Keratosis Pilaris: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Keratosis Pilaris: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

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Keratosis pilaris, sometimes known as “chicken skin,” is a common skin disorder that causes bumpy patches to form on the skin in patches. These bumps have a rough, uncomfortable feeling. These seemingly harmless lumps or pimples are actually just clogged hair follicles caused by dead skin cells. They can also take on a reddish or brownish hue at times.

The upper arms, thighs, cheeks, or buttocks are the most typical locations where keratosis pilaris can be found. It is not contagious, and the bumps that appear on the skin do not typically cause any discomfort or itching.

This problem is known to become worse during the winter months when the skin is more likely to become dry. It is also possible for this condition to become worse during pregnancy.

This benign genetic skin disorder has no known cure, but there are a few treatments available that can help alleviate its symptoms or stop it from growing worse. Keratosis pilaris will normally go away on its own by the time a person reaches the age of 30, at the latest.

Everything you need to know about this skin ailment is included in this article.

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What are the symptoms of keratosis pilaris?

The outward manifestation of keratosis pilaris is the one that draws the most attention. The apparent bumps that form on the skin are comparable to goosebumps or the skin of a chicken that has recently been plucked. Because of this characteristic, people often refer to it as “chicken skin.”

The bumps can occur anywhere on the skin where hair follicles are present; however, they will never appear on the palms of your hands or the soles of your feet since these areas lack hair follicles. The upper arms and thighs are the most typical locations for the skin condition known as keratosis pilaris. When it gets out of hand, it can spread to the forearms and the lower legs.

Additional signs and symptoms related to it include the following:

skin that is itchy and irritating, with minor pinkness or redness around lumps

Dry bumps on the skin that have the texture of sandpaper and can develop in a variety of colors depending on the person’s skin tone (flesh-colored, white, red, pink, brown, or black)

Keratosis pilaris causes

This harmless skin ailment is caused by an accumulation of keratin, a protein found in hair, in the pores of the skin.

Keratin from your body hair becomes trapped in the pores of your skin if you have keratosis pilaris. This prevents new hair follicles from being able to emerge and grow. Because of this, a tiny hump develops on the area where a hair normally would be. If you were to pick at the lump, you could discover that a single body of hair has begun to appear.

Keratin accumulation can be caused by a number of different skin problems, including atopic dermatitis, as well as genetic diseases. However, the specific etiology of keratin accumulation remains unknown.

Who can develop keratosis pilaris?

Chicken skin is a condition that is common in females, youngsters or teenagers, people of Celtic origin, and people who have the following conditions:

dry skin

conditions such as eczema, ichthyosis, hay fever, and obesity

This skin ailment can affect anyone at any age, however, the incidence rate is highest in young children and teenagers. The first signs of keratosis pilaris typically appear in late childhood or during puberty. It begins to improve in a person’s mid-20s, and in the vast majority of cases, it is fully gone by the time they reach their 30s.

Hormonal shifts can bring on flare-ups, and they can do so during both pregnancy and adolescence. People with lighter skin are more likely to get keratosis pilaris than those with darker skin.

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How keratosis pilaris is diagnosed

A medical history review and a physical examination are required to make a diagnosis of keratosis pilaris. Simply examining the affected region is often all that is required to establish the diagnosis for a skin doctor, also known as a dermatologist. The following are some of the considerations that go into making a diagnosis:

your age, how it appears, and the regions that it affects are discussed.

There is no official testing available to verify the diagnosis.

How to get rid of keratosis pilaris

It is still unknown whether keratosis pilaris can be treated in any way. In most cases, it gets better on its own as time passes. The appearance of keratosis pilaris can be improved with a few different therapies, but in most cases, the condition is unresponsive to medical intervention. It could be several months before the situation improves if it does improve at all.

Dermatological treatments

Because of the keratosis rash, your skin may feel itchy and dry, and your dermatologist may suggest a moisturizing treatment to help alleviate these symptoms and enhance the appearance of your skin. There are many topical lotions available for purchase over-the-counter as well as via prescription that can exfoliate dead skin cells or prevent hair follicles from becoming clogged. The treatment that is most effective for you can be determined by a medical practitioner, such as a doctor.

If you don’t currently have a dermatologist, our FindCare service on Healthline will help you connect with dermatologists in your region if you don’t already have one.

Urea and lactic acid are both frequently found within moisturizing treatments as active components. These substances work synergistically to loosen and eliminate dead skin cells, as well as to soften and nourish dry skin. Other treatments that a dermatologist might recommend include the following:

Treatments like microdermabrasion, which is a vigorous kind of exfoliation, chemical peels, and retinol creams

However, you should be aware of the components that these lotions contain and see a medical professional before using them. Some topical treatments available only with a doctor’s prescription contain acids, which can lead to a variety of unwanted side effects, including the following:


stinging \sirritation \sdryness

There are also some experimental therapeutic alternatives available, such as photopneumatic therapy and vascular laser treatment. Both of these treatments are currently being researched.

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Can keratosis pilaris be prevented?

There is no way to avoid getting keratosis pilaris. However, maintaining a program of moderate skin care can help prevent flare-ups and reduce the look of the condition. For instance, moisturizing your skin with a cream or ointment that does not contain oil will help avoid the clogged pores that are a contributing factor in the development of keratosis pilaris.

Keratosis pilaris home remedies

There are a few treatments for keratosis pilaris that you can perform on your own at home if the appearance of the condition is bothersome to you. Even though there is no cure for the ailment, there are ways that symptoms like pimples, itching, and irritation can be managed with self-care.

Taking warm baths: Taking warm baths, even if they are only a few minutes long, can help clear pores and loosen skin. However, you should try to keep your bathing time to a minimum because prolonged submersion in water can cause the body’s natural oils to be stripped away.

It is recommended to exfoliate the skin at least once every day to assist improve its appearance. Loofahs and pumice stones, both of which can be purchased online, come highly recommended by dermatologists for the gentle removal of dead skin.

Apply a hydrating lotion: Lotions containing alpha hydroxy acids such as lactic acids help moisturize dry skin and stimulate cell turnover by acting as a hydrating agent. Products like Eucerin Advanced Repair and AmLactin, both of which are available for purchase online, come highly recommended by several dermatologists. Glycerin, which can be bought at most places that sell beauty supplies, can also be used to smooth bumps, while rose water can calm skin inflammation.

Wearing garments that are too tight might generate friction, which can irritate the skin, therefore try to avoid wearing clothes that are too tight.

Utilize humidifiers: Humidifiers give moisture to the air in a room, which can help retain the moisture in your skin and prevent itching flare-ups. Humidifiers are available at most home improvement stores.


Keratosis pilaris is a skin ailment that typically affects people at a young age. Because of the appearance of the illness, it is frequently referred to as “chicken skin.” Even though there is no treatment for it, it usually goes away on its own by the time a person reaches the age of 30.

In the meanwhile, there are specific actions that can assist you in managing it. Consult a dermatologist to figure out the most effective course of treatment for it.

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