When you have sensitive skin, you can’t (or at least shouldn’t) buy beauty products willy-nilly without a serious inspection of the ingredients list. One wrong move and the redness, rashes, dryness, and itchiness someone with sensitive skin is prone to suffer from can easily flare up. That careful shopping is especially the case with body scrubs for sensitive skin.
The inherent abrasiveness of a body scrub, or any exfoliation tool, might worry someone with sensitive skin, but there are options—and we found them for you. Exfoliation, after all, is important for all skin types. Although your skin regularly sheds dead skin cells on its own, the help of a body scrub removes dead skin cells that need a little nudge to shed off. “It is important to regularly exfoliate in order to prevent these half-shed skin cells from clogging your pores or leaving your skin feeling dry and flaky,” says Jessica Houston, Lead Esthetician and VP of Operations at BEAUTYBEEZ. “In addition, exfoliating can boost collagen production to reduce signs of aging and leave you with glowing skin.”
Glowing skin? Yes please. When shopping for a body scrub, be sure to look for two keywords: mild and gentle. “Sensitive skin can be easily irritated and exfoliators can be abrasive, so it’s important to use a mild and gentle exfoliator, such as a gentle chemical exfoliant, in order to avoid redness and irritation,” says Houston.
After exfoliating, make sure to thoroughly rinse the product off and pat the skin dry—you don’t want to irritate or aggravate the skin. Then, to lock in moisture on your newly radiant skin, be sure to apply lotion after exfoliating.
Ready to gently scrub away those old skin cells? Scroll on for the best body scrubs and exfoliating products for sensitive skin.
The best body scrubs for sensitive skin
Herbivore’s body polish scrubs are a fan-favorite, and for good reason. Not only does it look chic on any bathroom shelf, but its blend of coconut oil, coconut milk, shea butter, and gently exfoliating sugar makes it a must for anyone with sensitive skin to polish off any dead skin cells and dullness. The coconut milk is key, since it’s ultra-hydrating and leaves your skin feeling silky soft.
“This exfoliator is made with clean ingredients and is also dermatologically and gynecologically tested so it is safe for more sensitive areas of the body,” says Houston. Translation: it’s gentle enough to use on your face and pubic area, but also mighty enough to use all over your body. If you suffer from keratosis pilaris, definitely add this one to your cart.
This body plane is a modern take on the body scraping tools the ancient Greeks and Romans used in bathhouses, and a must-have exfoliating tool for anyone, sensitive skin or not. Using long, steady strokes, the plane will scrape away dead skin and dirt without damaging or irritating your skin’s moisture barrier. The stainless steel blunt edge is plated with colloidal sterling silver, which is naturally antibacterial and anti-inflammatory, so your skin is left smooth and soothed. Bonus: It’s beautiful, made of premium teak wood that will last a lifetime.
Between what’s in this body scrub (avocado oil, argan oil, jojoba oil, and aloe vera) and what’s not (dyes, synthetic fragrances, and harsh chemicals), you have the winning recipe for an exfoliating scrub that won’t irritate sensitive skin. The ultra-fine sea salt scrub can be used on feet, legs, hands, or wherever else you need a little refresh. “Truly amazing game changer,” says one reviewer.
Esthetician Madalaina Conti (she’s the founder of Madalaina Conti Synergistic Skincare) loves Skinfix because they tailor to all sorts of inflammatory skin conditions that cause sensitivity, even going as far as saying, “Their eczema hand cream saved my life!” This Resurface body scrub in particular is one of her favorites from their line. “This scrub combines a super gentle physical exfoliant with AHAs and BHAs in a creamy, moisturizing formula to keep the skin soft, calm, and glowing,” Conti says.
Instead of an abrasive exfoliating bar that’ll have you yelling “Ouch!” while showering, this Drunk Elephant one is specifically formulated for people with sensitive skin. Consider it a triple threat, since it’ll cleanse, exfoliate, and heal skin all in one adorable, elephant-stamped bar. Since it’s fragrance and soap-free, and has an ideal pH level of 6.3, it’ll exfoliate without drying out or irritating your skin.
“This exfoliator is infused with shea butter and a variety of natural oils, including sweet almond, avocado, and safflower seed oil,” says Houston. “It not only provides your skin with exfoliation but moisturization as well.” says Houston. Take your pick of any of their refreshing scents, like tropical mango, coconut lime, or mocha and coffee bean.
Conti raves about this Frank Body favorite, and so do thousands of online reviewers. “This coffee scrub is an amazing alternative for sensitive skin since it gives great exfoliation but is much more gentle than a typical scrub,” she says. It’s packed with vitamin E, which promotes skin healing, and has no irritating added fragrance. “Definitely add this to your next Target run!” (Or Amazon cart.)
17,000 glowing reviews don’t lie. If you have bouts of keratosis pilaris, those dry rough patches with tiny bumps, this body scrub—which is safe for sensitive skin!—might be a game changer for you. Pumice buffing beads help remove the dead skin, while bisabolol soothes the skin, and vitamin E nourishes and protects it. Get outta here, KP.
With active ingredients including dead sea salt, fractionated coconut oil, jasmine oil, and frankincense oil, rest assured this body scrub is both easy on sensitive skin and highly effective. The sea salt is ground extra fine, making for a gentle exfoliation, while the oils hydrate and moisturize your newly buffed skin. The hardest part of the purchase may be narrowing down your ideal scent, whether that’s jasmine, peppermint, lemongrass, or one of the countless others.
This body mask (which has no harsh chemicals, and instead is full of plant-based ingredients like green tea and sandalwood oil) is ideal for someone with sensitive skin. It gently buffs off dry, old skin cells and bumps, while simultaneously stimulating the production of ceramides and collagen, which boosts hydration. That’s a win/win for anyone, but especially for someone with sensitive skin.
If you’re simply too sensitive for a body scrub, opt for a gentle exfoliating session with a body brush instead, ideally right before you hop in the shower. “Beyond giving a gentle exfoliation, dry brushing helps move the lymphatic system to detox and can potentially minimize the look of cellulite with regular use,” says Conti. “I love the Dr. Sturm brush because there is a soft and a medium option—choose soft for sensitive skin!”
“This exfoliator is made with natural ingredients that will leave your skin feeling smooth, soft, and moisturized,” says Houston. Those natural ingredients are the key to a gentle skin care—no harsh chemicals!—and the tropical hibiscus scent allows you to daydream about being in Aruba.
While not exactly a body scrub, Conti describes this lightweight exfoliating moisturizer as the “ultimate multitasker,” and a must for those with sensitive skin. “This is an ideal exfoliating method for sensitive skin since it will promote the body’s natural exfoliating process while healing and protecting with antioxidants at the same time,” she says. It’s an investment product, no doubt about that, but you can trust that it’s been dermatologist-approved for sensitive skin.
If you’re on the hunt for a nourishing facial exfoliator, look no further. Reviewers call Moon Juice’s Acid Potion a “miracle worker,” a “game changer,” and “the best toner product I have used.” It visibly resurfaces the skin with five acids and botanicals, leaving you with a tighter, brighter, happier face. Just remember, this is a face-only exfoliant.
Part scrub, part soap, this OGX “scrub & wash” foams into a rich lather, lightly exfoliating as it cleanses your skin. It cleans, buffs, and hydrates. While it’s friendly for all skin types, it’s particularly a match for sensitive skin. Perhaps the best feature, though, is its ultra affordable price tag.
Chances are this facial exfoliator isn’t like anything else you’ve used before. Take it from this reviewer, who says, “This stuff is weird in the most wonderful way.” Instead of using microbeads, which can be abrasive on sensitive skin, this gentle exfoliator loosens dead skin cells with cellulose plant fibers that bind to dead skin and oils on your face, forming a sticky little ball on the surface of your skin that you then rinse off. “The texture is definitely odd, but the results afterward were more than worth it. Not only was my skin silky smooth after using it, but it stayed smooth for several days.”
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