Body washes have been all the rage in the past couple years as they have been replacing traditional soaps. Something about lathering up some liquid soap on a loofah after a long day feels downright therapeutic. It’s relieving to know that there are body washes that are suited to each skin type and they are a good starting point when caring for your skin. If you happen to be struggling with troubled skin that is dry, flaky, red, rough, and acne-prone, consider alpha hydroxy acids, or AHA body washes.
Generally suitable for all skin types, AHAs are powerful ingredients that contain a range of active, natural acids such as glycolic, lactic, malic, and mandelic. Each has its own distinct feature, but actively work towards gently exfoliating your skin and getting rid of impurities by deeply penetrating it. This way, there’s no more dead skin or clogged pores and you can say goodbye to acne, ingrown hairs, excess oil, blackheads, and rough patches. Conditions like keratosis pilaris can be easily cared for by choosing an AHA body wash as some target this issue specifically. Read our list of the 10 best AHA body washes and choose the right one for healthy skin.
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Treat Distressed Skin With The 10 Best AHA Body Washes
Mario Badescu’s AHA body wash is infused with rejuvenating grapefruit and will leave your skin feeling refreshed. It also contains an enriching blend of ginseng to revitalize, enzymes to exfoliate, and linden for antioxidant benefits to bring your dull skin back to life. If you struggle with dry, oily, dull, or even troubled skin with blemishes or acne, you will do well to pick this body wash containing AHAs. For a soothing effect, you will also find oatmeal enriched with oat protein in this AHA exfoliating body wash that is kind to sensitive skin.
- Suitable for dry and oily skin and uneven skin tone
- Soothing for sensitive skin
- Controls body acne and blemishes
- Contains skin-friendly extracts
- Gives a refreshing feel
- Gently exfoliates skin to remove dead cells
- Some may find it slightly watery
The best combination of nutrients with anti-aging ingredients can be found in this exfoliating body wash with AHA. Alpha Skin Care’s AHA of choice is glycolic acid found in sugar cane and it targets hyperpigmentation, acne, dryness, and aging skin. It also contains vitamin E for increased blood circulation, aloe vera for moisture, and a pH level of 4.5. This body wash with AHA discards dead skin cells and boosts collagen production to make skin plump and youthful-looking. Use it on wet skin at the end of a long, tiring day, and you’ll be left feeling moisturized and rejuvenated with this alpha-hydroxy body wash.
- Contains anti-aging ingredients
- pH 4.5
- Boosts collagen
- Moisturizes skin
- Reduces appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
- Treats acne
- Might need a lot of product to lather up
If you struggle with keratosis pilaris, which gives you bumpy skin and acne, TOUCH’s got the best AHA cleanser in store for you. Formulated with 15% of the chemical exfoliant glycolic acid, say goodbye to discoloration, acne, and dryness, along with 2% salicylic acid, which exfoliates dead skin to make way for new skin cells. This foaming alpha hydroxy acid body wash cleanses and moisturizes skin for a refreshed feel. For some antioxidant action in this AHA body wash for KP, vitamin E takes the lead and aloe vera finishes up with a soothing effect and prevents moisture loss from the skin. Patch test first, and then hop in the shower with this body wash with glycolic acid, and don’t forget to lather on some lotion after!
- Made with clean ingredients
- Alcohol-free and paraben-free
- Sulfate-free and phthalate-free
- Might have a strong odor
ReTone’s glycolic acid exfoliating body wash cleanses away dead skin and rejuvenates it to make it healthy. It works to combat skin issues such as rough and bumpy skin, redness along with irritation and dryness by improving the texture and firmness of your skin barrier. One of the best body washes with glycolic acid, ReTone’s cleanser fades wrinkles, body breakouts, dark spots and stretch marks for smooth and supple skin.
- Free of parabens, retinoid, and phthalates
- Strengthens skin barrier
- Pleasant smell
- Reduces signs of aging
- Contains sulfates
To retain your skin’s natural moisture, pick Mederma AG’s AHA body wash. This AHA glycolic body wash gently exfoliates skin to renew its top layer and also balances the overall pH level of the body. Mederma AG’s Body Cleanser amply moisturizes the skin to make it soft and supple, making it strong to keep free radicals and pollutants at bay. If you’ve been fearing trying out a new body wash due to irritation, fret not, as this one is sensitive to your skin condition.
- Contains fragrance
For relief from skin inflammation and keratosis pilaris symptoms like redness, dryness, rough and bumpy skin, Keratone’s 10% glycolic acid deeply penetrates the skin to soothe skin over time. With a host of skin-nourishing organic ingredients like apricot, jojoba, almond, aloe, gotu kola along with vitamin E, your skin is going to feel refreshed amply. Formulated without any harsh chemicals, this Keratone organic AHA body wash will give your skin new life.
- Ideal for dry skin and keratosis pilaris
- Made without petroleum, synthetic fragrances, glycols, and phthalates
- Contains organic hydrating oils
- Deep exfoliating properties
- Contains sulfates
This AHA BHA body wash by KarmaCeuticles is perfect for people with combination and oily skin. It deeply penetrates into the skin with the exfoliating properties of the AHA glycolic acid, which increases collagen production and skin cell turnover. Another star AHA, lactic acid, moisturizes skin and evens out texture, whereas salicylic acid, the BHA, battles acne, and soothes inflammation. For ample skin nourishment, this drugstore AHA body wash also contains jojoba beads that revitalize dead skin. All these star ingredients combine to make troubled skin calm and strengthen its barrier to fight off free radicals. We think this is the best AHA/BHA cleanser as you can use it even twice a day due to its gentle nature..
- Clarifies oily and combination skin
- Double the exfoliation with AHA and BHA
- Moisturizes skin
- Has a soothing effect
- Gentle formula
- May cause purging the first few uses
Effectively sloughing away dry and dead skin, this affordable AHA body wash by Luxiny helps treat keratosis pilaris. The glycolic acid present in it deeply exfoliates skin and cleanses dirt and oils. You’ll notice a reduction in cystic acne, ingrown hairs, and blackheads. The Glycolic Acid Cleanser also fades acne blemishes and bumps to give you even-textured, firm skin. With the power of seaweed extract, your skin is going to plump up with all the fine lines and age spots on your facel becoming a disappearing act. All of this is achieved with the infusion of ingredients that your skin loves such as cucumber and loquat extracts, and a blend of nourishing oils like tea tree, rose hip, and jojoba. Notice a reduction in swelling, inflamed skin, and signs of aging, with regular use of this natural AHA body wash.
- Contains anti-aging benefits
- Free from parabens, sulfates, GMOs, palm oil
- May have a watery consistency
From K-beauty’s most loved brand comes this strong AHA body wash with natural and medicinal ingredients. Owing to the low pH feature, this tea tree-scented cleanser adjusts to suit your skin and protects its moisture barrier. The natural surfactant cleanses the body gently without irritating or drying it out too much. Chinese skullcap and sea buckthorn extracts brighten up skin tone, giving it a healthy glow post exfoliation. With the power of a whopping 5 types of hyaluronic acid and ceramides, your skin will load up on moisture, whereas extracts of green tea, gotu kola, and Japanese honeysuckle provide relaxing benefits.
- Gently exfoliates skin
- Suited to sensitive and dry skin
- Lends a healthy glow
- Contains botanical ingredients
- Contains skin-soothing medicinal extracts
- Non-irritating and non-drying
- May not lather well
This high-quality BHA salicylic acid cleanser clears out excess sebum and dead skin to purge skin of acne-causing bacteria. If you’ve been dealing with annoying body acne lately, make sure to give this salicylic acid body wash a try. There’s also eucalyptus that is rich in tannin and provides pore care while also controlling oil production. Truecica (filled with mugwort, centella asiatica, and tea tree), and chameleon plant extracts help tone down inflammation and irritation while strengthening the skin barrier.
- Contains AHA, BHA, PHA for deep cleansing
- Controls oil and sebum to eliminate acne
- Contains calming ingredients
- Strengthens skin barrier
- Free of alcohol, parabens, sulfates, silicone
- Made without mineral oils, animal products, artificial colors or fragrances
- May be a little too strong for some people
Now that we’ve looked at the best AHA body washes on the market, let’s get into how you can pick the right one before you add it to your cart!
How To Choose The Right AHA Body Wash
AHAs are generally marketed as being suitable for all skin types, but you need to take precautions if you have extremely dry or sensitive skin. Dry skin which is typically rough, flaky, and irritated can use glycolic or lactic acid with concentrations ranging between 5-10%. This helps exfoliate the dry, dead skin on the skin surface to make your skin texture smoother, and make the barrier better able to absorb topical skincare products. Along with this, also look for supporting ingredients like shea and cocoa butters, and aloe vera which help moisturize and smooth down rough, dry skin.
While glycolic acid also gently helps exfoliate oily, acne-prone skin, mandelic acid is a better AHA for this skin type. It reduces oil and sebum production to clean congested pores and doesn’t dry out the skin. If you have combination skin, you can use almost any AHA as they help clear out pores, and help with dry patches. Milder AHAs like lactic and mandelic acids can help care for sensitive skin types without causing irritation.
If aging skin is your concern, body washes formulated with malic, glycolic, or mandelic will suit mature skin better. All skin types, especially sensitive, should avoid products that contain fragrance as it can easily irritate and inflame skin. Other chemicals like sulfates, parabens, mineral oils, petrolatum, SLS, and GMOs must also be steered clear of.
How To Use An AHA Body Wash
- Step 1: Wet a soft loofah or sponge, and make sure its surface is not harsh as this can irritate the skin surface.
- Step 2: Pour some of your AHA body wash of choice and work up a lather.
- Step 3: Lightly scrub all over the body, covering hard-to-reach areas like your back.
- Step 4: Rinse off with warm water.
- Step 5: Gently dry yourself off with a towel without rubbing too hard.
- Step 6: Generously apply a thick moisturizer suited to your skin type.
When you’re starting out with AHAs, incorporate them gradually into your routine by using them once a week. If your skin doesn’t react harshly, build this up to 2 or 3 times a week.
Alpha hydroxy acids or AHAs are a great natural ingredient that can help all kinds of skin conditions. If you struggle with congested, dry, acne-prone, rough skin, or even keratosis pilaris, AHAs are super effective in gently caring for these issues with ease. Investing in an AHA body wash will slough off dead skin and make way for renewed skin to come to the surface. This also helps your skin to be able to better absorb serums and lotions that you grace your skin with. As there are quite a few AHAs to choose from, our list shed some light on the most common ones found in some of the best AHA body washes. For a strong and healthy skin barrier, choose a gentle AHA body wash.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does AHA do for skin?
Alpha hydroxy acids are soluble in water and they exfoliate skin to get rid of surface dead cells, and allow newer skin to come through. They also help in fading hyperpigmentation and control acne.
Can I use AHA body wash everyday?
Some AHA body washes are gentle enough to be used everyday but if you’re a beginner to actives, it’s best to take it slow. Begin by using the product once a week and if your skin responds well, slowly build it up to a level that can be tolerated.
How often should I use AHA body wash?
AHAs are active acids that can cause a skin reaction like irritation if you’re new to them, so use them once or twice a week in the beginning, and then increase the usage.
Do AHAs cause hyperpigmentation?
Even though AHAs target hyperpigmentation, they can cause some tears in the skin as they exfoliate it. This may lead to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. It is best to use AHA body washes sparingly, a few times a week for this reason.