One thing that’s been with me since childhood (aside from a love of John Stamos and horror movies and is decidedly less fun than the two) is bumpy upper arms, known by its government name, keratosis pilaris. According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, keratosis pilaris, or KP for short, is a skin condition where tiny bumps that resemble goosebumps appear on the skin. Oftentimes these rough little bumps are on the upper arms, like in my case, but can also appear on the thighs, butt, or cheeks. The “chicken skin” condition is harmless but fairly common, affecting 50% to 80%of adolescents and approximately 40% of adults.
Though it was never something that bothered me too much as a kid (any skin-related agony I suffered during adolescence was reserved for facial acne and the dreaded cold sores I somehow always got on school Picture Day), if there was a way for me to finally get smooth upper arms, I wasn’t going to turn it down. Therefore, Peach & Lily’s new KP Bump Boss Microderm Body Scrub($28)had me intrigued from the get-go. The body scrub is the first body product from the K-beauty brand (whose Glass Skin Refining Serum ($39) is a beloved product for those in the skincare community) and specifically targets keratosis pilaris if you couldn’t tell from its moniker.
Because KP is actually the result of dead skin cells sticking around, clogging, and plugging up our pores, it makes sense that exfoliation would be the best way to manage it. While there have been other products that treat and target KP, this one stood out to me because it was inspired by Korean spas. If you’ve ever had the privilege of going to one and getting your entire body scrubbed from head to toe until all of the dirt, gunk, dead skin cells, and everything else (life regrets, past mistakes, etc.) are basically erased, then you’d probably run straight to this scrub, too.
Peach & Lily founder and CEO Alicia Yoongrew up loving the Korean spa experience because it gave her “unparalleled smoothness” when it came to her own keratosis pilaris bumps and flakey eczema skin. “The iconic part of the spa ritual is the body scrub treatment called ‘se-shin’ but it’s really the total experience that delivered incredible results for me,” Yoon explains. “This includes soaking in soothing waters infused with things like mugwort, and then steaming in the wet sauna, then having the ‘se-shin’ treatment where I’d always ask to have both the physical exfoliation (the gentle version!) and chemical exfoliation with milk or yogurt.” This ritual, she says, is followed by the application of fresh, soothing cucumbers, a lightweight body oil, and all the humidity in the bathhouse sealed in with a body lotion. The result of the entire experience is walking out “smooth as a dolphin,” which is exactly what she set out to replicate with the Body Bump scrub.
After 300 (!) formula iterations cooked up and tested for over two years, the KP Bump Boss finally came to be. Since exfoliation is the key element to tackling the bumps, they included both chemical and physical exfoliants: 10% AHA and PHA, and eco-friendly mineral microcrystals. There are also fruit extracts like Asian plum, apple, papaya, and grape that have different antioxidant, skin soothing, and collagen-boosting benefits. To round out the spa experience, Korean star ingredients like mugwort, barley, and cica are included, which reduces redness and inflammation while soothing the skin and offering protection through antioxidants. (Some KP, like mine, has redness, which the mugwort specifically helps calm.) “Probiotics are included for more resilient skin, and taking advantage of the in-shower humidity and water, there’s hyaluronic acid to draw moisture to skin, and squalane and cucumbers to refresh and hydrate,” adds Yoon.
To test how the KP Bump Boss scrub would affect my keratosis pilaris, I decided to use it on only my right arm for about a month. As per Yoon’s suggestion, I used it a couple of times a week when I’d shower, squeezing a dollop into my hand and massaging it directly into my arm for about a minute or so. (My left arm would be cleansed and scrubbed with my usual body wash and loofah.) I felt the difference immediately. My right arm felt much softer and smooth compared to the left. Sometimes I’d be sitting at my desk and touching my arm, impressed by its silkiness. Sorry to you, left arm.
It continued to be soft until one lazy week where I didn’t use the scrub and felt the bumps coming back. This wasn’t really a surprise to me because there’s no actual “cure” for KP, you just have to treat it by exfoliation. I liked the results of it so much I’ve made sure not to be lazy about it anymore! Next, I’m going to use it regularly on my forearms where I get bumps from shaving. If you have KP, get this scrub ASAP! It’s my saving grace until I can go to the Korean spa again.