The Best AHA Body Wash


If you're reading this article, you're probably already familiar with the exfoliating benefits of AHAs, or alpha-hydroxy acids. As New York City-based dermatologist Dr. Joshua Zeichner explains, when used in a cleaner, they "enhance [the] shedding of dead cells from the surface of the skin to improve radiance and improve skin texture." Bustle contacted Dr. Zeichner to help narrow down the best AHA body washes, which have become increasingly popular for treating keratosis pilaris, body acne, and generally bumpy skin. Scroll on for the top five picks you can buy on Amazon, plus some tips from Dr. Zeichner on how to exfoliate with AHAs safely.

"I generally tell my [patients] to use exfoliating products every other day to make sure that they don't get irritated," Dr. Zeichner suggests. "After several weeks, if they [can] tolerate the product, they can advance to every day." The skin on your body tends to be thicker than the skin on your face, so it can typically withstand harsher ingredients. That said, if you've got sensitive skin, or a condition like eczema, Dr. Zeichner recommends staying away from AHA cleansers.

With that in mind, check out five of the best exfoliating body washes for smoother skin.


The Overall Best AHA Body Wash

If you're looking to help treat body acne or keratosis pilaris with an AHA body wash, the ReTone Exfoliating Cleanser is a top-notch choice. The AHA in question in this formula is glycolic acid, which works to exfoliate away dead skin and clear out clogged pores. Keratosis pilaris is caused by plugged hair follicles and body acne by clogged pores, and gylcolic acid works to unclog both. This body wash is also a great choice for anyone with generally dry skin because it helps skin feel smoother, and its exfoliating properties allow any moisturizing products (like body lotion) you apply after to penetrate better, so they work more effectively.


A Cheaper Alternative

For a more affordable AHA body wash that you can feel comfortable repurchasing frequently, there's the Mederma AG Moisturizing Body Cleanser. Like the ReTone Exfoliating Cleanser, it contains glycolic acid, so it works similarly. But because it uses a lower percentage of glycolic acid, it's a little bit less potent of a formula. (That does, on the other hand, make it a more suitable choice for those whose skin errs on the more sensitive side.) The formula is hypoallergenic, noncomedogenic, and free of synthetic fragrances and soap, making it a great choice for just about every skin type.


The Best AHA/BHA Body Wash

Get the benefits of AHAs and BHAs with Touch's Keratosis Pilaris & Acne Exfoliating Body Wash Cleanser. BHAs, or beta-hydroxy acids, are an even better choice for treating body acne, because they're able to reach deeper into pores to clear out dead skin and oil, whereas AHAs primarily work to exfoliate the skin's surface. One of the most popular BHAs used in skin care is salicylic acid, which you'll find in this Touch body wash, in addition to glycolic acid. Together this powerful duo helps keep skin clear of KP bumps and breakouts, while the hyaluronic acid in the formula balances out the acids with its moisturizing abilities.


The Best AHA/BHA Body Scrub

Created by a dermatologist, consider the DERMAdoctor KP Duty Body Scrub a facial for your entire body. The heavy-duty exfoliating treatment contains a whole host of acids — glycolic, lactic, and azelaic — as well as white willow bark, which is actually a source of salicylic acid and is great at reducing inflammation and redness. According to the brand, the scrub combines the benefits of a chemical peel (the AHAs and BHAs) with the benefits of microdermabrasion (the physical scrub). That gives you a two-for-one exfoliation experience that will leave your limbs smooth and bump-free. Because the scrub is supposed to be applied to dry skin before rinsing it off, you'll want to put it on just before getting into the shower.


Also Great: This AHA Body Lotion

To continue treating your KP, body acne, or dry, bumpy skin outside of the shower, you can pick up an AHA body lotion, like the Alpha Skin Care Renewal Body Lotion. It contains 12% glycolic acid to exfoliate dead skin cells while moisturizing your body using ingredients like glycerin, a moisture-attracting humectant, and lanolin alcohol, a fatty alcohol emollient that helps prevent moisture loss. You can use this lotion to keep your feet soft, too. One Amazon reviewer even reported that it "reversed discoloration from sun damage."

Bustle may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was created independently of Bustle's editorial and sales departments.

Experts: Dr. Joshua Zeichner, MD, board-certified dermatologist and Director of Cosmetic & Clinical Research in Dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital.