What is Keratosis Pilaris?
Also known as “chicken skin,” keratosis pilaris presents on the skin as tiny red goose bumps on the arms, face, thighs and buttocks. Roughly 40% of the population has keratosis pilaris (KP). Many of those that suffer from this condition inherited it from an older family member, as there is a genetic link. The physical cause of keratosis pilaris is a buildup of excess keratin around the hair follicle. Keratosis Polaris can be improved, but frequently cannot be cured.
Symptoms of Keratosis Pilaris
Keratosis pilaris can appear on both adults and children. Wintertime is when symptoms become worse, thanks to drier air with low humidity. The best ways to identify symptoms of keratosis pilaris are the following ways:
- Small sandpaper-like bumps that look like goose bumps.
- Tiny red or white bumps found most commonly on the cheeks, legs, buttocks or upper arms.
- Skin that is dry, rough and itchy in the surrounding area near the bumps.
How to Treat Keratosis Pilaris
While some cases of keratosis pilaris can eventually resolve on their own, it’s important to see a dermatologist when your condition becomes more severe and the bumps become red or inflamed. Once you see a dermatologist, they will determine your best treatment for keratosis pilaris.
Keratosis Pilaris Ointments
There are many topical ointments for keratosis pilaris. The most common medicated creams for keratosis pilaris include:
- Retinoids: By initiating cell turnover, retinoid creams help to prevent plugging of the hair follicle. The most common topical retinoids for keratosis pilaris treatment are tazarotene and tretinoin.
- Exfoliating cream: A cream or ointment containing an AHA, such as lactic acid, salicylic acid or alpha hydroxy acid will help to rid the skin of dead skin cells.
Keratosis Pilaris Laser Therapy
Some of the more inflamed cases of keratosis pilaris require KTP laser therapy. Improvement of the condition is shown when quick bursts of intense light are targeted onto the areas of the skin with keratosis pilaris. The bumps of KP will die down when the hair follicle is cauterized from the laser. Laser hair removal can also often help treat this condition.