What Exactly is Keratosis Pilaris and Can I Get Rid of It?



Ever notice why a certain part of your body feels like it has goosebumps or chicken skin even when it’s not cold? You might have keratosis pilaris. This relatively common skin condition typically causes tiny bumps akin to whiteheads or ingrown hair on the arms, but could also appear on the face, buttocks, back, stomach, and upper thighs.

Fortunately, if you don’t like the look and feel of keratosis pilaris, there are treatment options you can choose from.

What Causes Keratosis Pilaris?

Dead skin cells usually flake off naturally, but for people with keratosis pilaris, this isn’t the case. If you have keratosis pilaris, keratin, which is a skin protein, blocks the hair follicles that, in turn, leads to the formation of tiny reddish or white bumps that may or may not be itchy.

While these bumps won’t cause you any pain, they could make your skin feel rough and dry. This condition isn’t rare. In fact, the American Academy of Dermatology states that four in 10 people have keratosis pilaris. It is hereditary, and those who have eczema or dry skin have an increased risk of developing it.

Although keratosis pilaris could occur at any age, it usually affects younger people. Babies might develop it, particularly on the cheeks, but it is most prevalent in younger kids and teens. It typically tends to disappear as you age.

Meanwhile, it could worsen during colder months, especially when there’s low humidity and your skin is dry. It may likewise worsen while you’re pregnant and after pregnancy.

How to Treat Keratosis Pilaris?

As mentioned above, keratosis pilaris is harmless and don’t require treatment. But if it bothers you and you want to get rid of it, you could try the following treatment options:

Moisturize it. Moisturizing your skin, particularly after bathing or showering, is crucial. You can use regular moisturizers, but if these don’t work, consider an OTC cream that has lactic acid, urea, salicylic acid, vitamin D or glycolic acid.

Get professional help. Ask your dermatology doctor in Salem for a prescription for topical retinoid you can apply on the bumps or a chemical peel to help slough off stubborn skin cells. In the event that your bumps are inflamed and looks infected, you might need to take antibiotics.

Use a humidifier. A humidifier will regulate the humidity levels inside your home to help prevent your condition from being aggravated during the cold season.

Take occasional hot baths or showers and exfoliate. Exfoliating your body using a loofah, sponge, washcloth, or body brush after a long hot bath or shower could help uproot the plugged follicles and reveal smoother skin. But refrain from taking long hot showers all the time to avoid irritation and just stick to warm baths or showers.

Shave using a cream or gel. If you have bumps on areas that you usually shave, shave after showering or bathing and allow the shaving cream or gel to be absorbed by your skin for a couple of minutes before shaving. This will make your hair softer and your skin more moisturized. It will also reduce irritation.

As with all treatment plans, consistency is key to successfully treating keratosis pilaris. Follow the tips above, and if you don’t like the results, it’s best to consult your dermatologist for more intensive treatments.