Keratosis Pilaris

Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Remedies

Keratosis Pilaris Treatment Remedies


The contents of this app are provided for educational purposes only and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or health condition. The information provided should not be considered as a substitute for the advice of a medical doctor or other healthcare professional.

What is Keratosis Pilaris?

Keratosis pilaris (ker-uh-TOE-sis pih-LAIR-is) is a common skin condition.

Keratosis pilaris is commonly described in association with other dry skin conditions.

Keratosis pilaris does not bear any known, long-term health implications, nor is it associated with increased mortality or morbidity.

Keratosis pilaris results in keratinized hair follicles.

It is not related to goose bumps, which results from muscle contractions, except that both occur in the area where the hair follicle exits the skin.

Worldwide, KP affects an estimated 40-50% of the adult population and approximately 50-80% of all adolescents.

Some patients also report rare variants of the condition which strike their eyebrows, their face, scalp, and other parts of the body.

Some rare cases may also show up small bumps on your face.

Keratosis pilaris, also referred to as "chicken skin" is not considered a serious health issue.

It can cause embarrassment and some discomfort.

It is important to note that keratosis pilaris will rarely hurt individuals diagnosed with the condition except for some itching.

Generrally, keratosis pilaris results from a build-up of keratin, the skin protein that shields your skin against infections and any other infectious agents.

The build-up of keratin forms a hard plug that blocks hair follicle openings.

The cause for the keratin build-up however remains a mystery to doctors.

Keratosis pilaris has no specific cure but a number of steps may be taken to remove dead skin cells.

For persons diagnosed with this skin condition, their situation improves as they approach adulthood.

There could be no reason to seek medical attention if the condition does not harm your health.

Keratosis pilaris does not spread from one person to another (it is not contagious).

This condition is often known as a condition of puerility (childhood) and adolescence.

This is because the condition improves as one gets older.

It is however important to note that keratosis pilaris is often amplified at puberty.

The condition is characterized by follicular papules often observed on anterior thighs and posterolateral upper arms.

These papules are usually asymptomatic (without symptoms), although affected persons may not be comfortable with the resultant cosmetic appearance.

Keratosis pilaris is also reported in children with underlying ichthyosis vulgaris, xerosis, or atopy.

The various types of keratosis pilaris include keratosis pilaris rubra, keratosis pilaris Alba, keratosis pilaris Rubra Faceii and Atrophicans Faciei.

Keratosis pilaris Alba is generally characterized by dry and rough skin usually accompanied by white or gray bumps.

Persons diagnosed with keratosis pilaris rubra show red inflamed bumps and red lesions.

Patients with keratosis pilaris Rubra Faceii and Atrophicans Faciei are characterized by a rash on the face.

Keratosis Pilaris Symptoms

Keratosis pilaris results in small bumps on the skin that feel like rough sandpaper.

They are skin-colored bumps the size of a grain of sand, many of which are surrounded by a slight pink color.

Bearing only cosmetic consequence, these proliferations of tiny hard bumps are seldom sore or itchy.

The small bumps, which may also appear on the face, are often confused with acne.

Other symptoms are depression, thirst, shallow breathing, and light-headedness.

In some cases, persons diagnosed with keratosis pilaris complain of inflammation on their faces and other affected areas.

Keratosis Pilaris Causes

Some study has also shown that persons with dry skin are at a higher risk of keratosis pilaris than those whose skin is not as hard.

Such cases are mostly reported in winter and the numbers tend to reduce during the summer.

Persons with other underlying skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis (also known as eczema) have a higher predisposition to keratosis pilaris than those without.

Keratosis pilaris occurs when the human body produces excess keratin, a natural protein in the skin.

The excess keratin, which is cream colored, surrounds and entraps the hair follicles in the pore.

This causes the formation of hard plugs.

Many KP bumps contain an ingrown hair that has coiled.

This is a result of the keratinized skin's "capping off" the hair follicle, preventing the hair from exiting.

The hair grows encapsulated inside the follicle.

Keratosis Pilaris Diagnosis

There is no single skin test or laboratory test that may be performed to diagnose keratosis pilaris.

Diagnosis for the condition is entirely dependent on a person’s medical history and a skin examination (not skin test).

A physical examination is performed by your doctor to examine the symptoms present.

A family history is crucial during this examination.

During skin examination, a person may report rough and prickly keratotic papules; he or she may describe the papules as rough goose bumps.

The bumps may neither be painful nor itchy.

Those with this condition are generally encouraged to contact a doctor if the bumps are bothersome and do not improve with over the counter lotions.

Keratosis Pilaris Treatment

Steroid creams can also be used to reduce redness.

However, the effectiveness of these treatments is limited and research to discover more effective treatments is ongoing.

Improvement of the skin often takes months and the bumps are likely to return.

The most common medication treatments for keratosis pilaris include topical exfoliants and topical retinoids.

Topical exfoliants are medicated creams rich in salicylic acid, lactic acid, alpha-hydroxy acid, and urea.

These medicated creams work by moisturizing and softening dry skin while at the same time loosening and removing dead skin cells.

Topical retinoids (obtained from vitamin A) on the other hand promote cell turnover and prevent blocking of the hair follicle.

Although retinoids are proved to be effective at treating keratosis pilaris, they are accompanied by a number of side effects severe dryness, redness, peeling, and skin irritations.

The most prominent topical retinoids that your doctor may suggest are tretinoin and tazarotene.

Topical retinoid therapy is not recommended for use by pregnant and breastfeeding mothers.

In such cases, alternative treatment options are recommended.

For cases of keratosis pilaris that are characterized by inflammation and severe redness, your doctor may order for laser therapy.

During laser treatment, intense beams of light are passed into targeted areas of your skin.

Doctors also recommend a number of self-help measures (home remedies) that may help to manage this condition.

Self-help measures will not cure keratosis pilaris, but improve your skin’s appearance.

This is important for persons who feel embarrassed by this condition.

Doctors also suggest that you part your skin gently with some towel after bathing.

This helps in moisturizing the patient’s skin.

Using ordinary soap aggravates your condition by making your skin even dryer than before.

Doctors therefore recommend the use of non-soap cleansers to help manage keratosis pilaris.

Persons diagnosed with the skin condition are also advised to take lukewarm baths instead of hot ones.

This is because hot showers scalds your skin and dries it out.

A combination therapy guarantees the best results.

While Steroid creams are also used to forestall redness.

To reduce itching associated with keratosis pilaris, doctors suggest use of topical corticosteroids.

For scaly and thickened skin, use salicylic acid lotion to have it softened and loosened.

For affected areas of your skin, wash them with a gentle cleanser (such as Dove).

Therapeutic cleansers are recommended for acne-prone skin. Such cleansers include benzoyl peroxide, Proactiv, GlySal, and salicylic acid.

To help improve your skin’s appearance, doctors recommend gentle washing.

Do not scrub the affected area of the skin; instead, use a mixture of warm water and mild soap.

Soaps and deodorants with strong redolence (fragrance) should be avoided.

Doctors also recommend that you apply a moisturizer at least twice every day.

A moisturizer will help soften the bumps.

Taking oatmeal baths helps in smoothing and hydration of your itchy skin.

To boost your environment’s humidity, doctors suggest the use of humidifiers.

A humidifier is a basic machine that adds moisture to the air surrounding you.

This is important especially when you live in a dry area.

Use distilled water instead of tap water.

This is because distilled water is free from contaminants while tap water contains chlorine, lead, and nitrates.

Home therapies for the treatment of keratosis pilaris include retinol creams, glycolic acid peels, and topical emollients.

In situations of widespread or refractory cases, your doctor may find it necessary to refer you to a dermatologist.

Your doctor may also recommend minor surgical operations such as gentle acne extractions for resistant cases of keratosis pilaris.

Milia and keratotic papules may be extracted using a small diabetic lancet, 30-gauge needle, or a larger 18-gauge needle.

Your doctor may also use a comedone extractor to extract trapped coiled hairs and keratin plugs.

This can be effective when performed with some combination therapy which may include physical treatments or topical emollients.

Keratosis Pilaris Prevention

Doctors suggest a number of steps for a moist and healthy skin.

Moisturizers seal over the skin and prevent loss of body water.

Moisturizers such as Eucerin and Cetaphil help keep your skin moist and healthy as well.

This helps prevent keratosis pilaris.

Studies have shown that taking long and hot showers rids our skins of oils.

It is therefore recommended that you restrict your shower time to at most 10 minutes.

Use warm water instead of hot water (take tepid showers).

Avoiding harsh and drying soaps helps to keep off keratosis pilaris.

Use mild soaps with added oils.

To reduce the risk of keratosis pilaris, doctors suggest the need of blotting your skin dry with a towel after taking a shower.

Low humidity dries up your skin. Use a humidifier to add moisture to the air.

Keratosis Pilaris Statistics & Facts

Keratosis pilaris is a harmless and hereditary disorder whose treatment requires general skin care recommendations.

Most patients diagnosed with keratosis pilaris will seek medical treatment simply because of the unappealing lesions.

About 51 percent of cases of keratosis pilaris are diagnosed in young children and only 2 percent in adults aged 40 years and above.

The inflammatory type of this condition is more common in females than males.

Some studies have estimated that keratosis pilaris affects 50 to 80 percent of all adolescents.

Keratosis pilaris can be recognized using dry and rough patches on the skin as well as small bumps.

No single case of keratosis pilaris has been confirmed to have any dietary associations.

Keratosis pilaris will not limit your normal activities.

Keratosis Pilaris Treatment Remedies plus

The contents of this app are provided for educational purposes only and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or health condition. The information provided should not be considered as a substitute for the advice of a medical doctor or other healthcare professional.

What is Keratosis Pilaris?

Keratosis pilaris is a benign (harmless) disorder where keratin (skin protein) forms small hard plugs or bumps within hair follicles.

The bumps can be spotted on your arms, thighs, and the buttock area and occasionally with some swelling or redness.

The hard bumps which are typically light-coloured give your skin a sandpaper-like appearance.

It is a heritable skin condition that often affects people with eczema (atopic dermatitis) or dry skin.

A majority of the cases are reported in winter and generally clear in the summer..

Keratosis Pilaris Symptoms

Keratosis pilaris has a number of signs and symptoms including red or small white bumps.

The small bumps with “goose bumps-like” appearance appear on the upper arms (on the back) and inner thighs.

The bumps may also appear and feel like some rough sandpaper.

Persons diagnosed with the condition may experience dry and rough itchy skin especially in areas with bumps (plugs).

Slight pinkness around the small bumps is also reported by some persons diagnosed with the condition.

Keratosis Pilaris Causes

A majority of the cases of keratosis pilaris are reported by persons diagnosed with eczema and those with dry skin.

The primary cause of keratosis pilaris is accumulation of keratin. The build-up of keratin forms a hard plug that blocks the openings of hair follicles.

Keratin is a skin protein found in the tough outermost layer of your skin, which makes the skin surface thicker.

The tiny plugs blocking the hair follicles broaden the pores, leaving your skin with a spotty appearance.

Research shows that keratosis pilaris can be passed on from parents to their children.

Keratosis Pilaris Treatment

It is important to understand that no single treatment approach totally improves keratosis pilaris.

It is not medically necessary to treat keratosis pilaris; however, persons diagnosed with the condition may seek treatment for the condition just for cosmetic reasons (improving skin appearance).

The medicated creams and self-care measures all centre on easing the keratin deposits in your skin.

For initial treatment, doctors often recommend intensive moisturizing.

Creams such as LadHydrin and AmLactin are applied immediately after taking a shower.

pub 48 Diagnosing and Treating

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