Symptoms and Treatments of Keratosis Pilaris | Dermatology

Keratosis Pilaris

What is keratosis pilaris?

Keratosis pilaris is a common, harmless skin condition that causes rough, dry patches and small bumps, usually on the arms, thighs, cheeks, or buttocks. The bumps do not generally hurt or itch.

Keratosis pilaris is often considered a different type of normal skin. It cannot be cured or prevented. But you can treat it with the emollients and creams prescribed to help improve the appearance of the skin. The condition usually resolves by the age of 30.

What are the symptoms of keratosis pilaris?

One of the most prominent symptoms of keratosis pilaris is its appearance. The bumps on the skin resemble goosebumps or the skin of a swollen chicken. Consequently, it is known as “chicken skin”.

The bumps can appear anywhere on the skin where hair follicles are located, so they will never appear on the soles of your feet or the palms of your hands. Keratosis pilaris is most commonly found in the arms and thighs. Plus, it can extend to the forearms and legs.

Other associated symptoms include:

  • Mild redness or redness around the bumps
  • Skin irritation and itching
  • Dry skin
  • Sandpaper-like bumps
  • Bumps that can appear in different colours depending on skin colour (flesh-coloured, white, red, pink, brown, or black)

What causes keratosis pilaris?

Keratosis pilaris results from the buildup of keratin, which is the protein that protects the skin from infections and other harmful things. The buildup forms a plug that prevents hair follicles from opening, but doctors don’t know what triggers the buildup.

If you have dry skin, you are more likely to develop keratosis pilaris. It is usually worse in the winter months when the humidity is lower in the air, then it may wane in the summer. It often affects people with certain skin conditions, including eczema (also called atopic dermatitis).

How do dermatologists treat keratosis pilaris?

This skin condition is harmless, so there is no need to treat it.

If itching, dryness, or the appearance of your skin bothers you, treatment can help. A dermatologist can create a treatment plan that addresses your concerns. Below is a description of what a treatment plan might include:

Relieve the itch and dryness: A creamy moisturizer can soothe itching and dryness. Most saturating creams used to treat keratosis pilaris contain one of the accompanying fixings:

  • Urea
  • Lactic acid

Diminish the bumpy appearance: To reduce bumps and improve the texture of your skin, dermatologists often recommend exfoliation (removing dead skin cells from the surface of the skin). Your dermatologist may recommend gently removing dead skin using a loofah or an exfoliating kit at home.

Your dermatologist may also prescribe medication that removes dead skin cells. The medicine that can help often contains one of the following ingredients:

  • Alpha hydroxy acid
  • Glycolic acid
  • Lactic acid
  • A retinoid (adapalene, retinol, tazarotene, tretinoin)
  • Salicylic acid
  • Urea

The medicine you use for your peeling may also contain a moisturizer that can help with itching and dryness. To treat the bumps, some patients may need areas of keratoderma. This medicine softens the bumps and reduces redness.

Lasers may work when moisturizer and medicine fail: Laser or light therapy can be used to treat keratosis pilaris. Your dermatologist may recommend one type of laser to reduce swelling and redness. Another type of laser may improve the texture of your skin and reduce discolouration, including brown spots that may appear when the bumps are removed.

To get the best results from a laser treatment, your dermatologist may add some micro-peeling sessions to your treatment plan.

About the maintenance plan

Treatment cannot cure keratosis pilaris, so you will need to treat your skin to control the bumps. Your maintenance plan might be as simple as using the medication twice a week instead of every day. Another option might be to switch to an over-the-counter moisturizing cream.

What is the result for individuals with keratosis pilaris?

For many people, keratosis pilaris will go away over time, even if you choose not to treat it. Clearing tends to happen gradually over many years. There is no way to tell who will clearly see keratosis pilaris.

Keratosis pilaris home remedies

If you do not like the look of your keratosis pilaris, there are some techniques you can try at home. Although the condition cannot be cured, self-care treatments can help reduce bumps, itching, and irritation.

  • Take warm baths: Taking short, warm baths can help open and loosen pores. Rub your skin with a stiff brush to remove the bumps. Limiting the time you spend in the shower is important, as long washing periods can remove natural oils from the body.
  • Daily exfoliation can help improve the appearance of the skin. Dermatologists recommend gently removing dead skin with a loofah or a pumice stone, which you can buy online.
  • Apply hydrating lotion: Preparations containing alpha hydroxy acid (AHAs) such as lactic acids can moisturize dry skin and encourage cell regeneration. Some dermatologists recommend products such as Eucerin Professional Repair and AmLactin, which you can buy online. Glycerin, found in most beauty stores, can soften the bumps, while rose water can soothe dermatitis.
  • Avoid tight clothes: Wearing tight clothing can create friction that may irritate the skin.
  • Use humidifiers: Humidifiers add moisture to the air in the room, which keeps the skin moist and prevents itchy irritation. Buy air humidifiers online here.


Keratosis pilaris is a clinical diagnosis.

It reveals the biopsy:

  • Epidermalhyperkeratosis
  • Plugged hair follicles
  • Hypergranulosis
  • Mild superficial perivascular lymphocytic inflammation.


Complications are rare because they are primarily a cosmetic skin condition. Be that as it may, transitory skin staining called post-fiery hypopigmentation (lighter than ordinary skin shading) or hyperpigmentation may happen after the red, aggravated knocks improve or after an impermanent flare. Permanent scarring may rarely occur from picking, aggressive treatments, or other infections.

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