How's this for irony? I'm willing to spend a good 10 minutes taking care of the skin on my face, but my skincare routine for my body stops at body wash and lotion post-shower.
A body scrub has just always felt like an unecessary, extra step in the shower — especially on hair wash days — but it turns out that exfoliating from head to toe is actually key for achieving super smooth skin.
"Gentle body exfoliation where the dead, dry outermost layer of the skin is sloughed off is especially important for the thicker skinned areas of the body like the elbows, knees, and feet," says New York City-based board-certified dermatologist Dr. Shari Marchbein. "The buildup of dead cells can make the skin look dull and lackluster and gently sloughing them away can reveal softer, smoother and more luminous skin (which we all want!). It also allows the skin to absorb moisturizers applied afterwards more effectively."
If you exfoliate your face, you probably know there's two types of exfoliators: chemical and physical. So, which one should you use on your body? Dr. Marchbein says both can be effective, and like with facial exfoliators, many formulas for your body combine both. However, physical exfoliators might work better on areas of the body where skin is thicker like elbows, knees, and feet.
While some body scrubs and exfoliators are gentle enough to be used everyday, Dr. Marchbein recommends doing it three times a week and to take extra care around sensitive parts of the body like the breasts.
Now that you know why you should be exfoliating the skin on your body, the next step is getting one into your shower. Ahead, the 10 best body scrubs and exfoliators for silky-soft skin.
- Best Overall: Dermalogica Thermafoliant Body Scrub
- Best for Sensitive Skin: Dove Macadamia & Rice Milk Exfoliating Body Scrub
- Best Sugar Scrub: Fresh Brown Sugar Body Polish Exfoliator
- Best for Bumps: First Aid Beauty KP Bump Eraser Body Scrub
- Best Unscented: Nécessaire The Body Exfoliator
- Best for Brightening: Skinfix Resurface+ Glycolic Renewing Scrub
- Best for Acne: Neutrogena Body Clear Body Scrub
- Best for Dry Skin: Moroccanoil Body Polishing Scrub
- Best Drugstore: SheaMoisture 100% Virgin Coconut Oil Crème Sugar Scrub
- Best Clean Scrub: Herbivore Crushed Amethyst Exfoliating Body Polish
Best Overall: Dermalogica Thermafoliant Body Scrub
Formulated with exfoliating malic and lactic acids, plus hydrating olive and castor oils, you'll be shocked at just how soft your skin feels after using this Dermalogica scrub in the shower. What makes it even better is the fact that the formula also contains antioxidants and skin-renewing plant-based ingredients that lock moisture in. Good bye dryness!
To buy: $44; Dermstore.com.
Best for Sensitive Skin: Dove Macadamia and Rice Milk Exfoliating Body Scrub
The ultra-fine crushed macadamia nuts in this scrub feel like a gentle tickle on your skin, but they still get the job done. Plus, nourishing rice milk makes skin crazy smooth. Bonus: It smells like a delicious latte. Starbucks, take note.
To buy: $6; Walmart.com.
Best Sugar Scrub: Fresh Brown Sugar Body Polish Exfoliator
In case you didn't know, sugar is one of the best physical exfoliators out there. That's why Fresh's Brown Sugar Scrub quickly became a cult-favorite when it launched 20 years ago. The natural brown sugar buffs skin, while a mix of evening primrose, sweet almond, apricot kernel, and jojoba oils boost moisture.
To buy: $67; Sephora.com.
Best for Bumps: First Aid Beauty KP Bump Eraser Body Scrub with 10% AHA
If you struggle with stubborn KP bumps (aka keratosis pilaris), First Aid Beauty's scrub is going to be a staple in your shower. The formula evens out skin texture thanks to buffing pumice beads and chemical exfoliants glycolic and lactic acids to declog pores, which gets rid of dead skin cells, and promotes cell turnover.
To buy: $26; Sephora.com.
Best Unscented: Nécessaire The Body Exfoliator
Sometimes you don't want to turn your shower into your own personal spa, and that's ok. Nécessaire's Body Exfoliator is scent-free, but still luxurious, thanks to its unique foaming texture that gets sudsy as it's massaged onto skin. A trio of glycolic, lactic and salicylic acids work to remove dead skin cells, while pumice and bamboo simultaneously smooth skin without drying it out.
To buy: $30; Nordstrom.com.
Best for Brightening: Skinfix Resurface+ Glycolic Renewing Scrub
This two-in-one body peel and scrub work a little bit different than the average exfoliator. The chemical and physical exfoliating ingredients work best when the cream's meant to be rubbed on dry skin before you get in the shower so the water doesn't neutralize them. The result? Bumpy, rough skin is suddenly bright and soft.
To buy: $30; Sephora.com.
Best for Acne: Neutrogena Body Clear Body Scrub
Just like the breakouts on your face, salicylic acid is one of the best ingredients for treating body acne. This scrub clears pores and dead skin cells to help get rid of annoying back and chest acne, plus it helps to prevent future breakouts.
To buy: $6; Walmart.com.
Best for Dry Skin: Moroccanoil Body Polishing Scrub
Thanks to the brand's signature argan oil, along with six other nourishing oils, this hydrating gel scrub buffs skin and leaves it unbelievably smooth.
To buy: $39; Sephora.com.
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Best Drugstore: SheaMoisture 100% Virgin Coconut Oil Crème Sugar Scrub
This creamy sugar scrub is equal parts exfoliating and hydrating. But, the decadent coconut scent is what really seals the deal. Oh, and the fact that a giant jar only adds an extra $10 on to your drugstore run.
To buy: $11; Ulta.com.
Best Clean Scrub: Herbivore Crushed Amethyst Exfoliating Body Polish
Go ahead and judge Herbivore's crystal-infused scrub by its packaging — because while, yes, the violet jar is ridiculously good-looking, so is the actual product. Tiny crushed amethyst crystals buff away dead skin cells, while the scrub's hydrating virgin coconut oil base leaves skin silky smooth. And if you have an odd sense of calm once you get out of the shower, it's thanks to the tension-relieving Epsom salt.
To buy: $44; Sephora.com.
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