editorial team. If you make a purchase through the links mentioned below, we may receive a commission. Check out our product
research & curation process
Let your skin’s soft and smooth skin unleash itself from underneath old, dull cells. We are introducing you to the best exfoliating body washes that are formulated with ingredients that help with uneven texture, especially the dry and rough areas around the elbows and knees.
The benefit of using an exfoliating body wash is to lift away the dull and dry dead skin cells from the top layer of our skin, revealing the healthy, fresh skin underneath. As the outer layer is sloughed off, it becomes easier for the other products to penetrate the skin. An exfoliant body wash also helps in preventing ingrown hairs and clogged pores.
Do Exfoliating Body Washes Work?
Exfoliating body wash works by using the benefits of alpha hydroxy acids and beta hydroxy acids that gently exfoliate without being harsh on the skin. The most common AHA and BHA used in the formulations are:
1. Salicylic Acid
It is a BHA that helps in the skin’s natural exfoliation process. Naturally derived from the bark of white willow and wintergreen leaf, it is also prepared in the laboratory. Its exfoliating properties treat rough and bumpy skin, clogged pores, and skin conditions like psoriasis. The acid works by loosening the bond between the skin cells, letting the dead cells shed naturally. Salicylic acid is most beneficial to oily and acne-prone skin due to its ability to control excess sebum and unclog pores.
2. Glycolic Acid
It is an AHA, derived from sugarcane, that acts as a chemical exfolianting ingredient. It gently resurfaces the skin without the need for scrubbing. It dissolves the glue-like substance holding the old dead skin cells together. By breaking the bond, it leads to the natural shedding of the outer layer of old cells. It also boosts collagen production and improves hyperpigmentation. Glycolic acid has the smallest molecules compared to all AHAs which lets it effectively penetrate the top layer of the skin.
3. Lactic Acid
It is another AHA popularly used as an exfoliating agent. It helps by gently reducing the build-up of dead skin cells, softening and smoothing the skin, and improving its texture. Naturally found in dairy products, it helps remove old, dead cells, accelerates the cell turnover process, lightens dark spots, and reduces the signs of aging. It also helps in keeping the skin moisturized and non-dry. Based on our observations, we have compiled some of the top-rated exfoliating body washes.
15 Best Exfoliating Body Washes Loaded with AHAs And BHAs
Topping our list of the best exfoliating body washes is CeraVe’s body wash. Harnessing the power of salicylic acid, it cleanses and exfoliates the skin without harming the skin’s protective barrier. As a chemical exfoliant, salicylic acid is less harsh on the skin compared to physical ones like body scrubs. The skin smoothing formula also has 3 essential ceramides that restore and maintain the natural skin barrier. Additional benefits of hyaluronic acid and niacinamide help in retaining skin’s moisture and keeping skin calm.
- Ideal for rough and bumpy skin
- Provides 24-hour hydration
- Leaves skin feeling clean and soft
Aveeno Stress Relief Body Scrub
Unwind and let your body relax with the stress-relief body scrub by Aveeno. The exfoliating body wash gently removes dead skin cells from the outer surface of the skin to reveal smoother, healthier-looking skin within a week. The calming scrub contains prebiotic oat that moisturizes and nourishes the skin while the soothing lavender scent calms your senses, relaxing your body and mind. This body scrub uses the goodness of nature and the power of science to keep skin healthy and balanced.
- Suitable for all skin types
- Forms rich, creamy lather
- Does not leave behind any residue on the skin
- Does not cause a breakout
- Delivers very less exfoliation
OGX Hydration + Moisturizing Body Scrub
Give your skin lasting hydration with this exfoliating body wash from OGX. Enriched with hyaluronic acid, sea kelp, and black rice, this cleansing liquid body soap provides medium exfoliation, leaving softer, more supple skin. Black rice acts as a gentle exfoliator while sea kelp and hyaluronic acid deeply moisturizes and hydrates the skin. Although the body scrub is formulated for all skin types, it works best for dry, parched skin in dire need of moisture and hydration.
- Suitable for all skin types
- Delivers long-lasting moisture
- Offers gentle exfoliation
- Forms rich lather
- Clean and refreshing scent
- The exfoliating microbeads are hard to shower off
Softsoap Body Wash
Softsoap brings an exfoliating body wash that utilizes pure coconut seed butter and crushed apricot seeds to gently exfoliate and slough off dry skin for soft, fresh skin. The thick consistency lathers well with a small amount of product and it leaves the skin moisturized. With over 8,000 global ratings on Amazon, one user states “I can exfoliate dirt from pores, clear sebum, and still have smooth skin. Especially after two washes on my body. The scrub is essential to exfoliate and the smell is pleasant. I use it as hand soap and even on my face!”
- pH-balanced formula
- Retains skin’s natural moisture
- Smells good
- Exfoliates well
- The pump is not user-friendly
Best for Sensitive Skin
Tree To Tub Bitter Cherry Coconut Exfoliating Body Wash
Nurture your sensitive skin with this bitter cherry exfoliating body scrub from Tree to Tub. Let your skin’s natural radiance shine through by gently scrubbing away the rough and dry outer surface. The shea butter exfoliator lifts away trapped impurities and cleanses the skin with no residue left behind. The infusion of Barbados cherry and bitter cherry reveals the skin’s natural glow, wild soapberry nourishes and hydrates the skin, quinoa restores softness, and the soothing lemongrass and coconut scent calm the senses.
- pH-balanced formula
- Safe ingredients
- Light and woodsy scent
- Gentle on skin
- Does not strip off the skin’s natural oils
Best for Mature Skin
Alpha Skin Care Moisturizing Body Wash
Specially formulated with glycolic acid, Vitamin E, and aloe vera, this body wash from Alpha Skin Care gently removes dead skin cells to allow new healthy skin to emerge. The anti-aging formula reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, leaving behind smooth and radiant skin. It washes away skin impurities, brightens dull and dry skin, and improves uneven skin tone and texture. An Amazon user states, “I don’t wanna say this cleared my eczema because I made a lot of diet changes but it made a difference clearing off dead skin. I use it like 3x a week and I love it. I have sensitive skin but it doesn’t irritate it at all.”
- Does not make skin dry
- Leaves skin feeling soft and hydrated
- Ideal for acne-prone skin
- Provides even skin tone
- Has a pH level of 4.5
Best for Body Acne
Mario Badescu AHA Botanical Body Wash
An exfoliating body wash infused with glycolic acid and fruit enzymes, ginseng, grapefruit, and linden extract, Mario Badescu brings a botanical body wash that visually improves uneven skin tone, providing a luminous glow. Suitable for all skin types, the glycolic acid exfoliator brightens and revitalizes skin by sloughing off the old, rough dead cells. The blend of ginseng, grapefruit, and linden hydrates and moisturizes the skin. Even though this body wash is tough on dead skin build-ups, it does not strip the skin of its natural moisture.
- Clarifies skin Visibly
- improves skin tone
- Provides hydration
- Gentle on the skin
- Reduces body acne
- The smell is not pleasant
St. Ives Purifying Exfoliating Body Wash
Built with 100% natural ingredients, St. Ives’s exfoliating body wash exfoliates, cleanses, and smooths skin’s surface. Crafted with Pacific sea kelp and sea salt extracts, the natural exfoliants remove dead skin and renew the skin’s surface. It provides the skin with soothing moisture and improves dull skin. The grains are nice and small which can be worked onto the skin to buff it into softness. The formula is designed to deliver superior exfoliation without drying out the skin.
- Leaves skin feeling fresh and clean
- Made with natural exfoliators
- Clarifies and purifies the skin
- Brighten dull skin
- Delivers soothing moisture
- Not effective for body acne
Dove Gentle Exfoliating Body Wash
Specifically formulated for dry skin, Dove Exfoliating Body Wash delivers gentle exfoliation to make skin soft and luxurious. Made with naturally derived cleansers and plant-based moisturizers, it effectively washes away bacteria and other germs while delivering super hydration and nourishment to the skin. With over 1000 global ratings on Amazon, one user says, “I used it myself and found my skin to be more smooth. Yes, I recommend this product.”
- Skin feels silky smooth
- Gentle on skin and its microbiomes
- Moisturizing formula
- Easy to wash off
- Made with natural ingredients
Best Skin Moistening
Naturium The Smoother Exfoliating Body Wash
Resurface rough and bumpy skin texture to reveal a softer and smoother layer with the exfoliating body wash by Naturium. Harness the powerful blend of glycolic, lactic, pyruvic, and tartaric acids to scrub off dry and stubborn dead skin cells. Let red algae hydrate and add moisture to your skin, making it more supple and moist. Formulated with potent natural ingredients as well as advanced synthetic ingredients, it utilizes the efficacious levels of the active ingredients and is pH-balanced.
- Developed for all skin types
- Made with the highest-quality botanicals
- Non-toxic formula
- It can also be used as a facial cleanser
- Helps manage eczema flares and rashes
- Makes skin dry when used regularly
Cetaphil Body Wash
Kiss your rough, textured skin goodbye and say hello to the mildly exfoliating body wash from Cetaphil. Ideal for all skin types, it is particularly suitable for dry skin. Made with a blend of lactic acid and natural biodegradable micro exfoliants sourced from sunflower wax, it gently exfoliates imperfections and cleanses rough, textured, and uneven skin. The advanced moisture combo of glycerine, soybean oil, and shea butter keeps dryness and tightness at bay for 24 hours. Indulge in this body wash today and improve the skin’s natural barrier, defending it from dryness, irritation, roughness, and tightness.
- Provides 24-hour dryness relief
- Gentle on sensitive skin
- Does not strip the skin’s natural oils and moisture
- Removes dirt, bacteria, and impurities
- The pump is not user-friendly
Caress Exfoliating Body Wash
Indulge in a renewing and refreshing experience when you shower with Caress Exfoliating Body Wash. It is formulated with brown sugar and shea butter and delivers a 2-in-1 action of gentle exfoliation and rich nourishment. It forms a rich, exfoliating lather that buffs off the dead skin cells and leaves the skin feeling silky smooth. The delicious scents of burnt brown sugar and karite butter revitalize your senses, infusing your shower with pampering decadence. Get beautiful, even-toned skin with this body wash exfoliator.
- Scented body wash
- Exfoliates to leave skin soft and smooth
- Rich lather
- Delivers clear, radiant complexion
- Safe for sensitive skin
Proactiv Acne Body Wash
An acne body wash from Proactiv that utilizes the exfoliating properties of concentrated Vitamin E and salicylic acid, and moisturizing properties of shea butter and cocoa butter to deliver a complete bathing experience. Perfect for sensitive, acne-prone skin, the soft collapsing Vitamin E encapsulated beads provide mild exfoliation. They gently burst to nourish skin while 2% salicylic acid clears up skin blemishes, preventing new ones from forming. Aloe vera provides a soothing effect to sensitive and acne-prone skin.
- Suitable for all skin types
- Keeps pores unclogged
- Calms and soothes itchy, irritated skin
- Gentle on the skin
- Delivers noticeable results for body acne
St. Ives Exfoliating Body Wash
Another exfoliating body wash by St. Ives takes a place on our list. Enriched with pink lemon and mandarin orange, it reduces dryness and cleanses skin to reveal brighter, radiant skin. The 100% natural lemon peel and citrus extracts pair up to give you a revitalizing shower experience. An Amazon user reviewed it, “As a grownup, I’m finally at a point where I want my hygiene items to complement each other. This smells great, leaves you feeling clean, and there’s a lot in the bottle. It also doesn’t leave me smelling like a teenager. Highly recommended for anyone who likes a clean citrus scent.”
- Clean citrus scent
- Leaves skin feeling smooth
- Reveals radiant complexion
- Rich, foamy lather
- Polishes away dullness
- Makes skin dry when used regularly
MEDIX 5.5 Body Scrub Skin Care Exfoliating Body Cleanser
A pack of one exfoliating body wash and one body treatment cream from MEDIX 5.5 that provides full body care, preventing premature aging and creating beautiful, flawless skin. Harnessing the power of glycolic, lactic, salicylic, and citric acids, the body wash effectively removes dead skin cells, targets keratin build-up, and promotes cell turnover. The body cream, infused with collagen and peptide, helps in restoring collagen and maintaining the skin’s elasticity. It reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. The exfoliating body wash resurfaces dry and rough skin, preparing it for better reception of the body treatment cream.
- pH-balanced formula
- Reduces rough, bumpy skin
- Helps prevent breakouts and ingrown hairs
- Boosts skin elasticity
- Hydrates and nourishes your skin
How to Select the Best Exfoliating Body Wash?
The main consideration to keep in mind when selecting the best exfoliating body wash is your skin type:
- Dry Skin: As an exfoliating body wash removes the outer layer of old, dead cells, it might lead to skin dryness. For dry, flakey skin, an exfoliating body wash infused with glycolic acid or lactic acid is best suited as it provides mild exfoliation without irritating the skin. Additional hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid, glycerine, and ceramides moisturize dull and dry skin, delivering moisture and hydration to the parched skin. They lock in moisture, keeping the skin moist and supple.
- Oily Skin: For oily and acne-prone skin, an exfoliating body wash with salicylic acid is ideal as it exfoliates and unclogs pores. It dissolves the dead skin cells and clears the pores of the accumulated dirt and debris. Additional components like aloe vera, grapefruit extracts, niacinamide, and Vitamin E heal and soothe the skin, control excess sebum, reduce UV damage, and keep acne at bay.
- Sensitive Skin: For sensitive skin, an exfoliating body wash is enhanced with chemical exfoliators like salicylic, glycolic, or lactic acid. They work gently to loosen the bond of dead cells without being abrasive or harsh on the skin. Sensitive skin can easily get inflamed or irritated. Additional ingredients like aloe vera, chamomile, or hyaluronic acid, known for their anti-inflammatory, calming, soothing, and moisture-locking properties, are effective in treating sensitive skin.
As we have seen, the best exfoliating body washes are clinically tested and dermatologist-approved for safety. They are gentle on sensitive skin and do not contain any harmful chemicals, drying alcohol, mineral oil, or artificial fragrances. The body wash exfoliators remove dead skin cells, dirt, and bacteria without over-drying or stripping the skin of its natural oils. A combination of AHA or BHA components along with hydrating and moisturizing humectants exfoliate as well as nourish the skin. Our findings show that a skincare routine with a body wash enriched with chemical exfoliants is much kinder and gentler to your skin as compared to body scrubs. Make the healthy switch today!
Why should I use an exfoliating body wash?
An exfoliating body wash is gentle on the skin. It is formulated with chemical exfoliants like alpha hydroxy acids and beta hydroxy acids which exfoliate the top layer of dead cells, revealing fresh, healthy skin.
Is it OK to use exfoliating body wash every day?
Exfoliating body washes have gentle formulas that are safe for all skin types. Although they can be used every day, it is advisable to use 2 to 3 times a week to avoid stripping the skin of its natural moisture.
Which is better: exfoliating body wash or body scrub?
The exfoliating body wash is better than body scrub as the exfoliants work deeper into the skin, giving the skin a smoother, even surface. Body scrubs work superficially, scraping off the dead skin cells from the outer skin layer. They are often harsh on the skin while exfoliants are mild on the skin.
Do you exfoliate before or after a shower?
You exfoliate after a shower. The warm water opens up the pores and makes the skin soft. It allows the exfoliants to work better at removing the dead skin cells.
Should I exfoliate every time I shower?
No, exfoliation is not necessary every time you shower. Exfoliating 2 or 3 times a week is ideal for clean and healthy skin.
How do you exfoliate your body in the shower?
Apply the exfoliating body wash gently, all over your body, in small, circular motions. After lathering for about 30 seconds, rinse off with lukewarm water.
Are there exfoliating body washes for sensitive skin?
Yes, there are exfoliating body washes with gentle formula and natural exfoliants that do not cause any irritation. Clean formulas without any artificial fragrances or harsh chemicals will not trigger any sensitivity.
Why Trust Pinkvilla
The author, Anoushka, is our in-house skincare expert. In this article, she discusses the various benefits of using an exfoliating body wash. Enhanced with alpha hydroxy acids and beta hydroxy acids, the exfoliating body washes are gentler on the skin as compared to body scrubs which use physical scrubbing components. They are also infused with moisturizing and hydrating agents. Before recommendation, she has gone through each product’s ingredient list, skin type, and customer reviews to bring you the best of the best.
Our product experts study the specifications of every product we suggest and try them out to bring what’s proven to be worthy of your money, time, and energy. We also have subject matter experts from various fields like Fashion, Skincare, Haircare, Home Decor, and Health and fitness on board to make sure our suggestions are credible and trustworthy. You can trust Select to be your faithful shopping guide for all the right reasons!
Anoushka is certified in Professional Skincare and is a Mass Media (Journalism) graduate from Mumbai University. As a More
- SportsSeptember 30, 2023Nevin seeks to build on her promise with Leicester City – FTBL | The home of football in Australia – The Women’s Game
- Women's RightsSeptember 30, 2023Experts back decriminalization as the best means to enhance sex workers’ rights
- World NewsSeptember 30, 2023What risks do China’s shadow banks pose to the economy? | Business and Economy
- LifestyleSeptember 30, 2023Costco has begun selling gold bars