Keratosis pilaris spread over the back of the arm.

What is Keratosis Pilaris?

Keratosis pilaris, also known as KP, is an extremely common skin condition that affects almost three million people worldwide. Despite its commonality, not much is known about this chronic, long-term skin condition, and many people who have it may not even realize that their skin is abnormal.

To learn more about keratosis pilaris from the experts at Avail Dermatology, keep reading below.

What is Keratosis Pilaris?

Keratosis is a common skin condition that causes the skin in certain areas to have a bumpy appearance, often described as “chicken skin.” By far, the most common location is on the upper outer arms, but less commonly, it can affect the outer thighs, and lateral cheeks on the face. These bumps are caused by an build-up of keratin, , which is the protein that is forms the outer layer of the skin. In KP, the keratin builds up into tiny “mounds” around individual hair follicles. .It is an extremely common condition, particularly in children and adolescents, with some estimates as high as 50% to 80% of adolescents showing some degree of KP. It often worsens in winter when the skin is dry, particularly in patients who also have eczema, a common finding.

Generally, KP improves with age and is less common in adults, though still not rare. Generally, KP does not cause symptoms, although in rare cases it can lead to skin irritation and peeling.

KP appears to be a genetic disorder, and many patients have a family history of KP. There are some studies suggesting that abnormal genes that control the production and function of keratin may be responsible for the condition.

How is Keratosis Pilaris Treated?

Just as it is not truly known what causes KP, there is also no known cure. The good news is that, most often, keratosis pilaris disappears with age and will go away on its own.

However, there are several ways to help manage your symptoms if they are a burden to you. Follow these steps to do just that:

  • Keep your body moisturized. This remains the hallmark of therapy for KP. Moisturizing reduces the appearance of the bumps and prevents peeling and scaling. Some moisturizers may be more effective for KP. These include alpha hydroxy acid moisturizers, which contain ingredients like lactic or glycolic acid. By accelerating exfoliation, they may reduce the bumpy texture of the skin.
  • Start new daily habits. Along with moisturizers, try out warm water instead of hot water for your bath, and add moisture to your home with a humidifier.
  • Work with your doctor. More resistant or bothersome cases of KP may need additional treatment. Work with your trusted dermatologist to help formalize a plan that will be best for you and your skin. Your physician will be able to recommend the best products and help you to avoid practices that may not lessen your keratosis pilaris.

If you would like assistance with managing your keratosis pilaris, then reach out to the trusted dermatology experts at Avail Dermatology. We’ll be happy to formulate a management plan that is just right for you and your skin.

Give us a call at 770-251-5111 or click here to schedule an appointment.