Keratosis pilaris (KP), often referred to as "chicken skin," is a common and harmless skin condition. It appears as small, rough, red, or flesh-colored bumps, typically on the outer upper arms, thighs, face, or buttocks. These bumps are caused by the buildup of keratin, a protein that protects the skin from infections and other harmful substances.
Causes: The exact cause of keratosis pilaris is not well understood, but it is believed to result from a genetic condition where the skin produces too much keratin, which plugs hair follicles and creates the characteristic bumps. Dry skin can exacerbate the condition, making the bumps more noticeable.
Who is Most Likely to Get It: Keratosis pilaris is common, affecting people of all ethnicities and ages. It often appears in childhood and may persist into adulthood. It is more common in individuals with a family history of keratosis pilaris or other skin conditions like eczema.
How to Get Rid of It: While there is no cure for keratosis pilaris, there are several methods to help manage and reduce its appearance:
Moisturize: Keeping the affected area well-moisturized can help reduce the dryness and roughness associated with KP. Use mild, fragrance-free moisturizers or emollient creams after bathing.
Exfoliate: Regular exfoliation can help remove dead skin cells and smooth out the skin. Use a gentle exfoliating scrub or a washcloth while bathing, but avoid excessive scrubbing, which can irritate the skin.
Topical Treatments: Certain topical treatments containing ingredients like alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), urea, or salicylic acid can help exfoliate the skin and reduce the appearance of bumps. Consult a dermatologist for appropriate prescription-strength creams or lotions.
Humidify the Air: Using a humidifier in dry environments, especially during the winter months, can add moisture to the air and prevent the skin from drying out.
Avoid Harsh Soaps: Use mild, fragrance-free soaps and avoid hot water, which can strip the skin of its natural oils and worsen the condition.
Dietary Adjustments: Some individuals have reported improvement in their skin condition after making dietary changes, such as increasing their intake of omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil or consuming foods rich in vitamin A.
Professional Treatments: In-office dermatological treatments like chemical peels, microdermabrasion, or laser therapy can help improve the appearance of keratosis pilaris, but results vary from person to person.
It's important to note that what works for one person might not work for another. Consulting a professional is essential to determine the most suitable treatment options tailored to an individual's specific skin type and condition severity.