If your elbows and knees are so rough they're threatening to tear through your clothes, it might be time for a little hard-core exfoliation. Skin at the joints of your elbows and knees has a tendency to grow thicker, tougher and even darker than the rest of your skin. That, combined with a dry climate, can result in skin an alligator wouldn't envy. But never fear -- raid your pantry for a little sugar and citrus fruit, and you'll have baby-soft knees and elbows in no time. An added bonus: You'll smell tangy sweet.
Cut a grapefruit or lemon in half with a sharp knife. Hold the rind of the fruit and rub the flesh of the fruit on the rough skin of your knees and elbows. Citric acid will exfoliate and help break down the dead, rough skin on your knees and elbows. Instead of rubbing, you can also set the fruit flesh-up on the table and rest each elbow in one half for 10 to 15 minutes.
Mix enough sugar in a dollop of moisturizing body wash to create a rough, grainy texture. Rub vigorously onto your knees and elbows. The grains of sugar will mechanically exfoliate them. Rinse clean with lukewarm water.
Pat your skin dry with a soft towel. Smear your knees and elbows with thick lotion or body oil at least once a day to keep your freshly exfoliated skin smooth and moisturized.
Repeat the process whenever your knees and elbows begin to feel rough, up to twice a week. Too much exfoliation can thin, damage or break the skin.
- You can eat most of the grapefruit or squeeze the lemons to make lemonade before you use them on your knees and elbows. The leftover pulp is more than enough to exfoliate your skin.
- If the skin on your elbows or knees is darker than the rest of your body, the juice will also help lighten the skin naturally.
- Do not rub lemons or grapefruit on cracked or open skin, which can cause stinging and irritation.
- Consider visiting a dermatologist if your skin flakes or if you form a red, itchy rash, as this could be a sign of a skin condition that requires further treatment.
Lindsey Robinson Sanchez, from Bessemer, Ala., has written for the "Troy Messenger," "The Alabama Baptist" and "The Gainesville Times," where her work was featured on the AP wire. She has a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the University of Florida. She writes style, beauty, fitness, travel and culture.