There are many skin care concerns that fall outside of typical acne or wrinkles. For some, if you have experienced patches of bumps on your legs and arms, you might have mistaken it for a bug bite or even a rash. However, you may actually have keratosis pilaris. No need to fret—keratosis pilaris sounds complicated because of its name, but it’s a common, even harmless, skin condition, according to the Mayo Clinic. Keep reading as we break down what keratosis pilaris is, what causes it, and keratosis pilaris treatments you can incorporate into your skin care routine at home.
What Is Keratosis Pilaris?
Keratosis pilaris is a harmless skin condition that’s more common than you might think. In fact, the Cleveland Clinic states that keratosis pilaris is so common that it is considered by many dermatologists to be a skin type rather than a skin condition. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), it appears as tiny bumps on the skin that some say look like goosebumps or the skin of a plucked chicken, which is why it’s also referred to as “chicken skin”. Keratosis pilaris can appear on your face—usually your cheeks—as well as on the upper arms, thighs, and buttocks, according to the Mayo Clinic.
What Causes Keratosis Pilaris?
The Mayo Clinic states that keratosis pilaris results from the buildup of keratin—a hard protein that protects skin from harmful substances and infection. This keratin forms a scaly plug that blocks the opening of the hair follicle, per the Mayo Clinic, resulting in patches of rough, bumpy skin. People with fair or light skin tones are more likely to develop keratosis pilaris, according to the Cleveland Clinic, as well as people with a history of eczema, asthma, or allergies, or individuals who are overweight.
What Helps With Keratosis Pilaris?
Unfortunately, there isn’t a permanent solution for keratosis pilaris, though there are temporary ones available. According to the Cleveland Clinic, some people don’t see any difference, but those that do will need to be consistent with their routines. Here are a few common at home treatment options if you have “chicken skin,” but keep in mind that you’ll still want to visit your dermatologist for professional advice.
Keratosis Pilaris Treatment #1: Over-the-counter lotions
Per the Cleveland Clinic, dry skin can cause this skin condition to look worse. Using an over-the-counter keratosis pilaris lotion that contains alpha hydroxy acid, lactic acid, salicylic acid or urea helps loosen and remove dead skin cells. They also moisturize and soften dry skin which can help to minimize the appearance of bumps.
Keratosis Pilaris Treatment #2: Medicated creams
Certain ingredients can help improve the look of keratosis pilaris. According to the Cleveland Clinic, alpha hydroxy acids like those found in L'Oreal Paris Revitalift Derm Intensives Vitamin C Face Serum can reduce the look of keratosis pilaris. Additionally, creams derived from vitamin A—topical retinoids—promote cell turnover and prevent plugged hair follicles, per the Mayo Clinic, which can help with the appearance of keratosis pilaris.
Keratosis Pilaris Treatment #3: Humidifiers
A humidifier can hydrate the skin and lessen the appearance of chicken skin. The Mayo Clinic suggests using a portable home humidifier or one attached to your furnace to add moisture to the air inside your home.
Keratosis Pilaris Treatment #4: Exfoliation
Gentle exfoliation can also help with the appearance of keratosis pilaris. The Cleveland Clinic recommends using a loofah to gently brush the affected areas while you shower or bathe, making sure not to scrub too hard to avoid further irritation. You can also add a cleansing gel like L'Oreal Paris Skincare Revitalift Derm Intensives Gel Cleanser with 3.5% Pure Glycolic Acid to help gently resurface the skin and remove dead cells from your face.
Keratosis Pilaris Treatment #5: Laser Treatment
If you want to reduce the redness that goes hand-in-hand with keratosis pilaris, laser treatments may be worth looking into. According to the Cleveland Clinic, laser treatments offered by a dermatologist can help improve the look of redness associated with “chicken skin.”
Keratosis Pilaris Treatment #6: Shorter Showers
The Mayo Clinic recommends limiting your shower to 10 minutes or less, as well as bathing in lukewarm water instead of hot, which can strip oils from the skin.
Keratosis Pilaris Treatment #7: Time
The Mayo Clinic states that for many people, keratosis pilaris disappears by the time they’re thirty.
Photo Credit: Chaunte Vaughn
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