Rough, dry skin isn't just a beauty bummer -- it can also be itchy, sore or just downright irritating. Lotions and creams promise to smooth out your skin, but these products may actually do more harm than good. Artificial ingredients and harsh chemicals aren't doing your skin any favors, so give them the boot and opt for natural treatments instead. Bathing properly and keeping your body hydrated does wonders for skin. If that's not enough, whip up a skin-softening recipe from ingredients taken out of your kitchen pantry.

Your Skin-Softening Plan of Action

Step 1

Shower or bathe in lukewarm water only -- hot water saps moisture from your skin. For a soothing bath, add a few drops of grape seed oil, apricot kernel oil or wheat germ oil to the water. The oil hydrates skin and seals in moisture.

Step 2

Wash your skin with a natural liquid or bar soap. To soothe dry skin, look for one that contains ingredients like aloe, Shea butter or coconut oil. Don't use any product that contains sodium laurel sulfate; this chemical ingredient draws moisture out of your skin, and you'll find it in products such as body wash, shampoo, conditioner, and bubble bath, among others. To avoid it, check a product's ingredient list before buying.

Step 3

Shampoo and condition hair in the shower first, then rinse off the film that these products leave on your skin with lukewarm running water. The film can make your skin feel dry or irritated if you forget to rinse it off. It's better to shampoo first and then clean your body.

Step 4

Place a humidifier in your bedroom or any other room where you spend a lot of time. If you need a cheaper option, try a bamboo fern, Ficus alii or Boston palm. All of these plants boost the moisture level in a room. A bucket of water set close to your home's radiator will work, too.

Step 5

Exfoliate to slough away rough patches and dead skin. Store-bought exfoliating products can contain harsh chemicals; instead of using them, opt for a damp washcloth or textured bath glove. Once you've wet the glove or cloth, rub it over your body using small, circular motions.

Step 6

Drink at least eight glasses of water daily to help your skin stay hydrated.

Recipes for Silky-Smooth Success

Step 1

Combine 1/2 cup olive oil with 1/2 cup white sugar in a small bowl. Run a warm bath, then soak in the water for a few minutes. Rub the mixture over your legs, arms and other rough skin, then rinse it off. The sugar helps exfoliate skin and remove dead skin cells.

Step 2

Mix together equal parts warm water and lemon, orange or grapefruit juice in a large bowl. Soak your feet in the juice mixture for five minutes. Once you're done soaking, rub the balls of your feet and heels with a pumice stone, using gentle, circular motions. Rinse the juice mixture off with clean water, then apply a foot balm, if desired.

Step 3

Slice a chilled green or red grape in half. After a warm shower, wipe your face with the flat side of the grape. Start by wiping between your eyebrows, then run the grape out toward your temples. Go up to your forehead and over your nose. Finish by swiping the grape over both cheeks. Grapes are packed with antioxidants and glucose, so they help soften pores and boost blood flow to your face.

Step 4

Dip a toothbrush in water, then dip the bristles in baking soda. Gently buff your dry lips with the brush, then blot them dry with a towel. Apply a lanolin balm to seal in moisture.

Step 5

Combine 1/4 cup lukewarm water with 1/2 cup dry oatmeal in a bowl. Stir well, then rub the mixture into your hands, fingers and cuticles. Rinse under running water.