4 Body Lotions That'll Make You Toss Your Favorite Scrub

Exfoliating your body doesn't have to be an abrasive experience. Also, let's talk about urea!
Publish date:
October 23, 2013
exfoliation, body lotions, alpha-hydroxy acid, glycolic acid, urea, lactic acid, Avene, Environ, Glytone, Skinfo

Body scrubs are a precarious cycle of joyful anticipation, fleeting gratification, frustrating confusion, and predictable disappointment. I'm serious. Hear me out.

You look ever so forward to the experience, relishing the sensation of scooping up the mushy paste of granules and spreading it on your skin; but then you realize there's no way you're evenly exfoliating because the tiny particles can't be fully controlled with your unwieldy palms and fingertips--and are you even using enough to make a difference? You rinse the scrubbly bits away, and wonder if the smoothness you feel is fresh skin or an illusory ingredient that deposited a superficial film of temporary softness; you decide it's the latter when you see several pieces of stubble still embedded under the surface of your shin skin.

Blargh! Blargh, I say!

So, for now, I'm saying "I don't want no scrubs," and then I'm punching myself in the face for making such a stupid pun/reference.

Instead of mechanical exfoliation, I'm switching to chemical exfoliation. (Déjà vu?) No need for a full-body mask or anything extremely inconvenient-sounding like that; there are body lotions that exfoliate as they moisturize!


If you haven't heard of Environ yet, that's because you're American. (Me, too! Hi!) It's new to the US, having launched in South Africa 23 years ago.

Among the products now available in our hemisphere: Derma-Lac Lotion. The "lac" implies lactic acid, which falls under the alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) category. This helps gently exfoliate, with the help of urea.

OK, time out. Let me make something perfectly clear: urea is NOT urine. Is it found in urine? Absolutely. But so is potassium and water, so chill out, dudes. Urea on its own is a hydrating and lightly exfoliating compound.

Anyway, Derma-Lac Lotion is actually a clear, lightweight gel, so it's a great option for people who don't really dig creamy textures. (Are there people like that?) It's perfect for rough areas, like elbows and knees and those weird toe knuckle things.


Skinfo would like you to know that this lotion is "cosmetically elegant," but I think the fact that there's 15% glycolic acid in it is way more impressive.

Like lactic acid, glycolic acid is one of the most effective AHAs. A common ingredient in chemical peels, it can help reduce the appearance of scars--both discoloration and uneven texture--as well as generally soften skin.

It's also worth noting that AHAs, in addition to being awesome exfoliators, are natural hydrators. In Soft & Smooth Body Lotion in particular, it conditions skin with the help of vitamins A, C and E, which, additionally, protect skin from the evil, invisible skin-aging villains known as free radicals.

Oh, and it has urea, too. Have you started warming up to urea yet?


OK, it's getting serious. Glytone Retexturize Body Lotion has 17.5% glycolic acid, y'all. Spa and doctors-office glycolic treatments start at, like, 20%. That's really close!

This lotion is quite similar to Skinfo's, but with a simplified ingredient list. It, too, has conditioning, antioxidant vitamin E, but it's got fewer filler ingredients, like parabens.

If you've got those keratosis pilaris bumps on your arms, this is the lotion for you. They weren't kidding when they called this "retexturize."


Avène is known for their gentle-on-sensitive-skin products, so Akérat is truly the perfect body cream for anyone who's worried that the other moisturizers in this article will be too harsh on their overreactive skin.

One of the main differences: in addition to a smaller amount of lactic acid, it contains salicylic acid, a beta-hydroxy acid. You're probably familiar with it from all the times it helped slough away zits on your pretty face. There's just enough of it to help resurface your skin without getting it all angry.

Guess what else it has? UREA! Gimme a U! Gimme an R! Gimme an E! Gimme an A! What does that NOT spell? URINE!

Seriously, you guys, give urea a chance.

Have you used an exfoliating lotion? Are you as frustrated with body scrubs as I am?