Alpha- and beta-hydroxy acids (commonly referred to as AHAs and BHAs) are two superstar ingredients for exfoliation. While you may be more familiar with them in facial skin care serums, there are plenty of chemical exfoliation body products out there, too. 

You should know that chemical body exfoliators are often way more potent: The skin on the body is thicker than the skin on the face, which is why exfoliating serums generally have a higher percentage of AHAs or BHAs. 

For general exfoliation, AHAs like glycolic, lactic, and mandelic acid will help to gently dissolve dead skin and brighten tone. Salicylic acid, on the other hand (which is oil-soluble), may help manage body breakouts while exfoliating. 

Even though ingredients like glycolic acid and lactic acid may sound intimidating, they can actually be a more gentle form of exfoliation than some body scrubs. In fact, for those with keratosis pilaris (KP) or “strawberry legs,” this form is preferred. “In general, mechanical exfoliation is not the best for KP and can even make it worse,” board-certified dermatologist and founder of MaeiMD Rebecca Marcus, M.D.,FAAD tells mbg. More on KP in a bit. 

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