Introduction: Exfoliating Hand Treatment

So I was a flight attendant for a couple years. On longer flights, the other FA's and I would pull the curtain in the forward galley and hang out. One memorable red-eye involved giving ourselves exfoliating hand treatments using whatever we could find: lemon wedges and sugar packets in the beverage cart, and of course we all traveled with a million types of moisturizers and lotions. Here's the dead-simple exfoliant that I've used ever since that night, made with just 3 ingredients that you probably already have in your kitchen.

Step 1: What You Need

  • Sugar
  • Half of a lemon (skip this if you have open wounds)
  • Olive oil
  • Mixing bowl

Step 2: Mixing Ratios

  • Squeeze the juice of half the lemon - discard seeds. Pulp is okay.
  • Pour in an equal amount of olive oil.
  • Pour in enough sugar to soak up the liquids and create a paste - not too thick. It should drip.

Step 3: Exfoliate!

Massage the paste into your hands for as long as you want. Take your time, but take care not to irritate the skin. If your skin gets red, rinse it off. If you have any leftover, just stick it in the fridge - it'll keep forever, and even if the sugar dissolves, the citric acid (from the lemon) and glycolic acid (from the sugar) will act as chemical exfoliants.

Step 4: Rinse, Dry, and Enjoy

My hand is so glowy! (I only did my right hand for the purpose of this demo since I have a cut on my other hand.) If you're wondering why this works so well: the citric acid of the lemon provides a chemical exfoliant, helping to remove dead skin cells; the sugar is a physical exfoliant as well as a chemical exfoliant, since it contains glycolic acid; and the olive oil provides moisture and protects the skin barrier, leaving your skin super soft and smooth after you've rinsed off the mask!

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Thanks for reading! You can hit me up at or on Instagram @KirikoKikuchi if you want to chat further and discuss health, beauty, DIY, and everything in between!