If you have keratosis pilaris, exfoliation is the first step to better skin because it does an excellent job of removing the buildup of dead skin cells, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. If you’ve tried exfoliation before and your skin seems to get worse afterwards, it may just be because you didn’t do it right. New York dermatologist Rachel Nazarian, MD, told Vogue that most people literally try to rub the bumps out of their skin. While it’s natural to want to get rid of these bumps as soon as possible, rubbing your skin with a rough loofah will only make things worse.
“While this technique works temporarily by dislodging keratin plugs, coarse exfoliation will further inflame the skin and hair, ultimately causing increased redness and making the condition even more noticeable,” says Nazarian. This is, of course, the last thing you want. Nazarian advises you to opt for exfoliators specifically formulated to treat keratosis pilaris, such as the First Aid Beauty KP Bump Eraser.
Chemical exfoliants are often recommended by experts because they dissolve dead skin cells, which is essential in the treatment of keratosis pilaris. Blair Murphy-Rose, MD, FAAD, says chemical exfoliants typically contain AHAs (glycolic acid and lactic acid) and BHAs (salicylic acid) along with a PHA (gluconolactone) and urea. If you can afford it, you can also opt for stronger chemical peels at the office, which are usually done every two weeks or every month.