop in warmth.)

As a single woman attempting to date, I really don't need to be worrying about whether my scratchy knees will draw blood if they make contact with my paramour. So I turned to Kerry Benjamin, celebrity aesthetician and founder of Stacked Skincare, to find out how to most effectively moisturize the driest places on one's body.

And get this: Instead of just slathering on some shea butter and sending a prayer off into the universe, it turns out that the key to hydrating extra-parched body parts is actually exfoliation.

"You need to exfoliate those areas to get the dead, dry skin off," Benjamin says. "Sloughing off the dead skin allows the products to penetrate better… The dead skin is like a layer of brick." This goes for all of the most arid areas of your body—elbows, heels, lips, knees, and knuckles.

Benjamin recommends using her TCA Body Peel, which is full of gentle acids, twice a week. And don't worry if you experience some slight flaking—that's a good thing, according to her. Gently brush away the flaking skin, and then apply a serum with hyaluronic acid (AKA the gold standard in hydration). To really seal in the moisture, follow it up with an emollient cream like shea butter. I like Caudalie Vinosource S.O.S Thirst Quenching Serum and L'Occitane Shea Butter Ultra Rich Body Cream.

The best time to do this is right after you get out of the shower. Since your skin is still moist, it'll help seal in the hydration from the skincare products you apply, Benjamin explains. She adds that if she's super dry, she'll apply a rich ointment and then wrap the area with saran wrap for a few hours to really lock down the moisture. "It sounds crazy, but it works great, especially for those with eczema," she explains, noting that a humidifier is another winter skin-care must.

Excuse me while I spend the next several hours wrapped up like a shea butter-coated mummy in front of Netflix.

Is your skin dry or just dehydrated? Here's how to tell. Plus, the balm ingredient you need to avoid at all costs if you have chapped lips.

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