If you’ve ever exfoliated your feet before with the cult-favorite Baby Foot peel, you know how incredibly satisfying it is. Much like the skin on your face (and your feet), the skin on your body is important to exfoliate in order to keep it healthy and free of debris and dead skin cell buildup, which is why all sorts of body exfoliation products exist.
Besides your feet, which need extra love since they’re used practically all day long, spots like your elbows, hands, knees, neck, and chest could use regular exfoliation, too. “At-home peeling involves applying a topical solution to the skin with the aim of exfoliating off rough, thickened, or acne-prone skin,” says Elliot Weiss, MD, a board-certified dermatologist with the Laser and Skin Surgery Center of New York. “Various parts of the body can be peeled, but attention must be paid to the sensitivity level of each.” Essentially, the thicker the skin is, the more potent your exfoliating peel can be.
“Thicker areas of skin like the hand and feet can tolerate a more concentrated peel, whereas areas like the neck and chest are much more sensitive and require more gentle treatments,” says Dr. Weiss. Whichever area you’re working with, look for a peel that contains chemical exfoliants. Active ingredients that Dr. Weiss recommends include alpha-hydroxy and beta-hydroxy acids, fruit acids, and naturally occurring enzymes. If the area that you’re exfoliating is acne-prone, he suggests going with beta-hydroxy acids like salicylic acid, “but most peeling agents will help superficial acne to some degree.”
While it may seem extra to exfoliate every square inch of skin on your body, note that spots like your knees and elbows can be done about once a month. “A good rule is to start off slow and build up as you learn your level of tolerance,” says Dr. Weiss, who recommends waiting between four and five weeks to exfoliate areas like your neck and chest (more sensitive spots), and between two and four for other areas. Sometimes you’ll just know that something is begging for exfoliation: “For the hands or feet, skin that’s becoming rough and thickened is ready for a peel,” he says. (Nods in agreement on this statement.) Keep scrolling for body exfoliation products that get the sloughing-off job done.
This glycolic acid-based exfoliating cream is a two-for-one that takes care of rough heels and elbows. Your skin won’t be left dry, thanks to moisturizing glycerin that leaves you feeling silky-soft.
2. Ebanel Urea Cream Callus Remover, $16
For a multitasking exfoliator, this Ebanel cream takes care of calluses in spots like your feet, hands, elbows, and your knees, and uses a potent blend of urea and salicylic acid to slough away scales and buildup.
Spritz this all-over body exfoliator to callused and cracked spots like your knees, heels, elbows, and toes. The formula has a potent 20-percent blend of exfoliating acid in it to do the smoothing trick.
If your hands need some exfoliating, this formula is especially made for them. It’s a physical scrub that also contains glycolic and lactic acids, plus sea kelp to keep your skin soft.
5. InstaNatural Crepe Firming Cream, $30
The Crepe Skin Firming cream by InstaNatural is a gentle but skin-sloughing concoction that’s spiked with glycolic acid along with hyaluronic acid to moisturize and caffeine to further firm up areas like the neck, chest, legs, and arms.
6. Biopelle Exfoliating Heel Cream, $70
For a product specifically formulated for callused heels, this formula removes dead skin cell buildup in just 15 to 30 minutes using a 30 percent glycolic acid blend.
7. Neogen Bio Peel Gauze, $16
Though these triple-layer peel pads are great for the face, the gentle green tea-spiked formula—along with glycolic and lactic acids—works well to smooth and exfoliate the décolletage.
For serious resurfacing and retexturing, these KP Duty peel pads are packed with vitamin C and ferulic acid to smooth and brighten skin, and are particularly good for those who deal with keratosis pilaris.
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