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8 Best Body Scrubs for Smooth + Soft Skin by the Time You Step Out of the Shower

Discover the dermatologist-approved scrubs that will transform your skin

As we get older, our skin naturally undergoes changes, becoming drier and rougher. And while we think of these shifts happening only to skin on the face, body skin is affected as well. To combat facial dryness, many of us turn to skin care routines that revitalize and replenish our complexions. But for the skin below the neck? Look to body scrubs — these exfoliators upgrade your shower routine and work wonders to turn back the clock. Best of all, any lotions applied post-shower will penetrate skin deeper to address your top aging body skin concerns better. So we turned to top dermatologists for all the reasons you should use a scrub. and they shared the best body scrubs that are sure to make skin look ageless by the time you’re done showering.

The benefits of using body scrubs

woman holding tub of body scrub

Body scrubs are exfoliators that remove dead cells from the surface of the skin. “The act of rubbing the scrub separates extra cells from the skin’s surface to improve roughness and decrease flaking,” explains New York City dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, MD. So using a body scrub leaves “the skin feeling softer and smoother,” says dermatologist Marisa Garshick, MD, FAAD, and she adds that “they can also help to brighten the skin.”

“Some scrubs also contain exfoliating acids that dissolve connections between skin cells so they more easily can be shed.” This is important because “as we age, skin cell turnover slows down, so the skin often appears dull and rough as cells accumulate on the skin’s surface,” adds Dr. Zeichner. He recommending looking for scrubs that address your skin’s needs.”

Why women over 50 should use body scrubs

As mentioned above, once we hit 50 “our skin cell turnover slows down, and the skin may appear more dull, as there is a buildup of dead skin cells,” explains Dr. Garshick. “For this reason, it can help to use a body scrub that helps to get rid of the dead skin cell buildup.” That’s because skin is left looking instantly more smooth and supple.

What to look for (and avoid) in body scrubs

woman applying body scrub to stomach

1. Small, round granules

While physical exfoliants can also be used, harsh or abrasive scrubs that are formulated with large or irregularly shaped particles should be avoided. The reason? These can disrupt the skin barrier and cause micro-tears, damaging the skin, says Dr. Garshick. “This can contribute to redness, irritation and sensitivity of the skin, so it is especially important for those with dry or sensitive skin to avoid these,” she adds.

Instead, Dr. Garshick advises sticking with scrubs with small, regular and smooth granules to minimize any tears or disruption of the skin barrier and to avoid any harsh scrubs that may contain irregular shaped shells. “Coffee scrubs can vary in the size and shape of the actual granule or particle, so it is best to make sure the scrub uses finely ground particles,” she says. “Sugar scrubs tend to use smaller and smoother particles as compared to coffee scrubs.”

2. Nourishing ingredients if you have dry, aged skin

Ingredients that help nourish and hydrate dry skin types include moisturizing oils, hyaluronic acid, ceramides, niacinamide and vitamin E. All os these ingredients restore moisture to parched skin. And to fight mature skin, Dr. Zeichner says to “look for glycolic acid in your scrub because it strengthens skin, and improves the appearance of wrinkling and sagging.”

3. A salicylic acid-infused formula if you have oily or acne-prone skin

If you are oily or acne prone, choose a scrub that contains salicylic acid, advises Dr. Zeichner. “This beta hydroxy acid removes excess oil from the skin and keeps the pores clear.” Look for glycolic acid in your scrub, because it strengthens skin, and improves the appearance of wrinkling and sagging.”

4. A gentle exfoliant if you have sensitive skin

For those with sensitive skin, Dr. Zeichner recommends ultra gentle, manual scrubs. For example, sugar scrubs or those with ultrafine exfoliators like bamboo powder work best. “I like them because the user has complete control over the exfoliation process,” he says. “The degree of exfoliation depends on the amount of pressure applied to the skin with the scrub, and the amount of time that you exfoliate. Once you stop, the exfoliation process ends.” A few exfoliants that should be avoided if you have sensitive skin are those with nutshells, like walnut shells, which Dr. Zeichner says tend to be more potentially irritating.

How to use a body scrub

woman using exfoliating scrub on body

Dr. Garshick says that to start, apply a body scrub to clean skin right after you’ve cleansed it with your go-to cleanser. Some may be designed to be used in the shower, while others may be designed to be applied to dry skin. “It is important to avoid scrubbing too vigorously, and [the scrub] can also be applied with your fingers or an exfoliating glove,” she explains. Rub on skin for one minute, then rinse off. “After rinsing [off the body scrub], it is important to apply a moisturizing cream to keep the skin feeling soft and smooth and prevent irritation.”

How often to use a body scrub

overshot of swatches of body scrubs

Body scrubs can be used one to two times per week and can be applied to wet, damp or dry skin, says Dr. Garshick. “It takes baby skin cells about two weeks to make their way to the surface of the skin,” says Dr. Zeichner says. “It then takes several more weeks for enough cells to build up to the point that it gives a dull appearance, so daily scrubbing is really not necessary.” He adds that “the only places that may need more regular scrubbing are areas like the elbows, knees and feet.”

The best body scrubs

Keep scrolling to see the dermatologist-approved picks that will beautify your skin.

The best scented body scrubs

Product image of Tree Hut Tropic Glow Firming Sugar Scrub, one of the best body scrubs
Tree Hut/Ulta

Tree Hut Tropic Glow Firming Sugar Scrub (Buy from Ulta, $10.49)

“Tree Hut body scrubs have taken over on social media and for good reason,” says Dr. Zeichner. “They offer gentle exfoliation, and come in a variety of scents that help give an enjoyable sensory experience. Just be cautious if you have sensitive skin.” This one from the brand has a summery sweet aroma and also contains guarana and shea butter that help skin look smoother a suppler instantly.

Product image of Dove Exfoliating Body Polish Pomegranate Seeds and Shea Butter, one of the best body scrubs

Dove Exfoliating Body Polish Pomegranate Seeds & Shea Butter (Buy from Amazon, $6.97)

“This body polish can be applied to the skin to both exfoliate and nourish the skin, says Dr. Garshick. And it “helps to leave the skin feeling softer and smoother, while also brightening the skin.”

Product image of Kiehls Soy Milk & Honey Body Polish, one of the best body scrubs

Kiehl’s Creme de Corps Soy Milk & Honey Body Polish (Buy from Nordstrom, $35)

If you don’t like scooping your hand into a tub, try this sweetly-scented option from Kiehl’s. Dr. Garshick is a fan of this formula, which contains shea butter, sweet almond oil and honey. “This gentle body polish helps to effectively eliminate dead skin cells, softening and smoothing the skin, without leading to dryness or irritation.”

The best splurge body scrubs

Product image of Sol de Janeiro Bum Bum Body Scrub, one of the best body scrubs
Sol de Janeiro/Sephora

Sol de Janeiro Bum Bum Body Scrub (Buy from Sephora, $42)

Though more of a splurge, Dr. Zeichner recommends this ultra-fine scrub from Sol de Janeiro. “So long as you don’t have sensitive or eczema-prone skin, then you don’t have to avoid using products that contain fragrances,” he says. “In fact, they make the experience of using a product more enjoyable.”

Product image of [comfort zone] Tranquility Body Scrub, one of the best body scrubs
[comfort zone]

[comfort zone] Tranquility Body Scrub (Buy from [comfort zone], $50)

Rubbing on this orange and sandalwood oil-infused scrub makes worries go away quickly. And it’s also made with almond oil and sugar crystals that gently whisk away dry patches while you shower.

The best multi-tasking body scrub

Product image of 
DERMAdoctor KP Duty body scrub

DERMAdoctor KP Duty Body Scrub (Buy from Amazon, $32.99)

This body scrub is a favorite of Dr. Garshick. She says it’s “formulated with a combination of exfoliating acids including AHAs, BHA and PHAs [that] help to soften the skin.” And it “still nourishes using soothing and calming ingredients like evening primrose, black currant seed and borage oils.”

The best drugstore body scrubs

Product image of Cetaphil Extra Gentle Daily Scrub

Cetaphil Extra Gentle Exfoliating Scrub (Buy from Target, $11,89)

Dr. Garshick says “this scrub not only helps to cleanse the skin to get rid of dirt and buildup but also uses micro-fine granules to help remove dull dead skin cells.” It leaves “the skin looking radiant and feeling soft without feeling dry as it includes skin conditioners and vitamin complex to soothe and soften the skin.”

Product image of Dove Exfoliating Body Polish Scrub for Silky Skin Oatmeal & Calendula Oil, one of the best body scrubs

Dove Exfoliating Body Polish with Colloidal Oatmeal & Calendula Oil (Buy from Amazon, $7,95)

For an affordable option for those with sensitive skin, Dr. Garshick likes this scrub from Dove. “It gently removes dead skin cells but is also formulated with moisturizing cream to help boost moisture so it won’t leave the skin feeling dry,” she says. Plus, it contains colloidal oatmeal and calendula oil, which Dr. Garchick says is calming.

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