Swimsuit season is upon us and we all know what that means. Many of us deal with minor skin afflictions like ingrown hairs, body acne, keratosis pilaris — and the list goes on. If you struggle with any of these and the thought of exposed skin make you want to skip the beach altogether, there may be something that can help. You see, in addition to your standard physical (AKA grainy) exfoliants, there are also chemical exfoliants that further help to slough off dead skin while promoting cell turnover.
Chemical exfoliants often fall into two categories: AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids) and BHAs (beta hydroxy acids.) AHAs (such as glycolic and lactic acids) are naturally occurring in fruit, milk and sugar cane. They're excellent at exfoliating the top layer of skin to treat fine lines, wrinkles and hyperpigmentation, and they leave skin touchably soft and smooth. BHAs (like salicylic acid) come from plant sources like sweet birch or willow bark and are also great at exfoliating the skin. They're oil-soluble, which means they're especially good for clearing clogged pores and banishing acne.
Now combined, the two exfoliating acids are pretty much unstoppable — so get ready to say hello to your smoothest skin yet. As with any exfoliant, it's important to pair these body treatments with a good sunscreen, as they can make you more photosensitive. But if you're going to the beach, you're using sunscreen anyway, right? Right?
At any rate, if smooth, bump-free skin is what you seek, check out some of our favorite AHA and BHA body exfoliators here — and get ready to pull out that swimsuit.
If you struggle with little bumps on the back of your upper arms (AKA kerastosis pilaris, or KP) give this unique, grapefruit-scented, body serum from Soap & Glory a try. Powered by AHAs (derived from a blend of bilberry, orange, sugar cane and sugar maple) that leave your arms soft and smooth, it also contains mica powder, which lends a light-diffusing sheen that helps camouflage imperfections.
This 2-in-1 face and body scrub is powered by a well-loved BHA superstar, salicylic acid. It busts through oil and unclogs pores and hair follicles to kick body acne and ingrown hairs to the curb. It also contains an AHA, glycolic acid, to further aid in cell turnover, working overtime to fade any acne-related discoloration. Plus, this citrus-scented scrub is so gentle, you can use it on your face too! Say buh-bye to breakouts from head to toe this swimsuit season.
Try adding this treatment body lotion to your skincare repertoire and you won't be sorry. It's designed to give you soft, even-toned skin thanks to the lactic acid in the formula. Its exfoliating properties help with wrinkles, as well as hyperpigmentation and other surface blemishes, while jojoba, shea butter, hyaluronic acid, vitamin E and barley extract work to hydrate the skin and lock in moisture. This will leave you with some buttery, soft skin anywhere you use it.
If you aren't a fan of rough, physical exfoliants, you'll love this gentle, chemical one. Apply the bouncy, gelee formula anywhere you want to exfoliate and rub in a circular motion. Let it sit for 10 minutes — while you wait, a blend of fruit-based AHAs work to exfoliate and remove rough patches — then rinse it away (though it smells so good, you'll want to leave it on forever). It's especially great to use before shaving and it leaves behind a faint hint of the delicious bergamot oud scent.