Keratosis pilaris is an incredibly common skin condition that mostly affects children, teens, and young adults (although anyone can have it). It’s not the easiest condition to manage, but using the right body wash can make a huge difference in how skin prone to keratosis pilaris looks and feels. Below, you’ll find our guide to the best body washes for keratosis pilaris, as well as a few things that you need to know about this skin condition.
What is Keratosis Pilaris?
Keratosis pilaris (sometimes referred to as “chicken skin”) is a harmless skin condition that causes tiny bumps on the skin, as well as rough, dry patches. These patches most commonly form on the arms, thighs, and buttocks, and are typically exacerbated by dry skin – many will notice that their keratosis pilaris gets worse in the winter when the air is drier.
KP is caused by an excess buildup of keratin, a protective protein that makes up your skin, hair, and nails. The keratin buildup ends up blocking hair follicles, which results in these rough, dry, and bumpy patches.
There isn’t a cure for keratosis pilaris, but there are treatments to help improve the look and feel of the skin, as well as lifestyle changes you can make in order to better care for the skin. Since this skin condition is harmless, treating it isn’t a necessity. However, some people prefer to use targeted products (such as body washes, lotions, or treatments) in order to manage the condition and make symptoms less noticeable.
What Makes a Great Keratosis Pilaris Body Wash
If you are looking to improve the appearance of your KP-prone skin, an expertly formulated body wash can help. In general, the best body washes for keratosis pilaris will contain at least one type of gentle exfoliating ingredient. Exfoliants will help clear away the buildup of dead skin cells, creating skin that looks and feels smoother and softer. You might see formulas containing chemical exfoliants (like glycolic acid or lactic acid), or physical exfoliants that manually scrub away dead skin cells and debris.
Since dry skin can make keratosis pilaris worse, a great KP body wash will also contain ingredients that hydrate the skin. Look out for hydrating ingredients in body wash formulas, such as glycerin, aloe vera, shea butter, or hyaluronic acid. Soothing ingredients (like green tea extract, centella asiatica, or allantoin) can also be a beneficial addition to a KP body wash formula.
On the same note, you’ll also want to avoid body washes with overly harsh cleansing agents. Cleansing ingredients that are too strong on the skin may cause irritation and dryness, which will only exacerbate the problem. Some people may prefer to avoid body washes containing sulfates, as they have the potential to aggravate and dry out the skin.
How to Care for Keratosis Pilaris
In addition to using a targeted body wash, there are a variety of steps and small lifestyle changes you can make to take care of skin prone to KP. Here are a few things to consider for your keratosis pilaris body care routine:
- Avoid super harsh, drying ingredients: You’ll want to avoid using products containing irritating or drying ingredients on areas of the skin that are prone to keratosis pilaris. Steer clear of things like benzoyl peroxide, overly aggressive scrubs, and drying alcohols.
- Avoid aggressively scrubbing the skin: While some physical exfoliation can be beneficial for minimizing keratosis pilaris symptoms, you don’t want to be too aggressive, as this may just cause irritation and exacerbate the problem. If you are using a scrub (or using a cleanser with a loofah or towel) be sure to use a light touch to avoid irritating the skin any further.
- Keep the skin moisturized: Since dryness can exacerbate keratosis pilaris symptoms, you’ll want to ensure you’re doing what you can to keep your skin moisturized – especially in the winter when the air is extra dry. Moisturize at least once a day to maintain your skin’s hydration levels, and be sure to moisturize immediately after showering, when your skin is still damp. Applying a moisturizer to damp skin helps seal in moisture.
- Use an exfoliating lotion: There are a variety of lotions on the market specifically formulated for keratosis pilaris that contain a gentle yet effective concentration of alpha hydroxy acids, beta hydroxy acids, and/or other exfoliating ingredients. These products help tackle keratosis pilaris by exfoliating away dead skin cells while hydrating the skin. Consider adding one of these lotions to your body care routine to keep KP in check.
- Avoid long and hot showers: While a long, luxurious shower may be relaxing, it can be harmful to your skin. Hot water easily dries out and irritates the skin, so bathe with warm water instead, and try to keep your showers on the shorter side (under 15 minutes).
- Use a humidifier: To help counteract dry air that may be dehydrating your skin and worsening KP symptoms, consider using a humidifier at home to help add moisture back to the air and calm the skin.
The Best Keratosis Pilaris Body Washes
Now, let’s get into the best body washes for keratosis pilaris. These recommended products are packed with ingredients that tackle KP symptoms and improve the overall health of your skin, promoting a smoother, calmer, and softer complexion.
Blu Atlas crafts science-backed personal care products using natural ingredients to support the health of your skin and hair. The Blu Atlas Body Wash has an all natural formula packed with nutrient-rich ingredients and mild cleansing agents that are perfect for keratosis pilaris. It is formulated to soothe and moisturize as it gently cleanses the skin, leaving it feeling refreshed, soft, and smooth. This dermatologically tested body wash is made without sulfates, parabens, or phthalates.
One of the key ingredients in the Blu Atlas Body Wash is sugar cane extract (AKA saccharum officinarum extract). This natural ingredient gently exfoliates the skin, helping to clear away dead skin cells and improve the dry, rough patches that come with KP. It is also a humectant, meaning it draws moisture to the skin and locks it in, keeping it adequately hydrated.
In addition to the sugar cane extract, this daily body wash features antioxidant-rich aloe leaf, which has soothing and moisturizing properties. Anti-inflammatory green tea extract (another natural ingredient packed with antioxidants) also calms irritation and redness, while shea butter glycerides further hydrate the skin.
Another key ingredient is coco-caprylate, an emollient that softens and soothes the skin. In order to cleanse away dirt, oil, and debris, the formula uses a variety of gentle yet effective surfactants (like coco-glucoside and lauryl glucoside) to wash the skin without causing irritation or dryness.
2. Skinfix Resurface+ Glycolic Renewing Scrub
Skinfix is a clean personal care brand that creates products that strengthen and improve the skin’s overall function while addressing skin issues.
The company has different lines of products for a variety of skin concerns, and the Resurface+ line is particularly great for keratosis pilaris. The Skinfix Resurface+ Glycolic Renewing Scrub is a vegan and cruelty-free, dermatologist and allergy tested product formulated to treat rough and bumpy skin. It has even been clinically proven to promote softer, smoother skin.
The Skinfix Resurface+ Glycolic Renewing Scrub – which is meant to be used one to three times per week – is powered in part by the chemical exfoliants lactic and glycolic acids, which are alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs). There is a 5% concentration of each of these chemical exfoliants, which work to clear away dead skin cells, promote natural cell turnover, improve uneven skin, and brighten and smooth. The formula also contains biodegradable bamboo polishers, which gently physically exfoliate the skin.
In addition to these exfoliating ingredients, this scrub from Skinfix contains a variety of nourishing, moisturizing ingredients, including coconut oil, glycerin, grape seed oil, jojoba seed oil, and sweet almond oil. The formula is free of fragrances, parabens, phthalates, sulfates, PEGs, petrolatum, and lanolin.
3. Touch Skin Care KP Exfoliating Wash
Touch Skin Care was first launched in order to create effective formulas that could address keratosis pilaris, and the company has since expanded to make products for a variety of skin concerns. The Touch Skin Care KP Exfoliating Wash is packed with exfoliating and soothing ingredients that fight keratosis pilaris symptoms and promote healthy and radiant skin. It is made at a low pH level in order to deliver the best possible results.
The Touch Skin Care KP Exfoliating Wash contains a 15% concentration of glycolic acid (an alpha hydroxy acid), and a 2% concentration of salicylic acid (a beta hydroxy acid). The glycolic acid works on the surface of the skin, exfoliating away dead skin cells for smoother and softer skin. Salicylic acid works deep in the pores to reduce inflammation and minimize redness, while also unclogging pores to treat body acne.
In addition to these exfoliants, this exfoliating wash contains a variety of ingredients that help fight dryness and irritation. Hyaluronic acid (a humectant) helps draw moisture to the skin and lock it in, while anti-inflammatory aloe vera and gotu kola (AKA centella asiatica) soothe the skin. Vitamin E, which has potent antioxidant properties, also helps protect the skin. The formula is cruelty-free, and made without sulfates, parabens, phthalates, dyes, or drying alcohols.
4. Olay KP Bump Body Scrub with Glycolic Acid and Vitamin B3 Complex
Olay is the go-to brand for those looking for effective yet incredibly affordable skin and body care products. The company may be best known for its wide range of body washes, and for those with KP, this budget-friendly product does not disappoint. The Olay KP Bump Body Scrub contains a blend of hydrating and exfoliating ingredients, and is specifically formulated for skin prone to keratosis pilaris symptoms.
A hero ingredient in this Olay body scrub is glycolic acid, the alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) that works to clear away dead skin cells on the surface of the skin to promote a softer, brighter, and smoother complexion while getting rid of KP bumps.
It also contains lactic acid, another AHA that helps exfoliate the skin. While these powerful exfoliants get to work, the company’s vitamin B3 complex refreshes, nourishes, and deeply hydrates the skin, helping to support its moisture barrier and leave it feeling soft and comfortable.
5. Peach & Lily KP Bump Boss Microderm Body Scrub
Popular Korean skin care brand Peach & Lily creates innovative, highly effective products that tackle a variety of skin concerns. The company’s KP Bump Boss Microderm Body Scrub contains a blend of exfoliating, hydrating, and soothing ingredients to banish bumps, roughness, dryness, and flaky skin. In a third-party study, it has even been proven to effectively minimize signs of keratosis pilaris.
This scrub features a 7% concentration of glycolic acid, and a 3% concentration of lactic acid. These alpha hydroxy acids combat keratosis pilaris bumps and overall roughness by exfoliating away dead skin cells and clarifying the pores. It also contains gluconolactone, a polyhydroxy acid (PHA) that softens, smooths, and hydrates the skin. Vitamin-rich fruit extracts (including Asian plum, grape, apple, and papaya extracts) naturally exfoliate while nourishing the skin, while mineral crystals gently polish the skin to further soften.
The KP Bump Boss Microderm Body Scrub is also packed with ingredients that deeply soothe and hydrate the skin. This includes mugwort, which minimizes redness and inflammation, as well as centella asiatica extract, which calms the skin. Antioxidant-rich tea extracts and barley also work to protect the skin, while hyaluronic acid and squalane hydrate. The formula also features probiotics, which strengthen the skin so that it is more resilient. The vegan and cruelty-free scrub is free of sulfates, alcohol, fragrances, dyes, phthalates, and parabens.
6. Glytone Exfoliating Body Wash
Skin care company Glytone is known for creating innovative, science-backed products that deliver real results. The company’s patented Precision Free Acid Value (PFAV) system ensures that more free glycolic acid is delivered to the skin to moisturize, exfoliate, and polish. This results in higher efficacy and rapid, visible results.
The Glytone Exfoliating Body Wash is powered by an 8.8% concentration of glycolic acid (an alpha hydroxy acid), and uses the company’s powerful patented PFAV system. It is formulated to treat bumps and uneven skin texture, and helps deeply cleanse and exfoliate to promote smoother and softer skin. The fragrance-free body wash also contains glycerin, which works to further moisturize the skin.
7. First Aid Beauty KP Bump Eraser Body Scrub
First Aid Beauty is a skin and body care company that creates formulas that are suitable for sensitive skin, that effectively treat a variety of skin problems, and that only feature clean ingredients. The company’s dermatologist and allergy tested KP Bump Eraser Body Scrub has been expertly formulated to tackle keratosis pilaris and cleanse the skin without causing any irritation or dryness.
This effective body scrub contains a 10% concentration of glycolic and lactic acids, which exfoliate dead skin cells and decongest pores to banish roughness and KP bumps while promoting brighter and smoother skin. The formula also has natural pumice buffing beads, which physically exfoliate the top layer of the skin.
The First Aid Beauty KP Bump Eraser Body Scrub also contains a variety of soothing and calming ingredients to fight irritation and promote more comfortable skin, including camellia sinensis leaf and licorice root extracts, as well as bisabolol. It also contains anti-inflammatory colloidal oatmeal, which calms the skin while locking in moisture, as well as antioxidant-rich vitamin E, which conditions and protects the skin. This formula is vegan and cruelty-free, and also free of fragrances, sulfates, parabens, phthalates, alcohol, gluten, and artificial colorants.
8. Kosas Good Body Skin AHA + Enzyme Exfoliating Body Wash
Clean beauty and skin care company Kosas creates high-quality, highly effective formulas that are safe for even the most sensitive skin. The company’s Good Body Skin AHA + Enzyme Exfoliating Body Wash is a daily gel cleanser that gently exfoliates using the power of alpha hydroxy acids and enzymes to reveal refreshed, smooth, hydrated, radiant, and soft skin. The formula has even been clinically proven to smooth the skin and minimize dryness and flakiness.
The Kosas Good Body Skin AHA + Enzyme Exfoliating Body Wash contains glycolic, lactic, and mandelic acids, three alpha hydroxy acids that exfoliate the surface of the skin to promote a smoother and softer, bump-free texture. Papaya and pineapple enzymes also help turnover dead skin cells to further soften the skin. While these powerful ingredients get to work, allantoin soothes and conditions the skin, while glycerin moisturizes.
The formula is non-comedogenic (meaning it doesn’t contain ingredients known to clog pores) and non-irritating, and is free of sulfates, synthetic fragrances, parabens, and phthalates. It has also been dermatologist and allergy tested. This body wash comes in a tropical scent, with notes of rose, jasmine, orange, vanilla, vetiver, and sandalwood.
9. Botanic Tree Glycolic Acid KP Exfoliating Wash
Botanic Tree offers a wide range of skin and body care products that are powered by organic and natural ingredients. The company’s Glycolic Acid KP Exfoliating Wash is formulated specifically for keratosis pilaris. It uses chemical exfoliants and a variety of natural extracts to exfoliate, smooth, hydrate, calm, and support the skin.
The Glycolic Acid KP Exfoliating Wash contains exfoliating glycolic acid, which helps smooth the skin and minimize roughness and KP bumps. Willow bark – which is a natural source of salicylic acid (a beta hydroxy acid) – helps further exfoliate while calming irritation. The formula also contains anti-inflammatory aloe vera, which soothes and hydrates, as well as ylang ylang, which replenishes and moisturizes the skin. Thyme, lavender, and tea tree also help kill bacteria on the skin. This formula is cruelty-free, and made without sulfates, parabens, dyes, phthalates, or drying alcohols.
10. DERMAdoctor KP Duty Scrub
Dermatologist-founded DERMAdoctor offers a variety of solutions for different skin concerns. The company’s KP Duty Scrub is formulated with a variety of physical exfoliants, chemical exfoliants, and nourishing ingredients to minimize keratosis pilaris symptoms and support overall skin health.
This body scrub is powered in part by a 10% concentration of alpha hydroxy acids (glycolic and lactic acids) and polyhydroxy acids (gluconolactone and lactobionic acid). These exfoliating acids work together to clear away dead skin cells and promote softer, smoother, and bump-free skin. The PHAs also help draw moisture to the skin and lock it in. As these chemical exfoliants get to work, silica pumice buffing beads (which are not made of plastic) further help exfoliate the surface of the skin. The formula also contains willow bark, which is a natural source of salicylic acid. This chemical exfoliant dives deep into the pores for more exfoliating power.
The DERMAdoctor KP Duty Body Scrub also features a blend of evening primrose, black currant, and borage seed oils. These oils are rich in linoleic acid, and help support the skin’s barrier and soothe the skin. The non-comedogenic, clean, vegan, and cruelty-free formula is free of synthetic fragrances, synthetic dyes, sulfates, parabens, phthalates, and mineral oil.
11. SLMD Glycolic Acid Body Scrub
SLMD is a skin care company that was founded by dermatologist Dr. Sandra Lee – who you may know as Dr. Pimple Popper. She wanted to create a skin care company that made dermatology accessible for all, regardless of whether someone is able to visit a dermatologist. The company creates formulas that address a variety of face and body skin concerns, including keratosis pilaris. The Glycolic Acid Body Scrub was formulated to tackle rough and bumpy skin, and uses the power of both physical and chemical exfoliants.
This scrub contains both glycolic acid and lactic acid, which are alpha hydroxy acids. Together, these chemical exfoliants help smooth and soften the skin by clearing away dead skin cells and debris on the skin and in the pores.
For some physical exfoliation power, this scrub contains self-dissolving granules. The scrub also features willow bark extract (a natural source of salicylic acid), which further exfoliates while calming the skin. In addition to these exfoliants, this scrub contains glycerin and camellia sinensis leaf extract, which moisturize and soothe.