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Salicylic acid is a star ingredient in the skincare world, well known for its ability to help manage skin prone to mild acne. However, it’s also important to know about another property of salicylic acid : its benefits for rough, bumpy and textured skin. This skin concern can be caused by a variety of factors and conditions, but no matter whether it’s on the face or the body, bumpy skin can be helped by using skincare products containing salicylic acid.

For those looking to improve their skin texture or achieve smoother looking and feeling skin, this guide to salicylic acid exfoliation for rough, bumpy, textured skin will teach you everything you need to know about using this beneficial ingredient. We’ll walk through what salicylic acid is, how it works, and answer common questions like ‘is salicylic acid a good exfoliator?’.

What causes rough, bumpy, textured skin?

The causes of rough and bumpy skin are varied, but there are some factors such as skin type and skin conditions that are often correlated with rough, bumpy skin on the face and body.

Those with a dry skin type are more likely to experience uneven skin texture, because a lack of moisture in the skin’s outer layers is associated with roughness. Dryness can also cause flaking, which further contributes to roughness. Read our skin types guide if you’re wondering what skin type do I have?’, to help determine whether you have dry skin.

In terms of skin conditions, keratosis pilaris is a common condition that can cause bumpy skin on arms and body. Keratosis pilaris is caused by an excess build-up of keratin, a protein found in the skin and nails.

What is salicylic acid exfoliation?

We know salicylic acid is a prominent skincare ingredient, but what actually is it and how exactly can it help rough and bumpy skin? One of the first questions people tend to ask about this ingredient is often ‘is salicylic acid a chemical exfoliant?’. The answer is yes, but what are chemical exfoliants? Put simply, chemical exfoliants are ingredients that remove dead skin cells by unbinding them in a chemical process, rather than with physical force (as physical exfoliants or scrubs do).

There are two main types of chemical exfoliants: alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs). Salicylic acid falls into the latter category. As a BHA, salicylic acid works to remove dead skin cells and unclog pores, which can result in smoother skin for those with rough and bumpy skin.

How does salicylic acid exfoliate?

Now you know that the answer to ‘is salicylic acid an exfoliant?’ is yes, let’s explore how the chemical exfoliation process works. The outermost layer of skin is called the stratum corneum, which is made up of skin cells that link to form the skin’s moisture barrier. This barrier helps keep moisture in the skin.

The skin’s natural cycle typically consists of dead skin cells being shed and new skin cells rising up to take their place. Salicylic acid helps to stimulate this natural cycle by encouraging the dead skin cells to slough away faster. It does this by disrupting the bonds between skin cells to help remove the dead skin. That’s why using chemical exfoliants like salicylic acid is a key part of how to smooth and improve skin texture.

Introducing the CeraVe salicylic acid range

CeraVe has created a range of expertly formulated products enriched with salicylic acid for rough and bumpy skin. Each of these products is designed to help smooth skin texture for rough and bumpy skin, without disrupting the skin’s protective moisture barrier.

CeraVe SA Smoothing Cleanser

Start off your skincare routine by targeting rough skin texture with a facial cleanser formulated with salicylic acid. Since our CeraVe SA Smoothing Cleanser contains three essential ceramides alongside salicylic acid, rough, bumpy skin is targeted while simultaneously supporting skin hydration.

This gentle salicylic acid face wash can also be used on bumpy, textured skin on the body.

CeraVe SA Smoothing Cream

Help manage rough, bumpy skin even as you moisturise with our CeraVe SA Smoothing Cream. This moisturiser contains salicylic acid and lactic acid for chemical exfoliation, as well as urea and hyaluronic acid to help hydrate the skin.

This cream is recommended for use primarily on the body.

CeraVe Renewing SA Foot Cream

Bumpy textured skin is especially common on the feet. That’s why we created our CeraVe Renewing SA Foot Cream specifically to help manage rough, textured skin in this area.

Apply liberally to the feet as needed to minimise roughness and promote smoothness on the soles of the feet, while also boosting moisture.

Found this guide useful? You can also use our find my skincare solution tool to identify products that best suit your skincare needs.

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