Keratosis Pilaris & Solutions

Do you suffer from bumpy skin? More so bumpy skin on the backs of your arms, thighs, butt area, or maybe your face? Well, you could potentially have Keratosis Pilaris or Follicular Keratosis. I wanted to talk about a subject like this because skin conditions affect a large number of people and can cause emotional and physical discomfort. We all want to look our best and certain conditions make it challenging sometimes.

Now, I am by no means a Dermatologist. These solutions are what have worked for me and what I would recommend to others. Take my opinions for what they are, opinions. If you are seriously concerned, see a medical professional.

Background & Causes

Keratosis Pilaris is a condition in which your skin produces too much keratin. This keratin will will block your hair follicles and cause rough patches and acne-like bumps on your skin. Sometimes, this is referred to a chicken skin. Keratosis Pilaris is very common and is usually self treatable.

Close-up image showing keratosis pilaris
Image is sourced from the Mayo Foundation

This condition usually affects those who have very dry skin or when your skin becomes dryer in the winter months. It also is more common in people who have skin conditions, such as eczema. Other causes are unknown at this point, but it is often harmless and can be self managed.

Image of keratosis pilaris
Image is sourced from the Mayo Foundation

My Solutions

I experience keratosis pilaris on the backs of my arms, sometimes on the backs of my thighs. I have eczema that worsens in the winter months. I also have chronically dry skin. That combo makes me a huge target for keratosis. Keratosis does not cause me any discomfort, other than for cosmetic purposes. If my skin gets very dry, it may itch in that area, but nothing too severe.

In my efforts to reduce these bumps, I have tested out multiple options in order to find the best method to reduce this condition. I do want to mention that this condition can not be cured, but it is treatable. Mayo Clinic states that the condition may go away with age, but it is not a guarantee. In order to improve the appearance of your condition, you need to continually use these solutions.

  1. Use warm water versus hot water in your showers or baths. Hot water will dry out your skin more and could irritate that area. You should also limit your time in the water as well.
  2. Be gentle with your skin and do not harshly exfoliate. Harshly exfoliating or rubbing could irritate that condition more and cause the bumps to become inflamed like whiteheads.
  3. Try a medicated cream that contains AHA (alpha hydroxy acid). This cream needs to be applied twice daily. Continue to use this as sudden discontinued use will make the bumps reappear.
  4. Moisturize. This step is extremely important. Often when we experience acne, the first thing we think we need to do is dry out that area. Excess oil sometimes leads to acne. However, since keratosis pilaris is not acne, although it may give that appearance, drying out the skin will only make the condition worse. You can use products that contain salicylic acid, as it dissolves the skin clogging debris (keratin in this case), but you need to follow up that treatment with a heavy moisturzier. I recommend using the Gold Bond Ultimate Daily Therapy Cream for Rough & Bumpy Skin. This cream has AHA but also moisturizes a ton. Otherwise, opt for a thick moisturizer that contains lanolin, petroleum jelly, or glycerin.
  5. Get and regularly use a humidifier. Again, a huge factor in to what triggers keratosis pilaris is dry skin. Low humidity in the air will dry out your skin and affect your condition. Adding moisture back into your home will help aid in you efforts to battle this skin condition.
  6. Finally, avoid friction that you may get from tight clothes. Wear loose fitting clothing that will not irritate that areas that are affected. As mentioned before, irritating your keratosis pilaris can cause the bump to become inflamed like whiteheads.

Final Tip: Absolutely, under no circumstances, should you “pop” or extract the bumps that look like pimples. Again, these are not pimples that you get on your face or are any type of acne. Popping the bumps will only irritate your skin more and could leave you with unsightly scars.

My Favorite Products

Here are a list of products that I have used to combat my keratosis pilaris. Your choice in products is totally up to you and you may have to try a few different things in order to find what works best for your condition.

Lush Scrubee

img_0847I talked about this product in my favorite Lush products post. You can find that article here. This is a gentle enough scrub that can be used on a daily basis but it is also jam packed with great moisturizers. That combination is a great weapon in the fight against keratosis pilaris. Remember, scrub gently!
DIY Body Scrub

Another scrub option is one that you make yourself. I like to go this route because then I then I know what ingredients are in my scrub. Artificial fragrances and chemicals can irritate your sensitive skin. I have shared a few recipes on my blog before for some DIY scrubs, you can find those here and here.
Gold Bond Therapy Cream

img_0845This cream is a must if you suffer from this skin condition. This is a daily cream that contains AHA and is also super moisturizing. If used once or twice daily, you are guaranteed to see results in your skin in about a week. For me it usually takes a few days.  Remember, you have to continually use this in order to see results!
Coconut Oil

Another great moisturizing option is coconut oil. Coconut is great for the skin and I use it in a lot of my scrubs. I use this to moisturize my whole body and take care of super dry skin. I highly recommend getting a jar of this from your local grocery store (must be unrefined and virgin) and slathering this all over your body in the winter months.

Salicylic Acid Spray

img_0846Finally, it is beneficial to get a body spray that contains salicylic acid. This acid will dissolve skin clogging debris. After using this I would follow up with either a cream like the Gold Bond or some coconut oil. I’m a broken record right now but your skin has to stay moisturized!
Final Thoughts

Once again, even though I have stated this many times in the article, I am not a doctor. I am not a medical professional. If you believe that you have a serious skin condition or other problems go see a doctor. These thoughts are based solely on my experience and my research. Take them for what they are, opinions.

Keratosis Pilaris can totally be managed if you take care of your skin properly and use some of the recommended products. If you are still unsure, go do some of your own research as the internet contains a plethora of information. My main tips would be to exfoliate (gently), moisturize, use warm water versus hot, get a humidifier, and wear loose fitting clothing.

I recommended the above products as they are gentle enough for use on keratosis pilaris and they have helped me improve my condition. These products or some other combination similar, should be used on a daily basis. Keratosis pilaris is a condition that cannot be cured but is treatable. Should you stop using these remedies your condition will probably worsen or go back to its original state.





Images are sourced from Target, Ulta Beauty, and Lush Cosmetics. Medical images are sourced from Mayo Clinic.



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