You know those mysterious little red bumps on the back of your arms? Well, it turns out they have a name: Keratosis Pilaris, or KP for short. While the back of the arms is the most common area to see KP, the skin condition also frequently shows up on the inner thighs, cheeks, and buttocks. This condition is incredibly common, and affects approximately 40% of the world’s population. KP is even more common in children, and as many as 80% of children have experienced this skin condition. The good news is, KP doesn’t usually get worse; in fact, many children grow out of it and have smooth skin once they reach adulthood.
The cause of Keratosis pilaris is pretty straightforward. In the grand scheme of things, KP is benign and is not indicative of any serious condition. Still, those little red bumps aren’t the most aesthetically pleasing, and they can turn your smooth skin into sand paper. Technically speaking, WebMD defines KP as follows: “Keratosis pilaris is caused by a buildup of keratin, the protein that protects skin from infections and other harmful things. The buildup forms a plug that blocks the opening of a hair follicle, but doctors don’t know what triggers the buildup.” Sometimes people refer to KP as “chicken skin” because the bumps can resemble the texture of chicken skin.
Those with dry skin are more likely to have KP because dry skin leads to the formation of the little plug that blocks the hair follicle. Therefore, KP tends to be worse in the winter, when the air is dry. Meanwhile, KP tends to clear up in the summer, when there is more moisture in the air.
Keratosis pilaris doesn’t necessarily have a cure, per se, but there are numerous treatments you can apply to improve the texture of your skin and keep KP in check. At Wasserman Ulitsky Dermatology, we recommend combining the following treatments to help reduce the buildup of keratin and thus reduce the appearance of KP.
Moisturizing, especially after taking a shower, is one of the most important things you can do when it comes to treating KP.
There are a number of over-the-counter skin care products, such as lotions and creams, that will help slough off the dry, dead skin. Products containing lactic acid, glycolic acid, or urea are particularly effective when it comes to exfoliating the skin. Just be sure not to overdo it, and always moisturize after you exfoliate.
If you’ve been struggling KP and aren’t seeing significant improvement with over-the-counter skin care products, be sure to talk to your local dermatologist at Wasserman Ulitsky Dermatology. As skin health experts serving the Venice, FL area, we can provide a number of treatments, including prescription topical ointments, to improve your daily skin care regimen and finally get that chicken skin under control.
At Wasserman Ulitsky Dermatology, we have a number of KP treatment options available, such as prescription retinoids. In rare and severe cases, sometimes laser treatments can also help treat KP. For more information, please give us a call at (941) 484-8222. If you’re interested in making a consultation appointment, feel free to reach out to us at our contact page. We can’t wait to hear from you, and we look forward to helping you manage KP and get that skin beautiful, glowing, and smooth once again.