Keratosis pilaris is a common skin condition in youth that is characterized by a blanket of bumps (papules) on the skin. These bumps are not a dangerous skin disorder, and concern is generally due to the cosmetic appearance. The bumps are due to the buildup of dead skin cells around the hair follicles. KP may resemble “chicken skin” or “goose bumps”. The bumps are not painful. In some cases, they can be itchy. KP is quite common in children and adolescents. The main concern for those with KP is the abnormal appearance of the skin. KP most commonly occurs on the upper arms, but can also be seen on the thighs or buttocks.
The good news is that KP usually disappears or improves by the time adulthood is reached. In the meantime, there are ways to treat KP and improve the appearance of your skin. The first goal is to avoid triggering anything that irritates the skin. Steer clear of scratching, using harsh scrubs or exfoliants, or wearing tight fitting clothing. The next goal is to improve and banish any existing KP bumps. This can be done by helping the skin shed dead cells. Dr. Rokhsar can suggest certain skin products for this condition that smooth skin texture and clear up the “bumpy” appearance.
Keratosis pilaris is a common and harmless skin condition that causes small, rough bumps that may make your skin feel like sandpaper. These bumps may look red, brown, white, or the same color as your skin. Sometimes, they can also be accompanied by scaly or dry skin. The bumps are often present on the upper arms, but they can also appear on any other part of the body that has hair follicles, such as the thighs, cheeks, buttocks, and even the face. A few individuals have remarked that these bumps on the skin tend to look like goosebumps or chicken flesh. Although it can be severe in some people, there is no correlation between color and level of severity. If the itch, dryness, or the appearance of your skin bothers you, treatment can help. However, this skin condition is harmless, and treatment is optional.
While there is no known cure for keratosis pilaris, there are ways to prevent the condition from worsening and reduce its appearance. Here are some tips:
By following these tips, it may be possible to prevent keratosis pilaris or reduce its appearance. However, the condition may still persist even with these preventive measures. If you are concerned about your skin or if your keratosis pilaris is causing significant discomfort or distress, we recommend you consult with Dr. Rokhsar for personalized advice and treatment options.
The exact cause of keratosis pilaris is not fully understood, but several factors are believed to contribute to its development.
One of the main causes of keratosis pilaris is the buildup of keratin, a hard protein that protects the skin from harmful substances and infection. When keratin accumulates in the hair follicles, it can block the opening of the follicle, causing the characteristic rough, bumpy appearance of the skin.
Other factors that may contribute to the development of keratosis pilaris include genetic predisposition, certain skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis or ichthyosis vulgaris, and dry skin. While keratosis pilaris is not contagious, it is a harmless condition that may cause some individuals to feel self-conscious or insecure about their appearance.
It is so common that many dermatologists consider it a skin type instead of a medical condition. It usually starts in childhood but becomes more obvious during the teenage years and adulthood. About 50% to 80% of teenagers and 40% of adults will develop these bumps at some point during their lives. It is the most common disorder of the hair follicle in children, and estimates of its prevalence in adults range from 0.75% to 34% of the population.
If you are looking to reduce the appearance of keratosis pilaris, there are several things you can do.
Firstly, it is recommended to limit bath or shower time to about 10 minutes or less, and to use warm, not hot, water. Be gentle to the skin and avoid harsh, drying soaps. Instead, use a mild, fragrance-free cleanser.
Gently exfoliating the skin once a week can also help to remove dead skin cells and reduce the appearance of bumps. However, it is important to be gentle and avoid vigorous scrubbing or removal of hair follicle plugs, as this may irritate the skin and worsen the condition.
Moisturizing the skin daily is also important in reducing the appearance of keratosis pilaris. Using a lotion or cream one to two times a day, especially after bathing, can help to soften the bumps. It is recommended to use chemical-free products like almond oil, jojoba oil, or coconut oil.
Additionally, using a humidifier can help to hydrate the skin, and avoiding irritating, toxic chemical soaps is crucial.
In some cases, a stronger, prescription-strength retinoid like tretinoin may be more effective at removing keratosis pilaris bumps. However, it is important to consult a dermatologist before using any prescription treatments.
Lastly laser resurfacing with the Fraxel laser can help diminish keratosis pilaris in a dramatic fashion. Multiple sessions may be required. Keratosis pilaris on arms, legs and the face can be treated. Dr. Rokhsar was involved in the FDA approval of the Fraxel Restore dual laser and is considered a world authority on laser resurfacing.
Laser treatment may be a viable alternative for improving the condition of your skin if other treatments fail. Laser therapy can help improve the discoloration associated with keratosis pilaris. In addition to laser treatment, chemical peels can also improve the appearance of bumpy skin. Dr. Rokhsar treated keratosis pilaris with the Fraxel laser routinely with great success. Multiple sessions are required.
Laser hair removal, which destroys the hair follicle, may also help with keratosis pilaris on the face. However, there is no guarantee that it will significantly improve the bumpy texture of the skin.
It is recommended to consult with Dr. Rokhsar to determine the best treatment plan for keratosis pilaris on the face.
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