Besides the fact that they slough away dead skin cells and help heal dry patches, there are plenty of other reasons to incorporate one of the best exfoliating body washes into your shower routine. If you're dealing with body acne or a bumpy skin condition like keratosis pilaris (aka KP), using an exfoliating body wash can help drastically. They can also help you achieve smoother skin by allowing your body lotions and creams to penetrate more easily into the skin. Exfoliators also help prevent ingrown hairs when shaving, and they create a smoother canvas for your spray tan — so even if you aren't using a scrub regularly, you absolutely want to add one into your routine before and after a fake tan.
Finding the best scrub for your body comes down to your skin type and preference. Gritty exfoliators with ingredients like walnuts, oats, and salt really get the job done, but shouldn't be used by more sensitive skin types as they can cause irritation (they'll also rip through a fake tan and leave you with patches).
For the gentlest scrub possible, look for the word "polish" on the label, as that tends to mean the exfoliants will be finer. Sugar is a great physical exfoliant that's gentle on skin, and salicylic is a chemical exfoliant that works for sensitive skin types because it works to dissolve dead skin cells instead of buffing them away.
Aim to use an exfoliating body wash two to three times a week to keep your skin at its softest, and always follow up with a body lotion to really lock in moisture. It's also important to note that you should be working these scrubs into the skin in gentle, circular motions so as not to cause irritation, as opposed to rubbing aggressively.
Here are seven of the best exfoliating body washes (and a few outstanding body scrubs) to help you get smooth skin from head to toe.
1. Best Exfoliating Body Wash For Sensitive Skin, Body Acne, & KP
CeraVe SA Body Wash
Sensitive skin types might think that they should stay away from exfoliators, since the idea of scrubbing delicate skin instantly calls to mind redness and irritation. But that doesn't have to be the end result if you choose the right formula. CeraVe is known for their gentle (and derm-approved) skin care products, and the CeraVe SA Body Wash doesn't contain any microbeads or grains that are typically found in scrubs, which can cause irritation. Noncomedogenic and fragrance-free, this body wash uses salicylic acid to provide gentle exfoliation, as well as ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and niacinamide to nourish and protect the skin.
Since salicylic acid is so great at unclogging pores and treating breakouts, this is also one of the best things you could use to help clear up body acne and bumpy skin. If you're dealing with keratosis pilaris (or "chicken skin") specifically, this stuff is a must to keep in your shower.
2. Best Exfoliating Body Polish That Hydrates Skin Too
Dove Exfoliating Body Polish Pomegranate Seeds & Shea Butter
For some extra hydration with your exfoliation, Dove's Exfoliating Body Polish pairs the same moisturizing cream the brand uses in its classic bar soap with pomegranate seeds to gently buff away dead skin cells. Glycerin and shea butter are also included in the formula to add even more moisture, helping to give this scrub a creamy, whipped texture. It leaves your skin feeling ridiculously smooth and soft, and it smells absolutely delicious.
One reviewer writes, "It has a beautiful scent, a luxurious feel, and it leaves you feeling very clean after a shower."
3. Best Aromatherapy Body Scrub For Relaxing
Bath & Body Works Eucalyptus Spearmint Smoothing Body Scrub
Bath & Body Works is on a mission to help you get the most out of your shower with their aromatherapy line that uses blends of essential oils to promote everything from relaxation and sleep at night to energy and focus in the morning. The Eucalyptus Spearmint Smoothing Body Scrub is a foaming scrub with walnut shells to exfoliate and vitamin E to leave skin soft. Eucalyptus and spearmint essential oils help to soothe and relax, adding a scent that one Amazon user assures is "not too overwhelming," which can sometimes be the case with essential oil products.
4. Best Warming Body Polish For At-Home Spa Days
Bliss Hot Salt Scrub Self Heating Body Polish
For a DIY spa day, the Bliss Hot Salt Scrub can't be beat. Applied on dry skin before rinsing away, the scrub warms up when it touches your skin, further enhancing the relaxing sensation of the rosemary and eucalyptus leaf oils in the formula. Sea salt and algae extract are also included to buff away dead skin, leaving it smooth and soft.
"Not only does it smell great when you use it, it truly makes your skin as smooth as a baby's," writes one Amazon user. Another notes that the essential oil combo is "so soothing, especially when you have sore muscles."
5. Best Value Pack
St. Ives Purifying Sea Salt & Pacific Kelp Exfoliating Body Wash (3 Pack)
If you believe in the healing powers of salt water, you're going to want to try St. Ives' Purifying Sea Salt & Pacific Kelp Exfoliating Body Wash. As its name suggests, it uses sea salt extracts from the Atlantic and Pacific oceans to help eliminate dry patches and flaking. Sea salt also contains minerals like magnesium that are good for the skin, and it helps buff away toxins and dirt. For even more mineral and toxin-busting benefits, St. Ives added Pacific sea kelp extract. Plus, this salt scrub comes in a pack of three so you'll be fully stocked for a long time.
6. My Personal Recommendation: A Glow-Inducing Coconut & Coffee Scented Body Scrub
Frank Body Coconut Coffee Scrub
Frank Body has earned itself a cult-following for its exfoliating powers using roasted coffee grounds. The Australian brand is vegan and cruelty-free, and they use natural ingredients to help improve skin tone and texture. The Frank Body Coconut Coffee Scrub promises "vacation-glowing skin" with its blend of coffee grinds, coconut oil, and jojoba beads. Both the coffee grinds and jojoba beads naturally help to exfoliate dry skin without being harmful to the environment, and coconut oil is anti-bacterial as well as moisturizing. For more good-for-skin benefits, Frank Body added grapeseed oil, which is rich in vitamins and helps to fade scars and leave skin firmer.
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