Keratosis-Pilaris: A Harmless Skin Condition

Photo credit to MD Randy Jacobs

Do you have “chicken skin” that looks like patches covered with tiny and spiky bumps on your skin? If yes, you might possibly have Keratosis-Pilaris. However, there is nothing to be panicked about. Although this is an embarrassing and uncomfortable skin condition, it's also a harmless one.

What you should do is to look for the best home remedies for Keratosis Pilaris. But before you proceed with the treatment or cure, it is imperative to understand what it is and what's causing it.

What is Keratosis-Pilaris?

Keratosis-Pilaris, or KP for short, is an ordinary and quite common skin disorder. It is much common in teenagers compared to adults. In fact an estimated 40 to 50 % of adults and 50 to 80% of adolescents report some form of this skin condition. This is a harmless and non-contagious disorder which can be inherited. It is also often referred to as “chicken skin” due to the simple fact that it resembles the skin of a plucked chicken.

It is characterized by buildup of the tiny bumps in your skin caused by the accumulation of keratin inside the follicles of your hair. Keratin is a powerful and tough creamy white protein found in the top strata of your skin. It is responsible for strengthening your hair, hooves or nails. People usually go through keratin cures to treat damaged hair. It is also an essential component to heal the skin gluing together different layers for a smooth , healthy and youthful appearance. It is also widely used in hand and nail care worldwide.

However an excess accumulation of it over the hair follicles like a little plug creates an unsightly condition, sometimes preventing the hair growing normally, and giving the skin a bumpy and spotty appearance. These tiny rough bumps, each about the size of a grain of sand can be flesh color, red or white. 

The most usual areas of these small bumps are the outer part of the upper arm and back. On the other hand, this condition might also affect face, scalp, eyebrows, buttocks, forearms, upper back and other parts or rarely the entire body. And unlike back acne that mostly affects men, women are more prone to suffer with Keratosis Pilaris.

What Causes Keratosis-Pilaris?

While the particular main cause of Keratosis Pilaris remains unidentified, it usually happens when keratin, the essential protein located in the outer layers of skin is over produced in the body. This condition is called hyper keratinizatinization and it causes the skin to thicken. While the science still needs to fully discover a complete cure for it we do know who is likely to suffer from it.

  1. Research has shown that this condition is mainly hereditary, and you're more likely to be a sufferer if one of your parents has, or had, it. So genetic predisposition plays a great role identifying 50 to 70% of patients with a solid family history of follicular pilaris
  2. The condition may partially be related to hypersensitivity reactions as well as the overall skin dryness and in that sense it is closely related also to dry skin, allergies that cause skin irritation and rash, asthma, eczema, atopic dermatitis and rhinitis. Anyone who suffers from any of these skin disorders will often report that it makes the irritation caused by keratosis pilaris worse.
  3. It's pretty common in all races, but people of Celtic origin are identified with a higher chance of being a sufferer. Females are more susceptible to this skin condition than males.
  4. While babies can suffer from it, it usually starts in early childhood, and gets worse in adolescence as all the hormonal changes occur during the puberty. Luckily it usually improves after puberty, sometimes even disappearing entirely during adulthood. Some people still continue to suffer throughout their 40's and 50's, but it seems to be very uncommon in older people.
  5. Some female sufferers reported that this skin condition worsened during the period of pregnancy, both before and after child birth.
  6. Research shows that keratosis pilaris might also be related to food intake. People who eat large amounts of spicy foods see an increase in the size of red bumps making them more visible. Some patients who eliminated or reduced milk and milk related product intake from their diet showed improvement of their condition.

Keratosis Pilaris Treatment

Even though it is one of the most common skin disorders in the world, surprisingly scientists and dermatologists have yet failed to find a cure for it. Although the condition usually gets better and eventually disappears on its own, especially with age, there are several things you can do to improve its appearance and ease your discomfort. Natural ways of curing it are quite beneficial and will provide with an utmost help.

Everyone should know that this is not a contagious condition and can't be spread from contact with a sufferer. It can range from pinkish to reddish bumps on the cheeks to tiny red bumps which are not irritated but could be itchy at times. It can look like acne bumps which are inflamed, swollen or reddish, and painful in that case. These rough acne-like bumps are blocked pores in which the skin cells harden within the pore causing the inflammation. Although there is no real cure, unclogging the pores and lessening the inflammation could make a big difference in the discomfort level of the sufferer. Also proper diet and using natural remedies will aid tremendously to lessen the burden and pain that come with this frustrating skin condition.

The best methods involve reducing the dryness of the skin, keeping it moisturized and exfoliated. Here are a few things you can do to establish a regular routine of exfoliation and moisturizing:

  1. If you use soap to clean your skin, change it for a non-soap cleanser, as the alkalines in the soap tend to dry out the skin even more eliminating all the natural oil your skin produces to protect and keep itself smooth. 
  2. Soak yourself regularly in warm water, maybe once or twice a week.  But be mindful of the fact that using very hot water in bath or shower will contribute to drying and roughing of the skin, eventually making the problem worse.
  3. After your bath or soaking the affected area in water incorporate some form of exfoliation into your routine. You can rub the affected areas with a rough wash cloth or use a pumice stone to exfoliate the skin. One thing to be careful here is not to rub too hard and remove too much skin, as this will only cause an irritated skin and worsen the condition.
  4. Once the skin is clean and relaxed make sure to apply moisturizing creams. Ideally they should contain exfoliating ingredients such as lactic acid, urea or salicylic acid as well as the enough level of pH. These will not only decrease the roughness of your skin by moisturizing it, but also help to loosen the keratin plugs. Make sure to use these regularly and continuously in order to control your condition. If you find that a method is effective discontinuing it will make the skin condition come back. 
  5. Coconut oil is a wonderful moisturizer for areas affected by keratosis pilaris, and it also contains anti-bacterial ingredients to fight any bacteria which may be present on the skin.
  6. Applying a light layer of fake tanning lotion will improve the appearance and will help you to regain your confidence. Just try it!


    • How to Eliminate Keratosis Pilaris Without the Need of Any Medication.
    • How to Treat Your Child's Keratosis Pilaris in The Special Kids Section.
    • How to Focus on the Root Cause of Keratosis Pilaris - Rather Than Just the Symptoms.
    • A Step-By-Step Regimens To Clear Your KP.
    • 3 Skin Conditions That Mimic Keratosis Pilaris Almost Identically.
    • How to Unleash Your Body’s Own Natural Ability to Heal Itself from All Skin Problems.
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    Chiara White

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