Why You Should Be Using Chemical Exfoliants On Your Entire Body

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When you indulge in your skincare routines by moisturizing and slathering your face with your favorite products, it's really easy to forget to do more with your body care (via Nivea). Besides the regular shower, lotion, and go procedure that many of us are used to, your body care routine requires one extra step: exfoliation. The skin on your face and body may be slightly different and require separate routines, but they mostly share the same pesky skin concerns: hyperpigmentation, acne, and uneven texture. What's more, body skin sheds much slower than facial skin, increasing the need for regular exfoliation (via The Beauty Chef).


As noted by Dermafix, exfoliation can be physical, mechanical, or chemical. Where physical exfoliants include products with a slightly rough texture, like dry brushes or sugar scrubs, that manually remove dead skin cells, chemical exfoliants are chemicals like glycolic, lactic, and salicylic acids that penetrate pores and dissolve debris. This brings us to chemical exfoliation for the body, an underrated and often-skipped step but one that is much needed for that all-round glow. Let's dive into it.

Here's what chemical exfoliants can do for your body

We know what it's like to experience pimples your hands can't easily reach and acne that discourages you from wearing shoulder or cleavage-baring tops. Body acne is a big insecurity for many, causing numerous outfit changes. But here's the good news: using a chemical exfoliant can help you wear that deep plunge neckline that's been stashed away at the back of your closet. According to Dr. Ellen Marmur, M.D., chemical exfoliants like glycolic acid and lactic acid help with both back and chest acne by dissolving the proteins that clog your pores (via Self).


Along with body acne, strawberry skin — or strawberry legs — is another common skin concern. Dr. Marisa Garshick, M.D., describes this skin concern to Prevention, listing clogged pores and oxidation of dead skin and oil as some of its many causes, though there are many others, including folliculitis and keratosis pilaris. Chemical exfoliants help here the same way they do body acne, by penetrating deep into the skin to unclog pores and dissolve oil and debris. However, don't overdo it. If you exfoliate too often, you can leave your skin ravaged. According to Comfort Zone, everyone should exfoliate at least once within a 10-day period, with the best results being once or twice per week.

Our chemical exfoliant picks

Chemical exfoliants in body care are a wonder product: they help with bacne and chestne and give you glowing, brighter skin. To aid your search, here are some well-known and loved favorites you need to look out for on your next skincare haul. Plus, since we now know that you only need to exfoliate once or twice per week, these products will last a while, meaning that adding this step to your routine won't cost you a fortune.


The Topicals Slather Exfoliating Body Serum is a great way to start. Boasting a rating of 4.6 stars on Sephora, this chemical exfoliant contains retinol, AHAs, and an underrated ingredient: urea. Next up is Glytone Exfoliating Body Lotion. The lotion contains 17.5% glycolic acid, is fragrance-free, and is specially formulated to treat keratosis pilaris (KP), or, as some call it, chicken skin. Finally, if you'd rather use a body wash than a serum, the Mario Badescu AHA Botanical Body Soap is a great option. The exfoliant is formulated with ginseng, fruit enzymes, and glycolic acid and promises to "leave skin brighter, softer and smoother." Who could say no to that?