Gold Bond Rough and Bumpy Review: Meh.

Here’s the tea:

I never wear shorts because my legs are splotchy.

Why are they so splotchy, you ask?

Because of:

  • Mosquito bites
  • Chicken skin
  • And ingrown hairs (that inevitably turn into dark spots)

Needless to say, I’m pretty desperate to find something that actually works.

That’s why I ordered Gold Bond Rough and Bumpy. Since it contains not one but three types of chemical exfoliants (not to mention a 4-star rating on Amazon), I thought it would do the trick.

While it reduced my keratosis pilaris by about 40-50% AND smoothed the heck out of my legs, I didn’t see any differences in my dark spots. At the end of my 1-month trial, I was only marginally impressed by the results.

Okay. Now it’s time to deep-dive into the full review!

It Didn’t Sink Into My Skin

Showing off the consistency of Gold Bond Rough and Bumpy cream
I don’t know why my fingers are so red. Sorry.

Applying this product onto my skin was…interesting.

On the one hand, it spreads easily and dries fast. Which is ideal for my out-of-the-door-in-30-minutes morning routine.

On the other hand, it didn’t really sink into my skin. Instead, it formed a shell on top of it. My skin almost felt like plastic—it’s kind of hard to explain unless you try it for yourself.

The plastic-y feeling was a bit uncomfortable, but the worst part was that:

If I ever rubbed (or scratched) my legs throughout the day, the product pilled.

It Smells A Little Funky

Officially, it’s fragrance-free/unscented. Unofficially, it’s kind of stinky.

What does it smell like?

Everyone has their own take on it. But to me, it kind of smells like mayonnaise.

Considering that a lot of keratosis pilaris creams stink to the high heavens, I didn’t really mind that the smell of this one.

The good news?

The smell dissipates pretty quickly!

(Or maybe I just go nose-blind to it.)

Size: Small

I would’ve given this product a WAY BETTER rating if it came in a bigger size.

Here’s the thing:

8-ounces is not enough to cover what I need to cover!

What do I mean by that?

Well, when I first started using Gold Bond Rough and Bumpy, I applied it to both of my legs—from ankle to upper thigh.

But I quickly realized that I wouldn’t have enough product to last an entire month. So mid-experiment, I started applying it to my right leg only.

Since the packaging recommends twice-daily use, I’d expect that you need at least two tubs to get you through one month of use.

But then again, at least it’s cheap as hell! Doubling-up on the product would probably make it semi-equivalent in price to its main competitor, Cerave SA Cream.

The small size isn’t my only gripe.

The packaging is pump-less.

Yep. Unlike some other moisturizing creams (like the ones from Cerave and Vanicream—read my comparison of these two products here), Gold Bond doesn’t come with a pump.

Again, this is a little disappointing because I don’t like sticking my fingers into tubs—it’s not the most hygienic thing you can do.

Gold Bond Rough and Bumpy Ingredients

Ingredients list from the Gold Bond Rough and Bumpy tub

Ingredients: Water, Gluconolactone, Hydroxyethyl Urea, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter Extract, Cetyl Alcohol, Ammonium Lactate, Petrolatum, Potassium Hydroxide, Propanediol, Salicylic Acid, Dimethicone, Glyceryl Stearate, Steareth-21, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Jojoba Esters, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Caprylyl Methicone, Polyacrylate Crosspolymer-6, PPG-3 Benzyl Ether Myristate, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Fruit Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Saccharum Officinarum (Sugar Cane) Extract, Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Panthenol, Bisabolol, Polyglyceryl-4 Laurate/Succinate, Stearamidopropyl PG-Dimonium Chloride Phosphate, Phenoxyethanol (read more about it here), Propylene Glycol, Hydroxyethylcellulose.

  • Gluconolactone is a polyhydroxy acid (PHA) and a chemical exfoliant. Since PHA’s are a fairly recent discovery, it’s exciting to see that gluconolactone is featured as the second ingredient. At this point, you might be wondering what makes PHA’s so special. Well, PHA’s are known as the gentler AHA, meaning that you’ll get top-notch exfoliating benefits without experiencing irritation.
  • Hydroxyethyl Urea is a derivative of urea. Yes, urea is a component of pee. But more importantly, it’s a component of your skin’s natural moisturizing factors (NMF), so it’ll keep you both hydrated and moisturized. Sometimes urea derivatives get a bad rap, but I couldn’t find anything negative about hydroxyethyl urea—even the EWG gave it a rating of 1 (“low hazard”).
  • Ammonium Lactate is a special type of lactic acid (an AHA). In skincare, it’s useful for a bunch of reasons—it’s moisturizing, it’s exfoliating, and it’s hydrating.
  • Salicylic Acid is known as a beta-hydroxy acid that—at the right pH—can travel deep into your pores to clear out dirt and oil. Also, you might recognize salicylic acid from your favorite acne products. That’s because it has anti-microbial and exfoliating properties that are bound to ward off future breakouts and heal the dark spots from your old ones. (I wrote an article on the pros and cons of salicylic acid —read about it here.)

Side note: Since this product contains the whole kaboodle of chemical exfoliants, it’s important to pack on the sunscreen when you’re using it.

Did It Work?

Here’s the thing, half the reason I bought this lotion was because I thought it would help lighten the dark marks on my legs. But it barely made a difference. (I actually wrote a separate article about fading hyperpigmentation on legs—if you’re interested, you can read it here.)

And while it did lighten my keratosis pilaris (some of you might know this by another name—chicken skin), it didn’t get rid of it completely. It just reduced the redness by maybe 40-50%, so my KP was slightly less noticeable. I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel comfortable bearing my legs with even the smallest hint of KP.

Of course, it wasn’t all bad news.

The good thing was that it made my skin less rough and less bumpy—yes, the product name does itself justice. I’m the kind of person who gets ingrown hairs (A LOT). And I can never seem to get ahead of the game—no matter what hair removal technique I use. As I was giving this lotion a try, I noticed that I didn’t sprout any new ingrown hairs.

Beyond that, my skin felt smooth to the touch—like baby soft. The gang of exfoliants featured in the product really did the trick.

All in all, the high points were evened out by the low points. Which is probably why I think Gold Bond Rough and Bumpy is so “meh.”

What I Liked

  • It made my skin baby soft
  • It made my keratosis pilaris slightly less visible
  • Upon application, it dried down incredibly fast (so it didn’t slow me down in the morning)
  • It’s seriously affordable!
  • It contains a bunch of chemical exfoliants

What I Didn’t Like

  • It smelled a bit funky
  • It pilled if I rubbed my skin
  • I needed more product to cover my bod
  • It didn’t really do anything for my dark marks


All in all, Gold Bond Rough and Bumpy is a cheap alternative to some of the more other smoothing/exfoliating creams that are currently on the market. In terms of results, it definitely softened my skin and made a noticeable dent in my keratosis pilaris. But I think that you need to use this at least two times a day to reap its full benefits. If you’re interested, please check it out here on Amazon.

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