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You may have [Link Removed] (often referred to as KP) and not even know it. A skin condition that appears as rough patches or small acne-like bumps, KP tends to be painless and not medically serious although affected areas can be red, inflamed and even itchy.

Because of the small bumps that characterize keratosis pilaris, it’s often referred to as chicken skin. Areas that are affected include the upper arms, thighs or buttocks. If keratosis pilaris appears on the face, it can resemble acne.

Cause of Keratosis Pilaris
KP occurs when the human body produces excess keratin, which is a natural and hard protein designed to protect the skin from harmful substances and infection. This excess keratin forms a scaly plug that surrounds and traps hair follicles in the pore. The result is hyperkeratinization (or the formation of many plugs) that lead to rough, bumpy or sandpaper or ‘chicken skin‘.

Although it’s not certain why the keratin build up occurs, it’s thought to be associated with genetic diseases or other skin conditions, such as ichthyosis vulgaris or atopic dermatitis. Healthy individuals are susceptible and dry skin tends to worsen keratosis pilaris.

Keratosis Pilaris Treatment  

There isn’t a cure for Keratosis pilaris, but it can be treated with a range of different products. Manual exfoliation of the dead, dry skin sitting on the skin’s surface with a loofah or washcloth can be performed. Chemical exfoliation with creams or lotions can also help to loosen the plugs. Effective treatments incorporate ingredients such as:
- Alpha hydroxy acids which include mandelic acid, glycolic acid and lactic acid to help reduce roughness and soften keratin plugs. Consider products like [Link Removed]) or prescription only retinoic acid preparations (Retin-A).

Since dry skin can make keratosis pilaris worse, follow measures to help manage dry skin. Often keratosis pilaris will resolve on its own, but it can sometimes take months or even years. If you are susceptible, the condition is likely to recur so it is important to continue treatment on a regular basis.

Sharmani Pillay is a Registered Pharmacist who specializes in anti aging skin care and women's wellness. She owns and operates an online skin care store at [Link Removed].


Pharmagirl, Your links have been removed, please consider upgrading to premium membership.

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Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Termite wrote May 25, 2009
    • My DD suffers from this. She is self consious of it and will not wear short sleeves or shorts.
      I have read that raw coconut oil and Apple cider vinegar helps.
      I know we have tried tea tree oil and different lotions and acne creams with no results. frown



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Cindylouwho1966 wrote May 25, 2009
    • I do have this! If I get a tan it is much less noticeable. It is worse on my thighs and the backs of my arms. Thanks for the tips.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Mjmurphy wrote May 25, 2009
    • thanks for the info, I have this on my upper arms and used to be able to scrub with washcloth and moisturize and it would go away. I’m going to try some of the other things mentioned.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Doreen XoXo wrote May 25, 2009
    • My daughter had this behind her upper arms.  It has been gone now for about 2 years.  I guess she needs to keep her skin moisturized.

      xoxo



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Pharmagirl wrote May 25, 2009
    • Amazing how common this condition is. So many friends have finally been able to identify what’s up with their skin.  

      Termite - good luck with finding a solution for your daughter.
      Cindy - Backs of arms is one of the most common locations...
      MJ - scrubbing is a great form of exfoliation, which is probably why it worked. For more stubborn cases, combine with a chemical exfoliant like the ones mentioned and you’ll find you may have a quicker resolution.
      Doreen - Managing dry skin is a great way to reduce the likelihood if it coming back.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Tuliplady wrote May 27, 2009
    • Thanks for the info!!!  My daughter has had this on her upper arms since she was about 10.  She too is very self concious and won’t wear a sleeveless shirt.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Kelly Robertson wrote May 29, 2009
    • My daughter, who’s light-skinned and of Welsh decent (her dad 100%) has this but! We’ve solved it with two things:

      1) A hydrator that actually penetrates her pores (tiny molecular structure) topped with a lotion (with SPF) to “seal it all in” (the lotion has a larger molecule that penetrates AND sits on top of the skin).  

      2) 2X week scrubbing with a Microdermamitt - cheap and an amazing invention.

      Email me if you’d like to know where you can purchase any of these items - this combo really does work! ox kelly



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