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The Best Products For Keratosis Pilaris, According To A Derm

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Keratosis pilaris is a chronic condition, but continuous treatment with the right cleanser and moisturizer can help minimize the appearance and sensation of bumpy skin, board-certified dermatologist Dr. Tiffany Clay tells Elite Daily. Dr. Clay says the best products for keratosis pilaris contain alpha-hydroxy acids like glycolic acid and lactic acid, or beta-hydroxy acids like salicylic acid. These ingredients “gently remove built up dead skin cells that clog the pores and lead to the ‘bumpy’ sensation on the skin,” she explains. Retinoids may also be used sparingly to increase skin cell turnover and aid in exfoliation, the expert says, and using a gentle physical exfoliant once a week can also help eliminate the buildup of dead skin.

Dr. Clay typically recommends that patients use a BHA or AHA cleanser in the shower daily or every other day, and then follow up with a daily moisturizer that also has KP-targeting ingredients. Avoid hot showers, which may lead to dryness and itching, and steer clear of products that contain heavy occlusive oils, such as coconut oil, which may clog your pores and worsen your keratosis pilaris. Pregnancy can also cause your keratosis pilaris to increase, so Dr. Clay suggests pregnant people speak with their dermatologist or OB/GYN about products that are safe to use.

To discover the best treatments for keratosis pilaris, including two picks from the expert, keep scrolling.

1. Doctor’s Pick: Best Body Wash For Keratosis Pilaris

Dr. Clay says that products that contain one or more AHAs or BHAs, in addition to hydrating ingredients, are very helpful for smoothing bumps and minimizing your skin’s dryness, which is why her top pick for keratosis pilaris is CeraVe SA Body Wash for Rough & Bumpy Skin. Made with the BHA salicylic acid, she explains that this body wash “exfoliates and also hydrates the skin with hyaluronic acid, and helps the skin barrier because it also contains three different ceramides.” This body wash is also a favorite with consumers — on Amazon alone, it has over 12,000 five-star reviews and ratings, over 100 of which specifically mention keratosis pilaris.

Editor’s note: You can find more of the best body washes for keratosis pilaris, here.

2. Editor’s Pick: The Best Light Lotion For Keratosis Pilaris

BDG’s Commerce Beauty Editor, Adeline Duff, uses Paula's Choice Weightless Body Treatment 2% BHA to keep her KP in check. This light lotion contains 2% salicylic acid to unclog pores, and it’s balanced out by soothing and hydrating ingredients like vitamin E, chamomile, green tea, and willow herb. The formula is fragrance-free and safe for all skin types, and it also comes in a smaller, 2-ounce bottle to take with you when you travel.

3. The Best Rich Body Cream For Keratosis Pilaris

This best-selling cream contains 15% lactic acid to reduce the bumps and roughness that typically go hand in hand with keratosis pilaris, as well as nourishing ingredients like glycerin and petrolatum, both of which are great for adding moisture to dry, irritated skin without causing irritation. “Hydrating is a must when it comes to KP,” Dr. Clay stresses, because “individuals with KP tend to have dry, sensitive skin in general, so moisturizing often helps minimize itching and redness that KP may cause.” This is a rich, thick cream, so it does take a while to dry down; apply it after showering, and let it absorb for a few minutes before getting dressed.

4. Best Non-Exfoliating Body Cream For Keratosis Pilaris

This fragrance-free moisturizer is a nice companion to your other KP treatments, like if you’re using an exfoliating body wash and lotion in the mornings, and want to use a more basic moisturizer at night for added hydration and nourishment. Cetaphil’s fan-favorite body cream promotes smoother, softer skin both immediately and over time, and it’s completely unscented. With this order, you get a jumbo, 20-ounce tub for just $20, so it’s a pretty great value, too.

5. Best Body Scrub For Keratosis Pilaris

Both a physical and chemical exfoliator in one, First Aid Beauty’s KP Bump Eraser Body Scrub is made with the AHAs glycolic and lactic acids, as well as buffing pumice beads to remove dry, flakey skin. Vitamin E keeps skin moisturized, and antioxidants like licorice root, feverfew, and white tea further protect and nourish dry, sensitive skin.

Scrubs should only be used occasionally, Dr. Clay says. “Using a gentle physical exfoliant once weekly can help to remove excess dead skin and buildup, [but] if you scrub too aggressively or too often then you can actually worsen the KP by causing lichenification, which means the skin gets thicker and more coarse,” she explains. The dermatologist adds that when exfoliating, it’s very easy to disrupt the skin barrier (which could lead to further dryness, redness, and itching) so moisturizing with hydrating products afterwards is an important step whenever you exfoliate.

6. Best All-In-One Kit For Keratosis Pilaris

Get an all-in-one kit with three products from Glytone: a body lotion, body wash, and body pouf (not shown) for an easy way to stock your bathroom with over-the-counter KP treatments that work fast. Both the cleanser and lotion contain exfoliating glycolic acid, and the wash is made with skin-softening urea and moisturizing glycerin, while the lotion contains petrolatum, glycerin, and allantoin to soften skin and reduce bumps. It’s a splurge to be sure, but you’ll be stocked with everything you need for a while.

7. Doctor’s Pick: Best Face Wash For Keratosis Pilaris

“If the KP is on the cheeks I recommend CeraVe Renewing SA Cleanser, which has the same benefit of exfoliating and hydrating all at once,” says Dr. Clay of this popular gel wash that also treats breakouts and clogged pores. That’s thanks to the salicylic acid in the formula, while ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and niacinamide protect and hydrate skin and keep it from drying out. Technically, you could use this cleanser on your body, too.

8. Best Face Treatment For Keratosis Pilaris

Retinol is great for promoting skin cell turnover and unclogging pores, so naturally, it makes a wonderful treatment for KP and rough, bumpy skin in general. If that’s a route you’d like to take, try La Roche-Posay Effaclar Adapalene Gel 0.1% Acne Treatment. It’s a small tube, so you won’t want to waste this on your body (unless you want to spot treat smaller areas), but it’s a great option for KP on the face.

Be sure to use retinol products only at night, and as always, make sure to use sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher every day, year-round, because retinols, as well as product that contain AHAs, can make your skin more sensitive to the sun.