Dealing with rough, bumpy skin? Dermatologists say this popular lotion can help

We asked dermatologists about this TikTok-famous product.
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By Jillian Ortiz

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Dry skin can strike during any season, but it's especially important to keep your skin hydrated and protected if you're spending more time outdoors in the summer months. If the summer heat also exacerbates the rough, bumpy areas of your skin — which is often known as keratosis pilaris — then finding a way to soothe and soften those areas also becomes important.

While there is never a cure-all for every skin care concern, every once in a while a product manages to gain a cult-like following with praise from all corners of the internet. Some TikTok users that deal with keratosis pilaris seem to have stumbled upon a duo of products that they claim are "like magic."

The CeraVe SA Lotion for Rough and Bumpy Skin in particular attracted the attention of more than one million viewers due to visible results that one user saw in just a matter of days.

CeraVe SA Lotion for Rough and Bumpy Skin

The CeraVe Body Wash with Salicylic Acid, the lotion's counterpart, also currently sits among the top five bath and shower gels on Amazon and has more than 400 five-star reviews from verified shoppers.

Since reviewers are raving over the two body care products, we spoke to dermatologists to see if this lotion and body wash duo are actually worth the hype.

What causes keratosis pilaris?

According to New York-based dermatologist Dr. Hadley King, keratosis pilaris is the term used by dermatologists to describe the dry, bumpy skin that occurs when excessive amounts of keratin accumulate in the follicle openings or pores.

"It most commonly affects the skin of the upper-outer arms, anterior thighs, cheeks and rarely the lower legs," King told us.

While these bumps don't usually hurt or itch, they can be a minor annoyance for some people. According to Dr. Robyn Gmyrek, board-certified dermatologist at Park View Laser Dermatology, the condition commonly affects those with asthma or eczema — and dry skin tends to make the condition worse.

"It is not curable, but it is controllable, and in many, the condition improves with age," Gmyrek said.

How can you treat keratosis pilaris?

When it comes to treating bumpy skin, it's best to reach for products with moisturizing ingredients.

"Keeping the skin well hydrated and preventing dryness seems to improve the rough and bumpy skin," Gmyrek told us.

The CeraVe SA Lotion features both exfoliating and hydrating ingredients, which is why it's become a popular pick with both experts and customers.

The active ingredient in this lotion, salicylic acid, can help penetrate the pores and gently exfoliate the skin. As a beta-hydroxy acid (BHA), King says it terminates the bonds that keep dead skin cells trapped on the surface, which ultimately reveals smoother and brighter skin. The formula's hyaluronic acid adds a dose of extra hyrdation, while its three essential ceramides are essential for the skin barrier.

"(Ceramides) help the skin to retain moisture and repair the barrier of the skin when it is dry or irritated," Gmyrek said.

One of the lotion's 1,300 verified reviewers wrote that they were impressed by the results when used to treat body acne on sensitive skin.

"My keratosis pilaris ('chicken skin') on my arms and body acne have significantly improved, which is pretty incredible considering the short time period!" they wrote.

CeraVe Body Wash with Salicylic Acid

While the lotion can quench post-shower skin, the matching body wash from CeraVe works to moisturize and cleanse beforehand. It features many of the same skin-saving ingredients as the lotion, such as salicylic acid, ceramides and niacinamide.

"Replenishing the skin with ceramides is an essential component of any good skin hydration regimen," board-certified dermatologist Blair Murphy-Rose told Shop TODAY. "This wash is great for those with dry, bumpy skin. It is also a nice option for those with dry skin who are acne-prone."

One reviewer found that it also treated other target areas of the body besides the arms and thighs.

"Great for cracked heels and bumpy irritated skin," they wrote. "Works extremely well with the lotion. My feet can come out in public again."

It's especially helpful in the summer

While King notes that "bumpy skin" is caused by a number of factors, the summer months also pose their own challenges.

"Body acne and clogged pores often worsen during the summer due to increased temperatures and humidity, which can increase sweat and oil production," said King, who has recommended both the body wash and lotion to patients.

Whether you're attempting to treat keratosis pilaris or other skin care concerns, CeraVe's lotion for rough and bumpy skin and body wash with salicylic acid might be worth incorporating into your routine.

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