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Your skin naturally sheds dead cells about every 30 days so that fresh skin cells can shine through.
Unfortunately, this process isn’t perfect, and your skin’s shed cycle ends up leaving some dead cells behind (gross). This explains any flaky dryness you’re peeping in the mirror and is probably the reason for those clogged pores too.
Reaching for the right exfoliator helps clear out what your skin leaves behind and could even prevent the problem in the future. Other benefits of exfoliating are brighter skin, increased collagen production, and better product absorption.
First things first: You’ll want to know the difference between a physical exfoliator (your typical scrubs) and a chemical one (usually a body wash or serum).
These are the gritty, sandy products that visibly scrub away dirt, grime, and dead skin.
This can be done with a grainy formula (usually made from salt, sugar, or — occasionally — crushed nuts) or with a physical tool like a dry brush, loofah, or netted bath mitt.
They’re usually on the affordable side and easy-peasy to use and find.
These are typically made with acids or enzymes and work by chemically releasing the dead skin cells to make way for fresh skin.
It may sound a little intense to apply acidic chemicals to your skin. But chemical exfoliators use only teeny-tiny amounts of acids or enzymes that are usually diluted with a slew of other ingredients.
Chemical exfoliators are typically used on your face, but some products can be used on your whole body.
OK, now that you have the scoop on which type of exfoliator sounds most like you, it’s time to check out the best of the best.GREATIST NEWSLETTERBe your Greatist, every day
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We searched the internet for body exfoliators that real people have rated highly and raved about. We also considered active ingredients, reviews, skin type, and price point.
- $ = under $10
- $$ = $10–25
- $$$ = over $25
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1. Best budget body exfoliator
Dr Teal’s Restore & Replenish Pink Himalayan Sea Salt Scrub
Why we chose it: This affordable, cruelty-free body scrub gets skin nice and moisturized without leaving a gross residue behind. It contains aloe vera, shea butter, and vitamin E to keep your bod super hydrated. Plus, the essential oils (orange and bergamot) give it a satisfying scent.
What to know: Don’t use this scrub on any minor scrapes or cuts — it could sting. And since this scrub contains fragrance, it may not be the best option for those with sensitive skin.
2. Best luxury body exfoliator
Tata Harper Smoothing Body Scrub
Why we chose it: It’s hard to find this rather bougie, hydrating, micro-polishing body treatment in stock. Using six sources of vitamins and minerals and five sources of exfoliation, it helps leave dull and uneven skin super soft and glowing.
What to know: You can work this scrub into a nice creamy lather. Tata Harper recommends using it right before shaving to help open and soften the root of your hair. Be sure to scrub in downward motions, though!
3. Best chemical body exfoliator
SkinCeuticals Body Retexturing Treatment
Why we chose it: This one may be a bit pricey, but chemical exfoliants like this are profesh at smoothing wrinkles and even lightening dark spots. This serum exfoliates and hydrates using a hydroxyethyl urea and aminosulfonic acid compound to promote cell turnover as it rebuilds the skin’s oil barrier.
What to know: This treatment contains niacinamide, a sneaky little skin tone evener that helps reduce inflammation.
4. Best body exfoliator for dry skin
Eczema Honey Premium Oatmeal Scrub
Why we chose it: This gentle, all-natural exfoliator has moisturizing ingredients that are hella helpful for folks with very dry skin or even eczema. For example, it has honey, which is a natural humectant that draws and locks in moisture.
What to know: It’s a good idea to patch test this scrub before using it, since some people who have tried it have reported allergic reactions. Eczema Honey even recommends patch testing.
5. Best body exfoliator for oily skin
Neutrogena Deep Clean Gentle Scrub
Why we chose it: This oil-free daily cleansing scrub has beta hydroxy, which is proven to gently cleanse deep into pores. Gentle microbeads make it great for removing blackhead-causing oil and dirt (goodbye, bacne!).
What to know: This scrub is made from a dermatologist-tested formula and is noncomedogenic, meaning it won’t clog your pores. It foams to a creamy lather but rinses clean.
6. Best chemical exfoliating body wash
Alpha Skin Care Moisturizing Body Wash
Why we chose it: This body wash is designed to moisturize and exfoliate and is formulated with glycolic alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), vitamin E, and aloe vera. It works gently to slough off dead skin cells and boost collagen production.
What to know: It’s fragrance-free, which is a plus for those with sensitive skin.
7. Best body exfoliator for sensitive skin
Herbivore Coco Rose Body Polish
Why we chose it: This is a gentle little scrubber — even gentle enough for sensitive skin prone to ingrown hairs and razor burn. The ingredients are also all-natural, noncomedogenic, vegan, and cruelty-free.
8. Best body exfoliator for ingrown hair
First Aid Beauty KP Bump Eraser Body Scrub
Why we chose it: Skin bumps like ingrown hairs and keratosis pilaris (aka chicken skin) can be super annoying, to say the least. This scrub uses a combo of physical exfoliators (like pumice) and chemical exfoliators (like glycolic and lactic acids) to slough away that sh*t.
What to know: This scrub is vegan, cruelty-free, and gluten-free. Plus, it comes in recyclable packaging.
9. Best body exfoliator for acne
Neutrogena Body Clear Acne Body Scrub with Salicylic Acid
Why we chose it: This affordable body scrub uses microbeads to help treat and prevent body breakouts on your back, chest, shoulders, and anywhere else.
What to know: This scrub is noncomedogenic andcontains salicylic acid to fight acne. It rinses off completely, so you won’t have to deal with any pore-clogging residue.
10. Best body exfoliator for sun-damaged skin
CÉLA Black Gold Supreme Coffee Scrub
Why we chose it: This coffee scrub not only gives off the rich, perky scent of java but also helps fight the damaging effects of UV radiation from the sun. Cupuaçu butter and conditioning Abyssinian oil protect and nourish as the caffeine saturates the skin’s barrier. This helps tighten the skin and may reduce the appearance of cellulite.
What to know: This pick is cruelty-, sulfate-, and paraben-free. But coffee can be abrasive, so make sure not to scrub too hard or use on broken skin.