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Dealing with keratosis pilaris, known as KP (for short) or "chicken skin" in some circles, can be a huge pain. Characterized as little bumps on the arms, thighs, and legs, KP doesn't itch or irritate your skin, but you can definitely see and feel the rough texture. You may have tried to scrub yours away with a body scrub, but those bumps—caused by a buildup of keratin that subsequently clogs pores—require a little extra attention in order to go away for good.
The good news is that KP is painless and harmless, so you don't really need to do anything about the bumps unless, of course, you want to. The best treatment, believe it or not, isn't an abrasive scrub but is actually acid. Keratosis pilaris treatments with ingredients like alpha hydroxy acid, lactic acid, salicylic acid, are effective solutions.
To learn more about the best keratosis pilaris treatments you can buy now, read on.
Best Overall: CeraVe Renewing SA Lotion
The CeraVe Renewing SA Lotion not only hydrates your skin like most body lotions, but it also exfoliates at the same time. It’s formulated with salicylic acid smooth away rough skin while lactic acid exfoliates the surface of the skin to renew it. It also has three different kinds of ceramides, which are made of lipids that help protect the skin’s barrier.
Best Cream: AmLactin Ultra Smoothing Intensely Hydrating Cream
If you have severely dry skin, it’s best to skip the lotion and go straight to a thicker, more intensive cream treatment. The AmLactin Ultra Smoothing Alpha Hydroxy Therapy Intensely Hydrating Cream is made with alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) to really exfoliate rough, dry, and irritated skin. The acid works to get rid of bumps while rich humectants add hydration into the skin to keep it feeling soft.
Best Exfoliator: Pearigo Ammonium Lactate Lotion
For anyone with persistently bumpy skin, a heavy duty formula is needed to get back to smooth, clear skin. This Pearigo Ammonium Lactate Lotion has a much higher concentration of lactic acid than most over-the-counter products. At 12% lactic acid, this effective lotion can fight against stubborn chicken skin by exfoliating the rough skin away.
Peep our roundup of the best exfoliators for sensitive skin you can buy today.
Best for Face: Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Serum
Keratosis pilaris is much more common on body skin, but it can appear on the face as well. Since the skin on your face is much more sensitive than the skin on the rest of your body, it’s important to find a KP treatment that’s not too harsh but equally as effective. The Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Serum has 4% glycolic acid to retexture the skin and smooth away bumps as well as fine lines. It also refines pores to clear them out and make them appear smaller. The aloe vera in this treatment helps to soothe the skin as well. Apply it after cleansing but before your moisturizer to let it sink into the skin and do its work.
Check out our guide to the best face exfoliators to remove dead cells.
Best Scrub: DERMAdoctor KP Duty Body Scrub
This cult classic body scrub harnesses the powers of both chemical and physical exfoliation to reveal silky smooth skin. It's essentially the benefits of a chemical peel and microdermabrasion in one formula that can be used at home. Infused with green tea and willow bark, skin will feel refreshed and revitalized after use.
Best Body Wash: Keratone KP Body Wash
The Keratone KP Body Wash makes treating KP easy since it combines two of your steps in one. Washing your body with this body wash not only keeps you clean but it also gently exfoliates the skin with 10% glycolic acid. It’s formulated with apricot kernel oil, organic jojoba oil, and organic aloe to feed your skin and keep it smooth and hydrated after exfoliating.
We rounded up the best body washes available on the market.
Best for Arms: Excipial Urea Hydrating Healing Lotion
If harsher products aren’t your thing, the Excipial Urea Hydrating Healing Lotion might be perfect for treating your keratosis pilaris. Urea is a gentle emollient meant to soften the skin. It gets down into the rough layer of your skin and works to loosen it so the scaly parts shed, leaving softer skin behind. Reviewers agree this product is especially good at getting rid of sandpaper-like skin with its non-greasy formula.