Keratosis Pilaris: Do’s and Don’ts


Keratosis pilaris, is a very common problem in which the skin on one’s back appears to look like plucked, dried-out chicken flesh. Keratosis pilaris affects almost 50-80% of all adolescents and around 40% of adults. Keratosis Pilaris is hereditary, which means that half of your child’s children will likely have precisely the same issues with keratosis pilaris that you have. Excess skin causing little plugs to form in the hair follicles which is what causes the characteristic rash. These plugged follicles give the skin a raised, stippled look usually called goosebumps. The lumps are somewhat pinker or usually skin color, and don’t itch. The rash is often unnoticeable to others, except on close inspection.

Classically the condition appears frequently anywhere from two to three years of age. Because the rash is associated with and worsened by dryness of skin, a clear cut seasonal variation that is typically worse in the wintertime is experienced by most people. Though the rash changes in intensity from time to time, it usually stays basically the same until puberty, when it may start to get worse. Adults who have keratosis pilaris frequently experience additional advancement throughout their 40’s and 50’s.

92% of sufferers get keratosis pilaris on the backs of the upper arms. It can also occur on the face, buttocks, and eyebrows. However, treatment is entirely optional, since the rash is usually neither noticeable or painful. The easiest treatment is to keep your skin moist together with the regular use of moisturizers, especially right after getting out of the shower. Loofah sponge soft exfoliation with a body scrub, pumice sponge, as well as a washcloth, can help loosen the stoppers.

Also be sure that you and your children get sufficient levels of vitamin A from yours and their diet, and possibly from a vitamin supplement. Do not overdo it on the supplements, because, although unlikely, it is possible to overdose on Vitamin A. Heat and humidity also can trigger the problem, and since you wear less clothing in the summer and bare more skin, that is the time of year when it seems to be worse.

Occasionally, keratosis pilaris can get better as you get older. But just in case it doesn’t, there are some special ways to help you keep matters under control and your skin looking much better.

Whatever you do, avoid the following:

Picking. Now, all of us understand you’re not supposed to pick skin, but some people believe that picking these non-acne bumps well help or that it is not harmful. That is entirely untrue and can lead to unsightly scarring that is not much better than the keratosis itself so resist the urge altogether.

Scrubbing. You can scrub if you like, but you’ll only end up with bulges that are now red and irritated. The issue really isn’t the top surface of the skin, so top layer exfoliation, no matter how hard, is not going to help much and will just leave your skin sore.

So what are the best ways to cure or prevent keratosis pilaris?

Chemical exfoliators. Both glycolic acid and lactic acid can help a bit, particularly in the shape of cleansing face wash.

Retinoids. Patients are given topical retinoids which work by exfoliating deep below the surface of the skin. You are able to handle a more concentrated solution on your body than you can on your face, and Retinol A is recommended by many top dermatologists as an over-the-counter remedy.

Moisturization. The use of an intensely hydrating moisturizer will definitely help the look of lumps and soften the feel, though remember that it will not help prevent the condition from forming if you are genetically prone.

Mild cleanse. Harsh soaps exacerbate the rough feel of bulges and can dry skin out. I would suggest using a hydrating soap such as Dove Deep Moisture Nourishing Body Wash or Aveeno Skin Relief Body Wash. And be sure to moisturize bump-prone regions as soon as possible after finishing your shower.

Sunscreen. Again, while sunblock will not prevent the state from forming, it can make a difference in preventing the condition from worsening in appearance and becoming more noticeable. The sun’s dangerous rays are very likely to aggravate keratosis pilaris. Always wear sunscreen and your skin will stay smoother.

Remember, keratosis pilaris is not unusual, so don’t feel so self conscious about it. The best way to keep your skin healthy and keep your confidence up is to follow these simple tips. Your skin will thank you, and may even look healthier that the other moms at the pool.

Justin Arndt
Justin Arndt is the Senior Content Editor at Lose Weight Fast.