What Is Keratosis Pilaris

What Is Keratosis Pilaris, or Chicken Skin?

What is Keratosis Pilaris?

Chicken skin! That is the unpleasant name given to a common skin problem known medically as keratosis pilaris (KP). The condition is characterized by small, rough areas of skin that some say resembles acne. Keratosis pilaris is usually found on the cheeks, arms, buttocks and thighs and is usually not considered to be a serious condition, according to the Mayo Clinic. It occurs when keratin, a protein found in the skin, accumulates in hair follicles resulting in firm, hard plugs. The bumps generally do not hurt or itch, and are white or pink in color.

Keratosis pilaris often affects people who also suffer from eczema or who have very dry skin.  It also appears to run in families. According to the National Library of Medicine, chicken skin is usually worse during the cold winter months, but may seem to disappear altogether during the summer. Researchers estimate that 50 to 80 percent of adolescents and about 40 percent of adults experience KP at some point. Many do not even realize that there is a medical name for the condition or that it can be treated. Individuals often outgrow the condition by age 30, however, even without treatment.

How Can It Be Treated?

Fortunately, something can be done to minimize the disagreeable appearance of chicken skin. Prescription medications, moisturizers, or laser therapy are used by dermatologists to effectively treat the condition.

The Mayo Clinic recommends that chicken skin sufferers use mild soaps and avoid vigorous scrubbing which can not only irritate skin, but actually exacerbates the condition. Instead, individuals should dry off gently, and apply a moisturizer containing glycerin, lanolin, or petroleum jelly while the skin is still damp. Topical creams containing glycolic acid, urea, or Vitamin A have also been found by researchers to alleviate KP. Many of these creams can be purchased over-the-counter, or a doctor may prescribe a stronger version. Keeping the air moist with a humidifier helps too.

Treating keratosis pilaris (and managing it) usually is an ongoing process, however. Sufferers know that bumps can begin to reform even with effective treatment. Happily, people frequently outgrow the condition by age 30, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Now that you know what keratosis pilaris is, if you suspect that you have it, check with a doctor to get a clear diagnosis. Discuss a treatment plan with the physician and follow their guidelines. This sometimes-embarrassing condition can be treated effectively. Or, make a free skincare consultation with the skincare experts at Vivia Center. We will give you a personalized plan to get healthy, rejuvenated skin.

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