Keratosis Pilaris (KP) is also referred to as Follicular Keratosis. This skin condition is characterized by the formation of small, rough bumps on the surface of the skin (similar to goosebumps). Due to its appearance and rough texture, KP is frequently referred to as ‘chicken skin.’ This condition affects approximately 40 percent of adults and up to 80 percent of adolescents. While Follicular Keratosis is considered harmless, it can be bothersome because it is unsightly and usually leaves the skin feeling dry, and itchy.
What Causes Keratosis Pilaris?
This condition is genetic and occurs when the hair follicles become clogged: As such, any area of skin where hair grows can be afflicted with KP. The upper arms are the most common location for the development of Follicular Keratosis; however, other locations frequently afflicted with this condition include the thighs and the buttocks. Some individuals will develop the small, rough bumps associated with Keratosis Pilaris on their face: It is not uncommon for these bumps to be mistaken for acne.
Can KP be Cured?
Unfortunately, this condition is incurable; however, you can manage it with the use of non-irritating body soaps, gentle exfoliation and a daily moisturizing routine. These treatments are beneficial because dry skin can cause these bumps to stand out, thus making them more noticeable.
Relieving Dry, Itchy Skin
- Use a creamy moisturizer to soothe dry, itchy skin. The majority of creams used to treat this condition contain either lactic acid or urea.
- Choose a moisturizer that is thick and oil free.
- Gently massage the moisturizer into the areas of skin affected with Keratosis Pilaris at least twice a day.
- Always use moisturizer after your bath or shower and remember to apply the moisturizer while your skin is still damp (typically within five minutes).
Diminishing the Bumps
- Use a loofah to remove the dead skin cells that sit on the surface of the skin.
- A corticosteroid cream may help to reduce the redness and soften the bumps.
Laser Hair Removal
- Since Keratosis Pilaris involves the hair follicles, an intense pulsed light laser treatment may improve the symptoms associated with this skin condition. While the laser eviscerates each strand of hair, it also removes the pore-blocking keratin that is responsible for the development of KP. Laser hair removal will not cure this condition; however, you will probably enjoy smoother skin that appears less red for about six months.
How to Prevent Symptoms
There are steps you can take to prevent the symptoms associated with Follicular Keratosis.
Steps you can take include:
- using moisturizer whenever your skin feels dry;
- adding moisture to the air with a humidifier;
- decreasing the temperature of the water while showering or bathing; and
- limiting the amount of time you spend in the water.
Hopefully, these tips will help you find relief from the symptoms associated with KP this holiday season.