Dear beauty industry: enough with the massive eyeshadow palettes and effing contouring kits and damn matte lipsticks. ENOUGH. There's a real need you're ignoring, and it's starting to make me cranky.
Hands up if you have rough, dry, bumpy patches of skin on your upper arms or anywhere else on your body. 🙋🏻♀️ It could just be super-dry skin, or (as it is in my case) it could be keratosis pilaris, a common condition resulting from an inexplicable build-up of keratin that blocks the opening of particularly fine hair follicles. The Mayo Clinic says it usually disappears when you hit your 30s, but that didn't happen for me.
An easy solution for dry, bumpy skin, as well as some excessively dry and scaly skin conditions is a body lotion or cream dosed with alpha hydroxy acids such as lactic or glycolic. But now that I've decided I'm at an age that calls for an AHA body lotion on the regular, I can't find much that doesn't kick my wallet in the coins.
Curel had a very reasonably priced drugstore option not too long ago – Curel Rough Skin Rescue debuted in Canada in 2015 with lactic acid as its key ingredient. However, the lotion appears to have been discontinued, which totally sucks because it was only about $11 CAD. (US friends who want to try it can still snag it from target.com for $7.79 USD, though.)
Shoppers Drug Mart in Canada also carried something called Lac-Hydrin 12%, an ammonium lactate (a form of lactic acid) lotion that some said was too high in the pH to get the job done. It was around for years, but it's been discontinued now as well (it was about $12 CAD.)
And then there was Nip+Fab Glycolic Fix ($12.99 CAD) – did you catch that word "was"? Yeah, it's gone too; Nip+Fab left Canada last year. (Apparently there is a brand re-launch in the works, but no news on when.)
In the higher-priced category, Shoppers carried Neostrata Body Smoothing Lotion, a 10% glycolic acid lotion that rang in at just under $40 CAD. Now that J&J owns Neostrata, that moisturizer has been reformulated, repackaged and re-shelved as Neostrata Resurface Glycolic Renewal Smoothing Lotion. But it's more expensive and you get 40 mL less. *sigh*
Still, although not many, there are exfoliating body lotions to be had from Canadian drugstores, and more expensive options available via Amazon, Paula's Choice and overseas sites. But there should be many more good options available for less than $15, don't you think? Is it really so pricey to formulate a pleasant, efficacious, fragrance-free body lotion with AHAs?
exfoliating body lotions to try
Yay fragrance-free CeraVe Renewing SA Lotion ($14.97 CAD at walmart.ca and $13.97 USD at target.com) for making my wallet smile in relief, and for including salicylic acid, ammonium lactate, ceramides and Vitamin D in the smoothing formula. Need something richer? Try CeraVe Renewing SA Cream ($19.97 CAD at walmart.ca and $23.99 USD at ulta.com).
I haven't tried Dermalac Lotion ($14.99 CAD at well.ca; sorry US-based friends, can't find a US online supplier), but it looks like an alternative to Lac-Hydrin, with 12% lactic acid to soften, smooth and moisturize dry, scaly skin. Also contains glycerin, mineral oil and parabens; appears to be fragrance-free. (There are similar lotions, including Amlactin, available via amazon.ca, but at much higher prices.)
Glossier Body Hero Daily Perfecting Cream ($27 CAD and $22 USD at glossier.com) is a lightweight in this list of exfoliating body lotions, but that's okay. Its AHA content comes from tamarind fruit extract, and it's definitely scented; if you aren't dealing with keratosis pilaris or an intense case of the dry itchies, this might well be the right gently smoothing option for you. Body Hero (reviewed here) also contains light-reflecting components to impart a pretty sheen. (Plus, I swiped a Body Hero campaign photo of Paloma Elsesser to use as the opening image, so I couldn't leave the actual product out. *grin*)
Alpha Skin Care Renewal Body Lotion 12% Glycolic AHA ($33.99 CAD at amazon.ca and $16.99 USD at ulta.com) is, for Canadians, one of those Amazon brands that is waaay more expensive than it should be, judging by the US price. It's fragrance-free and also contains petrolatum and mineral oil to lock moisture in. I'm annoyed at the CAD pricing, but I've included it here in case any of our US-based beautygeeks is looking for an exfoliating body lotion in a reasonable price range.
Fragrance-free Reversa Skin Smoothing Body Lotion ($36 CAD at beautyboutique.ca* – sorry again, US-based friends, I don't think this Canadian brand is available Stateside) is a time-release 10% glycolic acid formula with soothing Allantoin, panthenol and glycerin.
As I mentioned earlier, Neostrata Resurface Glycolic Renewal Smoothing Lotion ($45 CAD at beautyboutique.ca* and $48.99 at well.ca – they ship to the USA) has been reformulated and repackaged, and should also be easily available in the USA under the same name (J&J revamped the entire Neostrata line so the same products would be available in every country that sells them). It's a 10% AHA concentration composed of 8% glycolic acid and 2% citric acid.
Ren AHA Smart Renewal Body Serum ($54 CAD and $42 USD at sephora.com) is a 10% lactic-acid formula and scented with natural fragrance (natural fragrance can be just as irritating as synthetic, FYI). I haven't tried it, so I can't say for sure why it bills itself as a serum rather than a lotion, but maybe it's a marketing thing so the brand can charge more for it because it sounds fancy. Whatever – I'm still intrigued, although my wallet is pretending not to see it.
Did you know Dermalogica Body Hydrating Cream ($68 CAD at sephora.com and $48 USD at ulta.com) contains lactic acid and AHAs from sugar cane and apple extract? Well it does, and it's botanically scented, too (and I love the fragrance). But damn, almost $70 CAD before tax? That's a treat-yo-self price. Treat-myself price, really. Poor wallet.
Aside from the options in this post, I couldn't find much with a less-than-$15 price tag. Perhaps making your own lactic-acid concoction might be a viable option. And by "making your own" I mean mixing a couple of drops The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + 2% HA ($6.70 CAD and $6.80 USD at sephora.com) with a dollop of your favourite body lotion to see how that works for you. Your wallet will love it! (And I have to try it. If you try it before I do, please report back!)
This post was inspired by a question from reader Desirée, who said in a comment here that she was having trouble finding an AHA body moisturizer in Canada. I'm waiting to hear back from the folks at Shoppers Drug Mart as to whether there are reasonably priced options I've missed; I'll update when I can. In the meantime, I hope there's something here that appeals to you and your budget, whatever it is. And of course, if anyone has suggestions, comment below, please!
CERAVE RENEWING SA LOTION ingredients: Medicinal: 3% Salicylic acid. Non-Medicinal: Aqua (water), Glycerin, Mineral Oil, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetyl Alcohol, Ammonium Lactate, Glyceryl Stearate SE, PEG-100 Stearate, Corn Oil, Vitamin D3, Niacinamide, Dimethicone, Ceramide NP, Ceramide AP, Ceramide EOP, Cholesterol, Phytosphingosine, Hyaluronic Acid, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Triethanolamine, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Carbomer, Xanthan Gum
DERMALAC LOTION ingredients: ammonium hydroxide, cetyl alcohol, glycerin, glyceryl monostearate, lactic acid, laureth-4, light mineral oil, magnesium aluminum silicate, methylcellulose, methylparaben, polyoxyethylene 100 stearate, polyoxyl 40 stearate, propylene glycol, propylparaben and purified water
GLOSSIER BODY HERO DAILY PERFECTING CREAM ingredients: Aqua/Water/Eau, Dimethicone, Neopentyl Glycol Diheptanoate, Isononyl Isononanoate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Butylene Glycol, Propanediol, Glycerin, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Hydrogenated Olive Oil, Olea Europaea (Olive) Oil Unsaponifiables, Mica, Evodia Rutaecarpa Fruit Extract, Tamarindus Indica Fruit Extract, Alaria Esculenta Extract, Cereus Grandiflorus (Cactus) Flower Extract, Opuntia Tuna Flower/Stem Extract, Yucca Schidigera Leaf/Root/Stem Extract, Cetearyl Glucoside, , Caprylyl Glycol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, Sodium Polyacrylate, Hydrogenated Polydecene, Caprylhydroxamic Acid, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Hydroxide, PPG-5-Laureth-5, Citric Acid, Tin Oxide, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Parfum/Fragrance, Linalool, Citronellol, Geraniol, Hydroxycitronellal, Limonene, CI 77891 (Titanium Dioxide)
ALPHA SKIN CARE RENEWAL BODY LOTION 12% GLYCOLIC AHA ingredients: Water, Petrolatum, Glycolic Acid, Glycerin, Ammonium Hydroxide, Stearic Acid, Dimethicone, Mineral Oil , Cetyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Lanolin Alcohol, PEG-40 Stearate, Sorbitan Stearate, Propylene Glycol, Diazolidinyl Urea, Idopropynyl Butylcarbamate
REVERSA SKIN SMOOTHING BODY LOTION ingredients: water/eau, glycolic acid, isostearyl isostearate, glycerin, cetearyl alcohol, dicetyl phosphate, ceteth-10 phosphate, dimethicone, dimethicone crosspolymer, arginine, glyceryl stearate, peg-100 stearate, ammonium hydroxide, sorbitan stearate, panthenol, xanthan gum, allantoin, tocopheryl acetate (Vitamin E), cetyl alcohol, tetrasodium EDTA.
NEOSTRATA RESURFACE GLYCOLIC RENEWAL SMOOTHING LOTION ingredients: Aqua/Water/Eau, Glycolic Acid, Propylene Glycol, Citric Acid, Ammonium Hydroxide, Arginine, Dimethicone, PEG-40 Stearate, Trimethylolpropane Triethylhexanoate, Mangifera Indica (Mango) Seed Butter, Tocopheryl Acetate, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, PEG-100 Stearate, Glyceryl Stearate, Isopropyl Palmitate, Stearic Acid, Myristic Acid, Palmitic Acid, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetyl Hydroxyethylcellulose, Xanthan Gum, Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Disodium EDTA, Methylparaben, Chlorphenesin
REN AHA SMART RENEWAL BODY SERUM ingredients: Water, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Lactic Acid, Sodium Lactate, Lactococcus Ferment Lysate, Lysolecithin, Sclerotium Gum, Xylitylglucoside, Xanthan Gum, Anhydroxylitol, Pullulan, Parfum* (Fragrance), Mannitol, Xylitol, Sodium Benzoate, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Flower Oil, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Oil, Citrus Nobilis (Mandarin) Peel Oil, Citrus Tangerina (Tangerine) Peel Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate, Potassium Sorbate, Faex (Yeast) Extract, Glucose, Silica, Sodium Chloride, Glycogen, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Citric Acid, Citral, Limonene, Linalool. *100% Natural Fragrance
DERMALOGICA BODY HYDRATING CREAM ingredients: Water, Cetearyl Ethylhexanoate, Butylene Glycol, Cyclopentasiloxane, Cetyl Alcohol, Potato Starch Modified, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, PEG-8 Stearate, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Extract, Saccharum Officinarum (Sugar Cane) Extract, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Fruit Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Lactic Acid, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Extract, Symphytum Officinale Leaf Extract, Dimethicone, Cymbopogon Schoenanthus Oil, Santalum Album (Sandalwood) Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil, Salvia Sclarea (Clary) Oil, Lavandula Hybrida Oil, Amyris Balsamifera Bark Oil, Cedrus Atlantica (Cedarwood) Bark Oil, Pogostemon Cablin Oil, Cananga Odorata Flower Oil, Eucalyptus Globulus Leaf Oil, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Peel Oil, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Oil, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Water, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Hydroxide, Disodium EDTA, Limonene , Linalool, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin
THE ORDINARY LACTIC ACID 10% + HA 2% ingredients: Water, Lactic Acid, Glycerin, Pentylene Glycol, Potassium Citrate, Arginine, Triethanolamine, Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, Tasmannia Lanceolata Fruit/leaf Extract, Acacia Senegal Gum, Xanthan Gum, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, PPG-26-Buteth-26, Ethyl 2,2-Dimethylhydrocinnamal, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Ethylhexylglycerin, 1,2-Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol.
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