The Only 3 Products You Need To Smooth Out Bumpy Body Skin Are All Under $35

When you're dealing with keratosis pilaris or "KP"—those pesky bumps that some people refer to as "chicken skin"—it can be tempting to want to spend the summer sweating it out in long-sleeved everything. But according to Mona Gohara, MD, a board-certified dermatologist based in Connecticut, with the help of a properly curated, three-product cocktail, you'll be able to show off smooth, bump-free skin long after sundress season is over.

In the latest episode of Dear Derm, Dr. Gohara is spilling on everything you need to know, including what is behind KP. "It's a genetic skin condition where little proteins, called kertain, get stuck in the follicles to create a gritty sensation and cause those bumps that a lot of people find very annoying," she says. While the condition isn't curable, it is treatable, as long as you've got the right products.

Experts In This Article

"With keratosis pilaris, the first thing to target is the texture, because one of the things that really bothers people is that the texture of the skin is really bumpy," says Dr. Gohara. This, she says, is where alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) come into play. These exfoliating acids help to gently melt dead skin cells off of the surface of the skin, and help to break down the keratin in the follicles that's causing those bumps to begin with. “That rough texture is caused by dead skin cells trapped around the hair follicles,” Robert Anolik, MD, a New York City-based cosmetic dermatologist previously told Well+Good. “Exfoliation uses some sort of chemical or physical peel agent to try to eliminate some of the surface dead skin cells that make it prominent.”

Since there are quite literally hundreds of effective AHA products on the market, we asked Dr. Gohara to round up her top three picks for treating keratosis pilaris. Keep reading to find out what she recommends for smoother skin—all of which you can use well past the end of summer.

Shop products to help keratosis pilaris

Glytone Exfoliating Body Wash — $33.00

Start smoothing your skin in the shower with a glycolic acid wash, like this one, which Dr. Gohara calls “perfect for keratosis pilaris.” It’s made with an 8.8 percent concentration of glycolic acid, which effectively sloughs away dead skin cells. It lathers beautifully onto your skin, and thanks to its exfoliating properties has the added benefit of smoothing away any roughness on your knees, elbows, and feet.

Glycolix Elite Glycolic Acid Treatment Pads — $33.00

Up your exfoliating game post-shower with an all-over glycolic acid formula that’s meant to be left on your skin. “I personally like the Glycolix glycolic pads, because you can just really easily rub them onto the effected skin and it absorbs really quickly,” says Dr. Gohara. “Plus, they don’t add any extra grit or texture to the skin that may be bothersome.” The pads come in 10, 15, and 20 percent concentrations, which means you can start small and step up your game over time.

Amlactin Daily Moisturizing Lotion — $13.00

Lactic acid—which is derived from milk—is known to be the gentlest AHAs around. “Lactic aid in lotion form breaks down those extra keratin spicules that are coming out of the follicles, and helps to make the skin smoother all around,” says Dr. Gohara. “That little intervention can make a big difference.” She recommends Amlactin, a lactic acid-infused light lotion that you can snag at the drugstore. “It helps break down that excess keratin,” she says. Plus, it’s also got hydrating properties, which means it will help keep your skin barrier strong.

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