How to Get Smooth Arms

How to Get Smooth Arms

The other evening, Alex and I went to a rooftop party. We hung out with friends under the stars and tried to spot the Empire State Building across the river. Someone ordered a pizza, a game of flip cup commenced, it was one of those breezy nights that just felt good.

Finally, around 11 p.m., as we left the party, I hugged friends goodbye. And I was struck by how my female friends, all in tank tops or summer dresses, had the smoothest arms. Silky, slippery. They felt so good! Meanwhile, mine were kind of rough and dry. Not terrible; definitely not great. More like your average guy.

Finally, on my third hug, I asked one woman what her secret was. “I slather myself in CeraVe after the shower.”

Another friend piped in: “I’m obsessed with Skin Trip Coconut Moisturizer. It smells like the beach.”

The next morning, I wrote to Gemma (of beauty uniform fame), who is my trusted advisor on all things beauty. “I use shower exfoliating gloves and then I use this,” she emailed back. “It absorbs really quickly. Everyone who touches my arm this summer is like ‘WHAT IS UP WITH YOUR ARM SKIN DUDE.’ ”

Done.

So, I’m curious: Do you have super smooth arms in the summer? I never cared before, but if it’s as easy as moisturizer, I’m definitely doing it. What do you use? I’d love to hear…

How to Get Smooth Arms

P.S. Saying goodbye at a party.

(Top photo by Allegra Villella. Bottom photo by Joseph Sterling, 1959-64.)

  1. Sarah says...

    I’m yet another person with Keratosis pilaris. The only time it ever went away fully for me was when I was on Accutane. Luckily, in college a friend introduced me to sugar scrubs. I now use a sugar scrub about once a week in the winter, once a month in the summer and I always apply a lotion as soon as I get out of the shower (another thing I learned in college). Has made all the difference in the world and you can’t tell I have KP.

  2. Lori says...

    I’ve had Keratosis Pilaris since I was a kid, which means I get little hard bumps on my upper arms (and rarely on my thighs) that are a result of blocked hair follicles. Unfortunately, there’s no cure for it. However, I also am a dedicated CeraVe fan (the big tubs at Costco are SO CHEAP!) and it’s helped a ton. It definitely hasn’t disappeared, but when I don’t step up my moisturizing game my upper arms become rough and much more noticeably red. Also, don’t exfoliate the bumps if you have them! Be gentle.

  3. Kathryn says...

    I am a bit late to the conversation, but since no one has mentioned it I love the Korean Spa for soft skin. They scrub you until you feel like there is nothing left to scrub, and then keep scrubbing. In between the scrubbing the throw buckets of water on you to wash away the amazing amount of dead skin that has been scrubbed off. It’s fun to do with a sister. Since going is a special treat, I use the spa mitts in the shower to keep me soft the rest of the time. http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B004C8DR1U/ref=mp_s_a_1_3?qid=1439870031&sr=8-3&pi=AC_SX200_QL40&keywords=korean+spa+mit&dpPl=1&dpID=51LD%2B2Oo1sL&ref=plSrch

  4. Emmanuella says...

    If you don’t like using body moisturizer (I’m just lazy sometimes), I recommend the weleda body wash called seabuckhorn. It comes in an orange tube and makes your skin so soft. Occasionally, I’ll use olive oil as a pre-shower moisturizer so the hot water doesn’t dry out my skin and that works like “whoa, mama!” :-)

    For people with red bumpy upper arms: a couple of my sisters are afflicted with this and have claimed that cutting down on sugar and bread really helps make the teeny bumps go away.

  5. jamie says...

    We have a filter on our shower head. It’s amazing the difference it makes on your skin and hair! Skin is your largest organ, it’s a good idea to filter out the toxins especially in city water. You’ll seriously feel amazing!

  6. Joyce says...

    New commenter but long time reader… I love your site!

    I’ve always gotten compliments on how soft my skin is, which I always found random when I was younger but appreciate now! The only regimen I’ve ever followed with any consistency is using exfoliating gloves and Dove sensitive skin body wash in the shower. And I moisturize every day… my favorites are Kiehl’s Creme de Corps, Fresh’s Fresh Life and this goat’s milk lotion from the farmer’s market that I mix with essential oils. I’ve found the last one to be the best! The goat’s milk is supposed to absorb and balance the pH of your skin and the essential oils keep working long after the lotion has faded, both for fragrance and smoothness.

  7. After my pregnancies I had a bad problem with my arms. I tried many things [sight]. Rubbing sugar in the shower in circules and putting Cetaphil (http://www.cetaphil.com/moisturizers/) 3 times a days, made the trick ;)

    Besos from Colombia my dear.

  8. I use Arbonne’s Shea butter body/hand wash plus a seasalt hand/body scrub with Lemon and corriander also from Arbonne my skin feels like silk and satin

  9. Sophie says...

    Have you tried Aleppo soap (olive and laurel oil hard soap) ? I shower every day with it and does wonders with dry skin and even eczema.

  10. As a kid I always used to notice that my aunt had dry spotty skin on her arms; it felt like such a pity as she is so beautiful & put together. I was secretly glad I didn’t have the same thing… and then I had a baby!
    I’ve been so lucky to have few undesirable changes/ after effects of pregnancy & labour – but bumpy upper arms is one of them :/ Time to invest in one of those mitts methinks. Thanks hormones.

  11. I used to have these little bumps on my upper arms but not anymore now that I use the Lavender Honey Sugar Scrub and Lavender Honey Body Butter by Be Skincare at beskincare.com. 100% natural, plant-based, toxin & cruelty free.

  12. Sheila says...

    When I saw your topic I knew I had to respond because I’ve had dry skin on my arms forever. Not anymore though! You wouldn’t believe it but there’s a great mitt that makes all the skin on my body extremely soft. It works wonders on KP too. It’s the MicrodermaMitt Body Mitt {https://www.isabellacatalog.com/p/microdermamitt-body-mitt}.
    It works great before shaving too and creams really just melt right in and make your skin silky smooth. I’ve had mine forever and swear by it. Between that and their amazing soap {https://www.isabellacatalog.com/p/milky-rich-facial-bar} I’m all set. Good luck!

  13. Aneliya says...

    I really love to put on my entire body raw cocoa butter when sitting on the beach. It melts really nicely. Sometimes I put it at the end of the day and sit in the sun just before sunset. The skin gets really smooth and nice. Besides that, it smells like chocolate ;)
    When at the seacoast in September/October, that is the only thing I use for moisturising and sunblock, including the face.
    At home it usually takes some time to melt between the hands, that is why I use it predominantly in the summer.

  14. Vi says...

    Coincidentally, I also swear by those two products! Winter incites some pretty aggressive keratosis pilaris on my upper arms, so I have a whole routine to combat it: Mario Badescu glycolic foaming cleanser for my body in the shower, standard Stridex pads wiped head to toe, then a mixture of CeraVe (from the tub), Amlactin, and Skin Trip all over. It sounds INSANE but I can’t even count how many comments I’ve gotten about how smooth my skin is (especially my butt???) so it’s worth it for me!

    • Aga says...

      Coconut oil scrubs are the best! I find it works best with coffee. And the combo smells delicious!

  15. Noreen Millen says...

    I’ve tried all kinds of products to treat my daughter’s bumpy, red arms which she was diagnosed as having Keratosis Pilaris…Retin-A, Eucerin, changing diets, Vaseline. We’ve started using Perfectly Posh’s Gender Bender Soap which is full of charcoal, shea butter & vitamins A & E. Then, we use a body butter called Fresh Creamy Milk – shea butter, aloe, milk thistle. It’s worked like magic when nothing else did! http://www.PerfectlyPosh.com/28168

    • Love Fresh Creamy Milk – the skindelicious, yeah? I use it on my feet, and it’s better than anything I’ve ever tried.

  16. lexi says...

    it’s genetic! and impacted by estrogen levels, too.

  17. I have never thought about this but have spent the past minute rubbing my arms to figure smoothness! They are pretty smooth, I think. lol! I do exfoliate often and use the same anti-aging cream on my body as I do on my face. Pricey, yep. But, a whole lot less pricey than lasers and surgeries later on in life! It has also helped reduce cellulite, a very welcome side effect!!

  18. Erin says...

    I have Keratosis Pilaris – red scaly, bumpy skin on my upper arms. I started using my Clarisonic on my arms after my face and it’s made such a difference!

    • Holly says...

      I absolutely loathe KP. Clarisonic wasn’t enough for me. I exfoliate really heavily (shower gloves w/ Kiehl’s soy honey scrub) and have found that applying cortisone ointment 2-3x a week immediately post shower really helps the appearance and texture.

  19. yael steren says...

    There are so many comments that I haven’t had the chance to read through them all so my apologies if I am repeating but Amlactin is an amazing product and super cheap! Here is a link to a post I wrote about it almost a year ago to the day! http://www.yaelsteren.com/friday-favorite-amlactin-body-lotion/ Another thing you can do is exfoliate! I love the products from Sabon because they smell delightful and work really well!!! xoxo yael

    http://www.yaelsteren.com/blog/

  20. I’ve never really thought that much about my arms before… but now I’m like oh no! I need to do this! Thanks for the tip :) I think in winter dead skin builds up so some exfoliant and moisturiser does the trick, as long as your skin doesn’t have special requirements. Gorgeous photos!

  21. I’m slightly obsessed with body butter and body lotion and use them all year round. My favourites are Soap and Glory, anything with coconut, and my most recent lotion is handmade in Cornwall with Cornish honey, so nice! Smooth skin all year round and good scents, win win!

  22. Arielle says...

    I have had Keratosis Pilaris my whole life and have always been self-conscious about it. I LOVE seeing all these different tips to smooth these bumps down- if one way doesn’t work, there’s a whole other list of things to try! Thank you!!
    I wish I could offer up some products that worked for me but sadly I don’t know of any yet. Hopefully that will change soon :)

  23. Aga says...

    Hot yoga, fresh vegetable juices, and an arsenal of natural oils and butters keep my skin rather smooth and healthy. But the only time I truly, really had smooth, radiant skin was when I was vegan and didn’t eat sugar and very little alcohol. Sigh.

  24. Betsey says...

    I have Keratosis pilaris, also…runs in my family. I use Dove exfoliating soap, run the bar on your arms/legs directly. So much better! If I lather with lotion after, keeps my arms and legs silky smooth. The Keratosis pilaris can cause severe red lumpy/bumpy upper arms, back of legs and I rarely have a red bump. Give it a try, cheap alternative!

  25. Stephanie says...

    I am a dermatology nurse practitioner, and I have keratosis pilaris (bumps on upper arms, thighs, sometimes cheeks). Keratosis pilaris is more of a skin type than a skin condition, and it is often associated with dry skin. It is often inherited, and it is not caused by a nutritional deficiency. Sometimes it improves over time, but there is no “cure” that completely resolves KP. We typically recommend showering with fragrance-free cleansers, such as Dove sensitive or Cetaphil and applying a thick cream-based emollient, such as Cetaphil cream or Vanicream after shower. Products with lactic acid, such as AmLactin can be slightly helpful to help with the bumpiness, but the redness may remain. Embrace the skin you’re in!

  26. Kristy says...

    Use an in-expensive natural scrub (I like Suisse brand) followed by an oil you can eat eg. almond, olive, sesame or coconut. I buy a spray can of the stuff from the cooking aisle, at the moment I am using sesame, and I apply on damp, warm skin. Magic!

    Also, finely milled oats/oatmeal works an absolute treat in your bath to soften up skin.

    • Abby says...

      I have been using grapeseed oil with a few drops of lemongrass essential oil as a body moisturizer for years. It’s cheap, smells great and makes my skin really smooth. It even seems to even out the color of my skin.

  27. rk says...

    so I had bumpy arms and asked my dermatologist about it, she said I have keratosis pilaris. She said follicles get blocked up and cause a bump. She recommended urea cream, I started using it and now my arms are bump free! I think you may need a prescription for it as she wrote one for me. I really bet that is what you have too, not everyone has bumpy arms.

  28. Laurel says...

    Have you tried dry brushing? It’s life changing! I live in Australia and have made it part of my daily routine here since its so dry. I use sweet almond oil to moisturize after.

  29. Sharon says...

    Amlactin is another great product for smooth skin. It has lactic acid in it that breaks down those bumps/clogged pores/random bumples (as I call them). I have psoriasis, and even though I rarely show any on my body (it’s my scalp!) my dermatologist suggested I use it during breakouts b/c it helps the medicine go deeper, too. Not cheap, but not awful and you can get it at the drugstore.

  30. Jime says...

    I use baby oil right after the shower, with the skin still wet. After the oil is absorbed (5 minutes), I use just any body lotion. Twice a week it does wonders with dry skin!!
    I also noticed softer skin when doing a treatment with ozone capsules… But way more expensive than baby oil!

  31. Aura says...

    Baden mitt! A couple times a week in the shower and you’ll be smooth as a baby! Find it on amazon.

  32. Ever since I started shaving my arms, I always get compliments about how soft and smooth they are. My arm hair is really light and fine, but I love the way they feel after running a razor up and down them (be careful at the elbows!). It’s a great exfoliator, too, so the little bumps I used to have on the backs of my upper arms are gone now.

  33. Emily says...

    I suffer from eczema and have very sensetive skin. I use unscented body wash (dove), use a wash cloth (light exfoliation) and once a week I do a scrub on my whole body (I like aveda smoothing body polish). I also moisturize with Cetaphil Cream. The one in the tub. I have used this religiously for YEARS. The trick is to apply moisturized within 3 minutes of getting out of the shower. I also get compliments on having soft skin!

  34. Melliebay says...

    I use the Sabon body scrub about twice a week from the neck down. Followed with a vitamin E lotion or baby oil gel. I get tons of compliments on my skin.

  35. Erin says...

    I also have bumps on my arms (also backs of thighs and sometimes cheeks). I was told by a DO recently that it is a form of excema. She said to check your soap for EDTA (found in most soaps, including a lot of natural products – there is a natural form). EDTA makes my excema much worse! I switched to Tom’s soap or Honest bars and my arms are much softer!

  36. Kim says...

    I have aloepecia aretha (sp) and so have no hair on my arms and legs. Also lost most of my facial hair…….the only thing I miss are my eyebrows which used to be awesome and full. Now they are barely there! Have to say that I don’t miss shaving or waxing!! And bonus is the smooth and silky feel.

  37. Yumi says...

    Dry brushing before taking a shower in the morning. It’s amazing!! I actually started doing it after reading one of your Beauty Uniform posts from Elizabeth of The Littlest! :)

  38. CD says...

    I had the little white bumps on my arms throughout my childhood and teenage years, and then when I went out on my own it went away! I came to the conclusion that it was because I was eating healthier on my own. Neither of my parents are big into vegetables, the “vegetable” at dinner was always raw carrot sticks or canned pineapple or something. I almost never had leafy greens or other “real” vegetables. When I was on my own I discovered I love vegetables, and as I said, I noticed that the bumps on my arms went away when I started eating more of them.

  39. I bought a dry brushing kit from a friend, birchrose.com. My skin feels so soft and it’s supposed to help your lymphatic system.

  40. JP says...

    Honestly asking- Is this a white people thing? All my white friends are always commenting on how smooth my arms are, but I’ve never had “bumpy” arms. I don’t do anything but the normal exfoliate and moisturize that I do everywhere else. Any other WOC experience this?

    • Sirena says...

      I know for some of us the bumpy skin is genetic!!! My sisters and I have all had it for years but theirs went away when they moved from the dry west coast climate to the Latin American tropics. A girlfriend who is Latina but of African heritage had the same situation but it went away when she went gluten free, go figure! I will try anything to make it go away :-)

    • Dee says...

      Nope, Im Asian and I have that bumpy arms thing and it appears on my front thighs also sometimes. I agree it’s hereditary because my daughter developed it too when she turned 10. Unscented Dove has helped a lot and so has Cetaphil cream. But it never really goes away completely, it just diminishes.

    • Definitely not. I’m Filipina and have the bumps, too.

  41. I also use CeraVe and it has radically changed my skin for the better. I’ve had Keratosis Pilaris on my legs and arms my entire life (it has an endearing nickname of “chicken skin”) and nothing I did to clear it up worked.

    I finally went to a dermatologist and he recommended CeraVe because of the cleansing acids in it. My skin has cleared up almost 100% and I actually started wearing shorts again this summer (I haven’t worn shorts in YEARS). It gave me a major confidence boost and I feel SO much more comfortable in my skin. I tend to stay away from recommending products, but this one really changed the life of my skin. It’s amazing!

    • Sirena says...

      Which CeraVe? I’ll try it :-)! I used amLactin which was good but not life changing :-)

  42. Jennifer says...

    use baby wash and then coconut oil right when you step out of the shower!!

  43. I really never think of my arms but now that I think about it and feel my arms it might be time to get an exfoliator mitt…xx

  44. I’ve struggled with keratosis pilaris and after many years of experimenting, the secret was revealed to me. Like others, Amlactin does wonders, but, it must be followed by another lotion, like cerave or eucerin, anything with some urea in it. That’s the secret. The amlactin is the acid that cleans out the pores and urea softens the bumps. It takes about 2 weeks of doing it every day until the bump’s finally abate, but it works! I exfoliate lightly just with a washcloth. Any more and those blasted bumps are even more red!

    • I also have KP and CeraVe totally cleared mine up. I couldn’t believe it! I finally started wearing shorts in the summer again :P

  45. margaux says...

    i love that there are already 88 comments about this! ha!

    i’ve always had bumps on the backs of my arms, but it got much worse in the months after i gave birth (oh, hormones!). cerave and amlactin have helped as does dry brushing. almost anything listed here probably does provided you’re consistent. i’m not consistent at much – besides flossing – so i’ll probably never have silky smooth arms, but i will have my teeth!

    • julie says...

      That’s so funny because the only time the backs of my arms were smooth was when I was pregnant and for a few months post partum!

    • Sirena says...

      My first pregnancy made the bumps go crazy and then it got worse post partum! I’m 36 weeks pregnant with my second and can see them getting worse but this time I’ll be ready with the amLactin and CeraVe combo as soon as I have the baby! Thanks to this post :-)))

  46. Samantha H. says...

    This summer i’ve started taking cold showers, which is a scary and exhilarating way to wake up. It’s made my skin feel so much softer and it shortens my shower time quite a bit (+1 for my ecological footprint). After my shower and recovery, I spread Everyone Lotion in Lavender over my entire body and i’m ready for the day. It smells and feels so nice — and it’s cheap!

    http://www.amazon.com/Everyone-Lotion-Lavender-Aloe-Ounce/dp/B0070TSNTY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1439327289&sr=8-1&keywords=everyone+lavender+lotion

  47. Samantha Riedford says...

    I dry brush before getting into the shower every day! I have the same “problem” with the back of my arms where theyre just not super smooth and I have found dry brushing to be the best thing for it! After 3-4 days of doing it consistently my arms are super smooth. Then I moisturize with coconut oil when I get out of the shower!

  48. I am someone who was certainly not blessed with beautiful smooth skin. I’ve always just accepted it but I might have to buy the gloves and try it out. Exfoliation totally makes sense- it’s changed my face complexion so logically it would work on my arms as well.

    Thanks for always posting interesting/real-life stuff!
    Katy
    http://www.alittledailyhappiness.com

  49. Felicia says...

    I’m always in awe of this too with all my girl friends. I moisturize my arms but feel weird about shaving/waxing them, so they’re never that smooth.

  50. Monica says...

    dry brushing a few days a week in an upward motion and coconut oil…smoot, smooth, smooth

  51. jennifer says...

    I used to have this but I cut out dairy (already didn’t eat meat) and stopped using anything that foamed in the shower and it went away. I only used shower oil now. My skin is way to sensitive to exfoliate… Interesting article :)

    • Marta says...

      The same happened to me – it went away when I stopped eating meat and dairy.

  52. This is the motivation I need to start using moisturizer on my arms! Thank you!

    Her Heartland Soul
    herheartlandsoul.com

  53. Caraline says...

    I use a scrub of coconut oil and sugar – it is perfect! But my real secret is…I shave my arms. I started when I was 16, my best friend was a swimmer and apparently it gives you quicker lap times in the water. Her arms were SO smooth and once I tried it I never went back. When I tell my friends they are so surprised! And I say, “Feel them!!” We shave our legs, why not our arms?

    • Ellen says...

      I do the same. But I don’t tell a soul ;)

  54. I use sweet almond oil from face to toe. I used to use coconut oil and then realized it’s too heavy for me. I’d sit down in a chair or lean my arm against something and it looked like a snail had slimed whatever I touched. Eeeeek! But almond oil absorbs quickly. And it’s pretty economical.

  55. Barbara says...

    I use the Microdermamitt found on amazon. No special scrubs or oils needed, just water. Then I swear by cetaphil body cream

  56. Leslie says...

    I use Mario Badescu A.H.A. Botanical Body Soap with exfoliating gloves. It got rid of all the bumps and makes my skin feel like glass.

  57. Amanda says...

    plain ‘ol coconut oil is what I use for moisturizer every time I shower, from head to toe.

  58. Caz says...

    I have keratosis pilaris on the backs of my arms and a little on my thighs. Not only are my arms not smooth, they’re also red and splotchy!
    I make a homemade exfoliator of coconut oil with either leftover coffee grinds or light brown sugar. Before showering I scrub myself down then rinse it all off in the shower and you’re left with a film of coconut oil to moisturize.
    I find the exfoliating and moisturizing helps – it never gets rid of it completely, but it helps.

    • SL says...

      I do not have this but I remember a UK beauty guru (actually two – Sali Hughes and Caroline Hirons) mention Clarins Renew Plus Body Serum on one of SH’s youtube videos (going through CH’s bathroom). I can’t deal with most scents from Clarins but a bunch of people chimed in on its efficacy! @cupofjo – your best bet is exfoliation (manual, like Fresh body scrub/or DIY or a body lotion with light acids and a nice oil (I like Almond, Avocado – not coconut for me, too heavy and can’t deal with the smell).

  59. Heather says...

    I exfoliate in the shower with a standard wash cloth, then slather myself down with almond or grapeseed oil afterwards. My skin feels like a baby’s skin!! The oil does wonders even if you don’t have time to exfoliate. Just apply right out of the shower. =)

  60. Jaime says...

    Guys, if you have bumps anywhere on your body nutritionally something is off. Your skin is talking to you.
    So with KP on your arms it’s most likely a deficiency in vitamin A. Add some good quality cod liver oil (I like Green Pastures Brand) to your diet and it will be fixed. Think inside out.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      so fascinating to read about the diet connection, with so many real-life comments to back it up. going to explore that!

    • Sirena says...

      I really like this approach! My skin is definitely talking to me and when the kp is acting up its not happy. Will try a vitamin a supplement!!

    • SL says...

      Agree. There are definitely external things to do, which work but need internal also. When I eat a lot of good fats (avocado, eggs. hemp seed, coconut oil, flax, ghee) and lots of water – skin is hydrated within. Evening primrose oil has helped with eczema and fish oil is an overall booster. I have also found eliminating food allergens changed my skin in general. Also oils for face and body (including in body wash, foaming stuff/sulphates ruined my skin)!

    • Roxana says...

      I completely agree with Jaime, but would take it a step further (or maybe in a slightly different direction). . . it’s “caused” by estrogen dominance and progesterone deficiency. Vitamin A will help correct that imbalance as will Vitamin D, both of which naturally occur in Green Pastures Fermented Cod Liver oil (as an aside: you want the fermented stuff, because the ratios of the two vitamins are “correct/natural” and your body is able to absorb/process the vitamins; as opposed to plain ‘ole cod liver oil). Be warned, the stuff STINKS and tastes bad, but I think the benefits make it worth it! My two kids (almost 2 and 4) take it mixed with cherry juice and maple syrup in a shot glass. Ha!

      Additionally, I have noticed that other women posted about cutting out meat and dairy and seeing their keratosis pilaris resolve. . . I’m speculating a bit, but that probably worked because they were likely eating conventional meat and dairy, which sadly, is teeming with hormones that function as estrogens thereby disrupting your natural hormonal levels. Cutting out the meat and dairy probably allowed their hormone levels to normalize a bit.

      Hope this helps! Sorry for the uber-long comment! :)

  61. i love neutrogena body oil. it absorbs well but leaves the prettiest sheen.

  62. lindanyc says...

    I’ve recently become (a bit) obsessed with the Baiden Mitt for exfoliating. Amazingly effective, if not a bit horrifying to see the skin being shed from my body. My skin has never been smoother. Highly recommend.

  63. Dry brushing helps. Also since I run during the summer and go to the beach a lot I think the salt and the sand help too. I definitely like moisturizing with oils when the weather is hotter, my favorite is the ginger gloss from Origins. It’s light and has the perfect energizing scent.

    http://www.candidcerebrations.com

  64. Urgh I am dreadful at moisturising, my whole body must be so damn thirsty. Every month I make it a whole new goal to do it every night before bed, and I remember once. D’oh! Will try again from tonight…

  65. Kerry says...

    Skin Trip is one of my favorite products in the world. It reminds me of vacation. Except my husband has claimed it as his own, so now it smells like husband. Which is a good thing.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      haha love that!

    • bisbee says...

      I’ve been using these for years and years – I buy them on EBay!

    • I love the salux cloth but I stopped buying them on amazon due to getting a couple of knockoffs there. I’ll only buy them direct from the manufacture http://www.saluxshop.com/main.sc. I always use the Cerave moisturizing cream as well.

  66. Talia says...

    I use exfoliating gloves in the shower as well and slather myself in lotion both day and night.

  67. I just started using Nubian Heritage Mango Butter on my elbows and it is absolutely amazing !

  68. Callie says...

    Paula’s Choice KP line, dry brushing, and coconut oil have worked wonders for me! On a completely different note… I have been so eager to know when you are going to post that bang tutorial of Courtney Adamo’s that was mentioned a while back on instagram?

  69. Julianna says...

    After I had a baby I developed those annoying red bumps like little zits. Nothing would work and I had to go to the doc and get some cream for folliculitus or something, overproduction of the oil in my hair follicles?

    Other than that, I use the exfoliating gloves in the shower and mix a little coconut oil into my aloe skin cream, for whole body.

    • Kate says...

      Oh my gosh- me too!!!!!!!! It was bizarre- I’ve never had skin problems on my arms, but after my son was born those bumps covered the backs of my arms like a rash :( I thought I had developed keratosis pilaris, and tried a bunch of products to get rid of them. Nothing worked except time. I’m afraid it’s going to happen for no. 2- did the cream work for you? It was just such a depressing thing to develop when I already felt less than attractive post-partum. Glad to know I wasn’t the only one out there! :)

    • Suzanne says...

      Yes! This happened to me after both pregnancies. A coconut oil and raw sugar scrub I had made definitely helped, but I always was taking such quick showers that I’d forget to apply it. But I could notice a difference when I did.

  70. Marion says...

    This perfect timing of this article made me chuckle! I just came back (read 20 minutes ago) from a traditional hammam and my skin has never been so soft! Basically you lather yourself with black african soap, let it soak it in in a sauna, rinse yourself and then you scrub yourself with a mit!

    You can see all the rolls of dead skin of your body! It’s oddly satisfying. I would recommend this to anyone! Bring a friend! Hammam are traditionally where middle eastern women hang out to chat! It’s great fun

  71. May says...

    Great post!
    I recently began use CeraVe. Love it!
    I have sensitive skin. My skin looks better since I’ve been using CeraVe than it has in ages. Bonus, I bought a large jar of it in a discount store at less than half the regular price. I didn’t know the name then, but after reading the label, I bought it.

  72. Julie says...

    As a kid, I had very dry skin and would put on lotion after every. single. shower because I couldn’t stand the way my skin felt if I didn’t. I continued the habit into adulthood and now I constantly get compliments on how soft my skin is (any time of year!) I have used many different types of moisturizers (Neutrogena oil, Jergens lotion) and now just use Whole Foods 365 brand in Mint. I also drink a LOT of water, which definitely helps. I occasionally exfoliate gently with a loufa in the shower.

  73. i think you posted about this before: i use a dry brush prior to my shower. it gets my blood flowing and flakes off the dry skin. in the shower sometimes i use a shower cloth but recently i switched over to exfoliating glove. soap is whatever was on sale at the store, currently it’s jergens. then immediately after shower i lotionize, again depending on what was on sale. currently it’s aveeno though once that is done i’m switching over to gold bond’s cus they have a minty solution that leaves the skin feeling tingly and fresh.

  74. Charli says...

    I just bought Glytone Retexturize lotion on Amazon and in about a week the arm bumps are gone! However, it is expensive and full of chemicals. I used to use Kiss My Face Vanilla Earth body lotion with 4% AHA and it worked like a charm but then they discontinued it and I’m not a huge fan of their peach scent that is also 4% AHA.

    My understanding of KP is that pretty much any lotion with AHA will help as long as you use it regularly.

  75. My not-so-secret-secret for smooth skin is dry skin brushing! Every woman should know about it, especially if they have had kids and need some help diminishing the appearance of stretch marks. I use my dry skin brush before I shower, and use almond oil or coconut oil to moisturize my skin when I get out.

  76. The softness and smoothness of your skin is so very much wrapped up in your genetics. I have freckly, blotchy-pink, Scottish skin (with dark and thick brown hair on my arms and legs — if I don’t shave that is!), and there is no amount of exfoliating or lotion or oils that will give me the soft, clear, peach-fuzz arm (or back) skin that many of my friends possess.

    Always love recommendations for skin care and possible ways to lessen the “problem areas,” but the truth is: there is only so much you can do.

  77. Evelyn says...

    Great post – will have to try exfoliating gloves. Also, AmLactin works wonders for KP.

    • Sarah Becker says...

      Amlactin is the bomb!

  78. Mallika says...

    Mix in a bit of baking soda with your body wash n scrub… N make sure to moisturize with oil or a lotion before you step out of the shower… Basically then of your shower, Pat yourself dry, don’t rub… Or just throw on a bath robe… Don’t step out of the bathroom try.. Now moisturize. NOW you make step out! Always moisturize while your body’s still warm n moist from a nice hot soothing shower!

  79. Laura Gallagher says...

    I’m using Dead Sea essentials this summer from Target – it is amazing and started improving my skin immediately. It has aloe plus minerals and a very light scent so that I can still wear my favorite cologne. Perfectly priced also!

  80. Nope. I have that keratosis pilaris chicken skin. I get it everywhere! arms legs, belly.

    Salicylic acid I think is the ticket. I use clobetasol prescription cream on my psoriasis elbows, hands, feet, and any spots. I use a salicylic acid soap in the shower with an exfoliator. Amlactin on the feet! So works (just expensive). CerVe with salicylic acid on the bod-not the face b/c it stings and I break out. Rosehip oil helps my face, which also gets the bumps.

    That’s my story!

  81. Teri says...

    WITCH HAZEL!!! Have tried every KP cure known to man, and stumbled upon my cure on accident. I just splash it into my hands and rub it on my arms. After about a week, no bumps, no redness.

  82. Maren says...

    My dermatologist told me that it’s a great misconception that people need to exfoliate, as this actually irritates the skin and can encourage regrowth of bumps and calluses. I used to exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate, and my upper arms were still bumpy and irritated. Now I moisturize instead of exfoliate (any gentle moisturizer works), and my arms are smoother than ever!

    • Sarah says...

      Yes! I thought the same thing after reading all these exfoliation comments. My KP has improved so much more after moisturizing rather than exfoliating.

  83. Sabrina says...

    I have keratosis pilaris and I’ve tried everything. For years I have been jealous of all those girls with smooth arms. I’ve learned to just deal with it, but not always happily. Maybe I’ll try some of these suggestions!

    • Sarah says...

      Dry brushing!!!!

      http://intothegloss.com/2014/05/how-to-dry-brush/

      I had a Keratosis pilaris on my upper arms when I was a teenager and it’s largely gone away, but I still have it a little and I’ve always been a little bit self-conscious of the skin being a little bumpy or of the bumps being visible. Anyway, dry brushing has eliminated it completely and makes all of my skin super smooth and silky. I’m not the most patient person for beauty things — I get super bored at pedicures despite the obvious benefits — so I was skeptical if I’d have the patience to dry brush before every shower, but it’s super fast, a minute, basically, and relaxing and totally worth it.

    • Teri says...

      Try witch hazel! It’s cheap and it works great as a toner if it doesn’t make your arms smooth it won’t go to waste. My arms look better than they ever have and it only took a week, splashing it on my arms liberally at night and letting it air dry.

  84. Mariah says...

    I use baking soda and body wash to exfoliate and then CeraVe Cream all over my body. Absorbs pretty quickly and is not slimy. I’ve tried olive oil, coconut oil, jojoba oil, but they don’t absorb as well.

    Quick question about exfoliating gloves, do you ever have to sanitize them? Getting dead skin on a glove and then rubbing it on my body seems a little unsanitary. I get that you are washing it off in the shower, but still seems like a bacteria feeding ground. Maybe I am just a weird germaphobe.

    • Mallika says...

      I love that I’m not the only person with baking soda in my bathroom! I use it for my face as well, which does wonders considering the humidity of my city!

  85. Winnie says...

    I use an exfoliating cloth (http://bit.ly/1TqfXZ7) and follow-up with Cerave as well. The first time I used it, I couldn’t believe how much smoother my skin was! I used to have little bit of bumps on the back of my arms which was keratosis pilaris and the lactic acid in AmLactin (http://bit.ly/1JSOVsK) helped it.

  86. Cinthya says...

    Yes TO Carrots body shower gel – it leaves skin super soft. Not a completely-“green” product, but non-toxic enough.

  87. Roxana says...

    Like someone else noted, I dry brush. It is energizing, stimulates your lymph system and, of course, it exfoliates your skin. THEN, I use coconut oil. Unrefined, cold pressed coconut oil. You can get a pretty decent jar at Trader Joe’s. I’ve read that your skin absorbs about 60% of what you put on it. Coconut oil not only moisturizes (and has that beachy scent), but as a dietary fat it is so good for you! I also add a few drops of essential oil; usually lavender or grapefruit.

    That said, some people just have great skin. My friend Grace has the softest skin on the planet. Doesn’t matter what she uses!

  88. Katie says...

    I second the dry brush before showering, it is so great – exfoliating and feels like it stimulates the skin or something. This summer, I have been exfoliating/moisturizing my arms and legs by mixing together plain white sugar and olive oil in a little bowl, which I take into the shower with me and use right before I wash my body. I use body wash on my legs to make sure I get most of the oil off, but I actually usually just rinse the backs of my arms with water, and therefore they get super moisturized from the oil. (I mostly only wash more of it off my legs because it clogs up my razor…before I realized that I was shaving with my legs still really oily, and it was THE SILKIEST shave ever! If I could figure out a way to effectively clean the razor between uses, I would always shave my legs with olive oil!)

  89. meredith says...

    Curious if their arms were shaved as well. I’ve been noticing this on a friend or two and some women I work with this summer. It looks strange to me so i don’t ask them about it. Is this a thing?

    • I have shaved my arms since I was in middle school, so yes — it’s definitely a thing. HOWEVER, I have pale, kinda blotchy skin with a lot of freckles (thanks, Scottish genes!) and dark, thick brown arm hair. Also, I’m big-boned and far from being skinny, so the combination of less than satisfactory arm features led me to rid myself of just ONE MORE THING that made my arms look bigger and blotchier.

      A lot of dark-haired, freckled girls I have met shave their arms, I think for the same reasons. But I do think it’s odd when a slender girl with clear skin and light hair shaves her arms… it’s like, WHY?

      So yes, I would say that unless one of these girls you know who shaves her arms is one of your really good friends, don’t say anything. Truthfully, I’m self-conscious about my arms in general and hate drawing attention to them, so these girls you know may be in the same boat and feel that shaving the hair is the lesser of two “evils,” so to speak. I’d love to not feel like I have to shave mine, so I definitely don’t like when people point it out.

    • Meghan says...

      I was also going to ask about shaved arms. The other day on a boat, I was admiring the arm tattoos of two women and noticed they had shaved arms.

    • LOR says...

      I wax my arms about once or twice a summer or before special events. My arms are SO smooth/silky afterwards, it feels wonderful. FYI, I’m Hispanic and very hairy!

    • Jill c says...

      I have been shaving my arms since my early teens bc I was made fun of a lot. I am fair but have really dark and strangely long arm hair. I actually hate shaving but hate the arm hair more on me. I hope to eventually laser it off…

  90. Rosie says...

    I love AmLactin, especially for the bumps on my arm caused by Keratosis Pilaris. All three dermatologists I’ve seen recommend it for that purpose. I’ve always had dry sensitive skin and can remember my legs cracking mildly in elementary school. I didn’t realize how sensitive it was a long time and flitted from (fragranced) lotion to lotion. No more! Now, I’m loyal to AmLactin (with the occasional mix-in of Vanicream) and my skin is softer and more comfortable.

  91. Clare says...

    I also use exfoliating gloves, and my derm just gave me a generic salicylic acid lotion for the bumps on your back and arms – keratosis pilaris. I have gotten so many compliments since using it, and since a huge bottle is only $10 I will make it a staple! Highly recommend.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh wow, that’s interesting! now i’m curious…

  92. Rebecca says...

    Hi Jo,
    I saw that someone else mentioned keratosis pilaris… apparently, it affects roughly (no pun intended..) 3 Million in the US each year?! I am one such sufferer… I’ve spent most of my teenage and adult life thinking about my bumpy arm skin! I used to exfoliate, use all sorts of oils, and have even put make up on the backs of my arms!
    I feel like I’ve tried every product out there, but the one I’ve had continuous, real results with is Paula’s Choice… they have a line just for “KP” called Resist. I alternate using the 2% BHA and the 10% AHA lotions daily, and truly- the redness and bumps have all but disappeared!
    Also a big fan of dry brushing… the internet does NOT lie about that one! :)

  93. CeraVe is good, and Skin Trip is supposed to be awesome. I use Alba Botanica Body Lotion. It’s well-priced, with no parabens or phthalates.

  94. Rose says...

    This post made me feel insecure about my bumpy, hairy arms, when I’d never really been bothered by them before. Whatever, I don’t need to spend money and effort to change ’em—they’re all-natural there’s nothing wrong with that. I have more important things to worry about!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh i’m so sorry! i didn’t mean to make anyone feel self-conscious. i lived 36 years without caring at all. :) it just felt weirdly good to feel all these slippery arms so I thought it would be fun to try out. but yes, don’t worry about them for sure!

    • Hear, hear! Although I can’t say I have been blessed enough to NOT worry/stress about my blotchy, freckly, unsightly skin before reading this post (and comments), I definitely think it’s misguided to approach a complex topic like “women’s skin” in such a way that suggests attaining smooth skin is as simple as buying and using a specific beauty product. As I mentioned in a previous comment on this thread, genetics play a huge role, so it only makes me more self-conscious to hear that my not smooth or clear arm skin is another thing I have to worry about people judging.

  95. Erin says...

    I’ve already stolen Gemma’s tip about the exfoliating gloves and I love them!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      she is a genius with this stuff. :)

  96. jill c. says...

    i almost always use some sort of oil right after I shower (organic almond oil mostly). However, sometimes the oil takes too long to absorb into my skin so recently I started using Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse dry oil and I am now obsessed b/c it dries right away and the smell of it is AMAZING! I put it on even when i don’t really need to b/c i love the smell so much (and i’m not one who can handle a lot scents). You have to try it! A bit pricey but so worth it and a little goes a long way.

  97. Sam says...

    I just use a loofah in shower and moisturize with Jergens afterwards. I’d like to think I have pretty smooth arms (and legs!).

  98. I just learned this too!! Exfoliating is the secret! Not only does it make your skin super smooth, but taking off the dead skin allows moisturizer of any kind to absorb into your skin better. I had little red dots all over and asked a doctor friend and my waxer about it and both told me to exfoliate (and looked at me like I’m crazy for not doing it already haha). I got a Bliss brand sugar from TJMaxx and I’m in love!!!

  99. Fiona says...

    I would never have thought about worrying whether the skin on my arms is smooth and soft enough. Can’t think of when I last felt someone else’s arms (who wasn’t my husband). *shrug*

    • S says...

      I never thought about it either until another woman revealed that her biggest insecurity about her body as a teen was her bumpy arm skin. I thought, man, if that’s your biggest insecurity you have it pretty freakin’ good. I have way too many other ones to even get that far down on my list, haha.

  100. I have naturally bumpy arms too, but they’ve gotten so much better. I use a natural bath mitt (I think mine is made of hemp? So much prettier than plasticky pastel gloves) to scrub with Dr. Bronners, follow up with almond oil while my skin is still wet (I keep a pump bottle in the shower), and then towel off the excess.

  101. Julie says...

    DRY BRUSH!!! It feels so good and your whole body will that you. It energizes you, gets your lymphatic system moving, and no one can believe how soft and smooth my skin is.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i’ve heard so much about dry brushing recently. i’m going to google it (or just ask gemma haha).

  102. Megan says...

    St. Ives Apricot Scrub. I use it on arms and legs, then follow up with a good moisturizer. Or you could make your own sugar/oil scrub. Easy and cheap.

  103. awg says...

    I’m kind of obsessed with dry brushing. It feels so good, gets your circulation moving, and exfoliates everything. I follow with a nice warm shower and smooth on some body oil afterward. Works like a charm!

  104. Cat says...

    Pur organic oconut oil! If it’s good enough to eat, it’s good enough to put on my skin! Also, I’ve heard it’s a natural spf so it’s even better in my books.

  105. I was just complaining to my husband about how un-smooth the backs of my arms are (just those little bumps!) and he looked at me like I was crazy. So, thanks for this post and reaffirming that women DO think about these things, ha! Totally need to get some exfoliating gloves. Also YuBe is amazing stuff, though I’ve never splurged on it, I’ve tried it out a bunch.

    • Mary Jenkins says...

      Rough arms are the bane of my existence! Going to try Gemma’s tip stat.

  106. z says...

    Do you have keratosis pilaris? If so, you’ll need more than just a moisturizer.

    • Mia says...

      i have kp! what do you use for it? i’ve had it all my life and have just started using straight up organic coconut oil and have noticed some modest results. i’d love to find something that really works!

    • Blythe says...

      Yes – I have keratosis pilaris and dry brushing made it much worse. Switching to black soap for body wash and aloe vera-based moisturizer has helped a lot.

    • Rosie says...

      Mia, try AmLactin! Wear sunscreen when you use it because it makes your skin more sensitive to sunburns. Also, limit your hot showers, avoid rough exfoliators, and pat your skin dry instead of rubbing it with a towel.

    • mia says...

      thanks! i’ll look into black soap and amlactin. people that don’t have kp are always telling me that I should just get a good exfoliating brush to basically just scrub the bumps off….which would be incredibly painful and do nothing to really treat the problem!

  107. Mersey says...

    Johnson’s Baby Oil! I get compliments on how soft my skin feels all the time when I use this :)

  108. Amy says...

    I always moisturize my entire body, not just arms, after every single shower. My skin is very easily dried out and I tend to get eczema patches if I’m not careful, so unscented body lotion is my staple. My lotion isn’t fancy- just unscented body lotion from Cetaphil. I go through so much that I can’t spend a lot on expensive stuff, but this does the trick.