Stridex: The Drugstore BHA To Swipe All Over Your Legs


Though the verbiage on the label is a bit aggressive, and the box design looks like one of those illegal firework stands on the sides of lonelier stretches of Texas highways, maximum-strength Stridex pads have, by some miracle of the drugstore gods, made their way into my bathroom. Yes, the jar completely lacks the subtlety of the stark Somme Institute cleanser to its right, and the girliness of floral-print limited-edition Shu Uemura oil to its immediate left, and it can probably feel the disdain seething from the gold-plated (and actual gold-containing) La Prairie serum looming behind, but such is the life of a teenage boy's $5 locker-room staple in the company of "Oh God, I'll pay anything not to age" products. A houseguest might assume my kid cousin came to visit, or that I've taken a younger lover. No, I just have bumps on my legs.

Looking back over the past six months, I realize I've kept my lower half in some variant of human sausage-casing at all times. If it wasn't the textured hosiery worn under calf-hugging knee-high boots, it was two layers of heat-retaining tights beneath my signature far-too-snug, thick, black jeans. Even at home they got no relief—winter turned me into somewhat of a Nevernude: pants come off, leggings go on. Then, a couple of weeks ago, I wore a dress. With the joy of outside temperatures besting 60 degrees came the frustration of realizing that I had induced the appearance of hundreds of ingrown-like bumps all over the meaty parts of my legs. Not zits, and not quite ingrowns, my best guess is keratosis pilaris, otherwise known as "chicken skin." Lovely.

It's nothing a little exfoliation can't handle, but with age has come the wisdom that if I want baby-soft skin over the entirety of my body, I must treat said skin like that of said baby. Meaning, no sandpaper-ing with Velcro gloves or scrubbing with large, jagged salt crystals. Chemical exfoliation is the only way—would you do that to an infant, though? I donno. So yeah, I went on the hunt for a beta hydroxy acid treatment for body use because, unlike its cousins the AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids), BHA is better at cleaning out and sanitizing clogged pores while it exfoliates. It's also anti-inflammatory, making it the better option for my sensitive-wuss skin. And do you know what BHA is? The adult-sounding name that salicylic acid gave itself on the fake ID it uses to buy beer—they're the same thing. And salicylic acid is the active ingredient in these wonderful Stridex pads. It's the main ingredient in many of these drugstore acne pads, actually, but I like the soft, non-irritating texture of Stridex's version. And the formula is alcohol-free! So despite what I expected, I've experienced no excessive drying. Now my leg skin would be completely smooth if not for the crop of quarter-inch of hair I've let prosper since that dress day two weeks ago. Thank you, Stridex. And a big shout-out to pimply teen boys everywhere.

—Annie Kreighbaum

Let’s Talk About It! JOIN IN
  • Adriana

    Never thought to use this on my body. I'll have to give it a shot, I have KP on my upper arms.

  • Janna E

    When do you usually use this? I would imagine it stings right after shaving.

    • ITG Annie

      Right after i shower. It does sting a bit after shaving (not too bad, there's no alcohol), but I don't shave every day so these have never really caused discomfort.

  • circafashion

    love this, use it often for my face, cheap and it works.

    • Susan


  • Nicole B.

    I know it seems harsh, but I read years ago to use this on your bikini line after shaving to stop razor burn and it really works! Stops razor burn before it even shows up.

  • lisa_carbone

    Awesome tip! Thanks for sharing!
    Best, Lisa

  • Ellen Findley

    Fellow KP sufferer, take heart: There are dozens of us! DOZENS!!!

  • Laura Mitchell

    This sounds way cheaper than using my Somme pads on my legs!

    • ITG Annie

      I do freaking love my Somme pads. I save the expensive stuff for my fancy, delicate mug.

  • heather adair

    DUDE. my shrinking violet winter-legs have those bumps all over 'em, too....! And I've been at a loss -- they're new to me, and they need to adios themselves, STAT (otherwise I find myself "fiddling" with them -- ie: picking. oh noooo). If BHAs do the trick -- I'm ON IT. Thank you!!!!

  • Adrienne Angelos


  • The Beauty Inbox

    You had me at Nevernude! Still LOL-ing here to myself (in office like a crazy person)..

  • mamavalveeta03

    Genius!! Instead of paying a ton of money for a derm treatment, this has the SAME.EXACT.INGREDIENTS. Voila! I'm going to get some today. Thx!

  • Vanessa Reyes

    Thanks for the tip!

  • Jessica

    Thank you for this brilliant tip! I normally use Tend Skin, which is way more expensive and much harder to get here in the Netherlands, but I will try the Clearasil pads (same ingredients as Stridex I believe)!

  • Chelsey Matley

    Coconut oil also works wonders on KP!!

  • TKB

    It's great that these have no alcohol, but unfortunately they contain menthol, which can be irritating to skin - so be careful if you have sensitive skin.

    I wonder if there are other drugstore BHA pads that have a safer formula?

    • ITG Annie

      good point! i didn't find it irritating, and my skin is pretty sensitive, but that's definitely something to take into consideration.

      • TKB

        Thanks for your reply!

  • Teckie

    Wow... never heard this before. I've been painfully scrubbing away with a dry brush.

  • Heather P.

    Never thought of this! Might have to try it out when we get to shorts weather!

  • Belle Kröl

    oh, I loved this writing! clap clap!

  • Julie

    How long until you moisturize afterwards?

    • ITG Annie

      not long, i just wait a few seconds for the liquid to sink in and go over with a lightweight moisturizer like cera ve

      • Lila

        Between the Stridex rec and the CeraVe nod, the gals over at Reddit's SkincareAddiction board would loooove you right now.

  • lisa robb

    Looks a bit scary but sounds good lol
    L x

  • Meredith

    This is solid advice. I have KP all over my thighs. It's super cute. Pretty sure BHA is the only thing short of a Rx that can clear them up.

    • Xtina

      or laser hair removal...but I'm pretty sure the stridex pads are cheaper.

  • Julie

    Oh God, I have those damn KP bumps too :( Is anyone willing to hook a European up? ;) I'll swap for Euro pharmacy stuff!!

  • Krissy

    Take fish oil supplements for KP! Works almost instantly. If I start to get lazy on taking my supplements, it comes right back.

  • Amanda

    I just started using this (also BHA, but no fragrance/stinging/etc.) and it is the best thing for KP I've ever tried, hands down (and I do believe I've tried, no joke, EVERYTHING). So great for sensitive skin. My legs don't look KP free, but they look much less red and feel way smoother. Just a tip from another fellow KP sufferer!

    • TKB

      Paula's Choice is great! They really know their skin care!

      I've never tried this one, but it looks interesting! :)

      • Amanda

        It's great!! I use it on my KP, psoriasis, and also on my face sometimes as a night cream.

  • VRoure

    Brilliant! I'm on my way to the drugstore...


  • CrossEyedFromReadingLabels

    Lately I'm trying to eliminate some of the nasty ingredients found in cosmetics, and there's a different (?) BHA, butylated hydroxyanisole that isn't great for you...not the same thing, right?

    • bluesky557

      This BHA stands for beta hydroxy acid.

  • Jentri

    Ahh, thank you thank you for the tip!

  • AB

    Amlactin is great for KP! But don't use it anywhere you've just shaved, it can be irritating.

  • Stacie

    Literally just got out of bed to pore over my body with the Clearasil pads I very nearly threw away two days ago (an unexplainable purchase many months ago). I have witch hazel pads I've tried as well, but, unless you count the manual aspect of it, they're not exfoliating.

  • Cool Allure

    I never knew that and I have the same problem. I will start looking for this product.

  • Jorge R.

    Annie- you are a great writer! Such a fun, honest "voice"-- looking forward to your next reviews! Thank you!

  • Elizabeth

    I tried this last night and it worked like a charm! No more weird red bumps!

  • e

    paula's choice has a BHA exfoliator that works really well too.

  • Courtney

    Thank you thank you! I have the SAME exact issue, can't wait to try this out.

  • Marissa

    If you are struggling with KP, AmLactin works WONDERS. It contains lactic acid which is a great chemical exfoliant. It's on the pricier side but you can pick it up at your local drugstore, I swear by it!


Stridex Daily Care Acne Pads, Maximum Strength