Bumpy skin on your arms and legs—otherwise known as keratosis pilaris—has traditionally felt like one of those skin concerns that you're expected to suck it up and deal with by throwing on some longs and longs and hoping for the best. But for Annie Kreighbaum and Rebecca Zhou, co-founders of a new body-care line called Soft Services, that solution just wasn't good enough—so they set out to develop a line of products specifically meant to treat KP. One stand-out formula we love? The brand's Smoothing Solution Calming Gel Exfoliant ($34). You can also purchase their Smoothing Gift Set ($102) which has the all the essentials, and then some (and it makes for a great gift—we'll elaborate below).
Originally $118, now $102
Includes: Buffing Bar, Smoothing Solution, Carea Cream, and the Forever Bag. This is one of Soft Services’ bestselling gift sets that includes the beloved buffing bar that exfoliates skin, leaving it baby-smooth, the leave-on chemical exfoliant that kicks dull, flaky skin to the curb, and a daily lotion that keeps skin supple.
First, a quick refresher on what KP actually is: "Keratosis pilaris is caused by cells that become trapped within their hair follicles, causing the characteristic pinpoint bumps located along the outside of patients' arms, legs, and buttocks," Joshua Zeichner, MD, a board-certified dermatologist based in NYC, previously told Well+Good. Because the condition's rough, bumpy texture comes as a result of dead skin cells trapped around your follicles, pros suggest pairing a chemical exfoliant (to melt away those cells) with a heavy moisturizer (to keep the area hydrated) for best results in smoothing out your skin.
Now, onto the product: Soft Services Smoothing Solution—a gel-textured "lotion" that's meant to be applied after you shower and left on your skin—you'll get the one-two punch of KP fighting elements in a single formula. First up there's lactic acid, a gentle alpha-hydroxy acid. It's known for being sensitive-skin friendly, and lauded for its ability to slough off dead skin cells without causing irritation. According to Dr. Zeichner, one of the best ingredients out there for treating KP.
Then, there's urea, a lesser-known skin saver that can best be described as a moisturizer and exfoliant wrapped into one. "It's a moisturizing humectant, which helps keep skin hydrated, but also a keratolytic, which means it can get rid of dry skin (particularly thicker buildups), and is really good for softening the skin in general," says Dhaval Bhanusali, MD, a board-certified dermatologist based in NYC.
Because exfoliation can be intense—especially when your skin barrier is compromised, which is usually the case when you've got KP—the formula also includes hydrating glycerin as well as calming ingredients like Centella and arnica.
While the gel can work some pretty major wonders all on its own, for maximum skin-smoothing benefits try pairing it with some of the other products from Soft Services line—like the physically exfoliating Buffing Bar ($28) or the moisturizing Carea Cream ($40).
"We have so many customers writing in saying that they can finally wear a tank top in the summer without being embarrassed of their skin, and that’s ultimately why we created Soft Services," says Kreighbaum. Do yourself a favor, though, and don't wait for summer to come around to try this stuff out for yourself.
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