I have never had smooth skin. Even in my preschool memories I can recall that my knees and elbows were riddled with what I, to this day, call “rough and bumpies.” I now know that those bumps were the calling card of keratosis pilaris (KP), a common skin condition in which dry and rough skin-colored bumps appear on different areas of the body (most frequently the upper arms and thighs). In fact, KP can look like pimples or even a rash, but it’s actually the result of dead skin cells plugging up your hair follicles.
KP is totally harmless, but it can be annoying (especially when your live-in significant other describes your KP-afflicted knees as “prickly, but in a cute way”). Almost equally annoying is the very wide array of products one can try to reduce their rough and bumpies. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends establishing a consistent exfoliating and moisturizing routine in order to remove built-up dead skin cells and keep the skin hydrated and soft. But that fails to take into account just how many different kinds of exfoliators and moisturizers there are.
Over the years, I’ve given several so-called holy grail treatments for KP a shot, from sugary scrubs to creams laced with chemical exfoliators (which are often marketed directly to people dealing with KP) to slathering my legs in lotion then encasing them in plastic wrap. None of them did the trick. On a recommendation from my sister, I decided to try Salux’s Beauty Skin Cloth ($14, Amazon), a nylon-polyester sheet about the size of a hand towel, made in Japan.
I opted for the Salux exfoliating washcloth over, say, a loofah because it was supposedly the coarser option—and at that point I was convinced that nothing short of steel wool would effectively break down my KP. Plus, sold in a pack of three for less than $15 and in various shades of Easter egg pastels, Salux offered a price point and cute factor that I could happily get behind.
Within moments of lathering some body wash onto my Salux cloth and lightly scrubbing my elbows with it, I knew I’d finally, blessedly, found my very own KP holy grail. Not only did the cloth smooth out my rough patches (it is, indeed, coarser than a loofah), it did so without irritating or leaving any redness behind on my extremely sensitive skin. Through some kind of exfoliating alchemy, it can slough away my KP but remains gentle enough to use on nonaffected areas like my back and shoulders. While some Salux devotees only use theirs occasionally, mine has completely replaced my regular old washcloth—it makes my skin feel soft, smooth, and wonderfully clean, even after a sweaty workout. Reenacting the bathing scene from Gattaca has never felt so luxurious.
Although Salux cloths are machine washable and will last longer than your average bath sponge, they still wear out over time. I’m on my fifth or sixth replacement and have no plans on trying something else. That said, I’ve recently discovered that Salux sells a thicker “super hard” version of their original cloth—and for that, I might be willing to stray.Salux Beauty Skin ClothThese Japanese cloths come in a variety of colors and are famously effective at physically exfoliating skin. They come in a pack of three.$14 at Amazon