Keratosis Pilaris is a medical condition that affects your skin. It is not a serious condition, however it can be annoying. When a person has keratosis pilaris you will notice small red bumps on the skin. It commonly occurs in women, children, and those that have certain medical conditions. But, it can happen to anyone regardless of age, race, or gender.
Keratosis Pilaris generally occurs during puberty, childbirth, and pregnancy. As children age it will usually resolve itself. But, unfortunately there are some that will be affected by this skin condition for most of their lives. It affects over 50% of the population worldwide.
Generally it will appear on your face, legs, buttocks, and arms and is often misdiagnosed as acne. When it appears on your face it can actually scar your skin. Many who have this skin condition find that it gets better during the summer. Then during other seasons, especially winter, it sadly returns, only more intense. At least it is not contagious.
Symptoms of Keratosis Pilaris
- Often occurs in patches that give you a look of having constant goose bumps.
- Your skin may also a little feel course like sand paper, rough.
- Development of small papules around your hair follicles.
- The bumps are usually skin colored or white but can turn red because of inflammation.
- The papules are small and about the size of a grain of sand, one to two millimeters.
- There may be a thin small red ring surrounding the white bump or papules.
- The areas affected can become lighter or darker than the surrounding skin.
The small red bumps on the skin are not usually painful and they don’t itch. Unless, they are irritated by other things or become inflamed.
Causes of Keratosis Pilaris
The cause of keratosis pilaris is a buildup of the protein keratin, which is found in your nails and hair and is the material that makes up the outer layer of your skin. This buildup can form a plug in the hair follicles, which can give your skin a bumpy appearance. Many times there is no identifiable reason why some get it and some don’t. In some cases it is hereditary. If one of parents had keratosis pilaris then you are more genetically inclined to also get it. Some think that it is caused by dry skin, but all your dry skin does is cause the red bumps to have a more rougher feel to it. However, some people with medical conditions like eczema, asthma, and seasonal allergies are prone to having dry skin and this may make you more susceptible to this skin condition.
Diagnosis of Keratosis Pilaris
If you think that you have keratosis pilaris it may be worth seeing a doctor or dermatologist to make sure. They can do this by examining the skin plugs made by the buildup of keratin. These little skin plugs are often called “horny plugs.”
Home remedies for Keratosis Pilaris
- Wash your face several times a day, especially before you go to bed, with soft soaps and pat your face dry.
- One important thing to remember is that you can make the problem worse if you scrub your skin too rough so make sure that you wash your skin and towel off gently after your shower.
- Keep your skin moisturized, especially during the winter.
- Exfoliate your skin gently to get rid of dead skin cells using a loofa or exfoliating cream.
- Refrain from using harsh cosmetic products on your skin.
- Expose your body to sunshine for fifteen to twenty minutes daily.
- Keep the temperature in your home between 68 and 70 degrees F to make sure the air inside is not very dry during the winter months.
- Make a home face pack with the ingredients of two tablespoons sour cream to which is added a teaspoon of granulated sugar. After mixing it gently rub it in circular motions on the affected areas, rinse off with warm water after ten minutes.
- Lactic acid will help to remove the buildup of keratin so instead of using creams with this ingredient that could cause skin irritations use yogurt instead. It is a natural component in yogurt so apply it to affected areas for fifteen to twenty minutes, then rinse off with warm water.
- Improve your diet by including lots of vegetables and fruits that are rich in vitamins A and E along with foods like walnuts and salmon that are a good source of omega-3 essential fatty acids.
- Try to avoid allergens that can aggravate keratosis pilaris such as pet dander, fluoride in toothpaste, harsh detergents, dust mites.
- Keep your body well hydrated by drinking plenty of water, which will also help to flush out unwanted toxins from your body.
About treatment for Keratosis Pilaris
There is no treatment that will get rid of this condition. But generally there is no need to treat it. There are some self-care tips and medicines that can help reduce the look of those small red bumps on your skin though. If you are concerned about those small red bumps affecting your appearance there are some prescriptions that can be prescribed.
- Ammonium lactate—this can help to soften the feel of your skin and soften the plugs
- Lotions or creams with Urea—this may sound gross but it is a urine protein that can help to reduce any skin irritation and help to soften your skin
- Vitamin A or Retinoid creams—these can help to unplug your hair follicles
- Low strength topical corticosteroids—these can be used on any areas that could scar, such as your face.
These treatments have to be applied daily if you want to see a reduction in your appreance. However, they will not cure or remove the condition.
After you have been diagnosed with keratosis pilaris there is no need for any follow up visits with your doctor or dermatologist. Unless the small red bumps on your skin become irritated or infected or you are on a prescription medication to help treat this skin condition.