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Keratosis Pilaris

Goosebumps, goose flesh, chicken skin—it’s not just the physiologic response from cold. Keratosis Pilaris is a real skin condition affecting the texture of the skin. “KP” is found in a large number of individuals, often first appearing in childhood and the earlier years of life. However, the condition can persist or develop in a large percentage of adults as well. Although it may be cosmetically displeasing and itchy, this condition is completely harmless and is capable of being treated.

What Causes Keratosis Pilaris?

KP can be found in multiple areas of the body including the thighs, face, buttocks, sides, and most frequently, the upper arms. These areas of the skin show bumps, color change, and a sandpaper-like texture. The small bumps tend to be found in the areas around hair follicles, and is caused by the body’s overproduction of keratin. This keratin production can lead to the plugging of the hair follicles, making the follicles appear elevated and prominent. This condition is commonly linked with conditions that cause dry skin, and tends to be exacerbated by cold weather. KP is one of the diagnostic features of Atopic Dermatitis, a type of eczema that is commonly seen in children.

What Does Keratosis Pilaris Look Like?

There are varying forms of this condition which are correlated with where they appear on the body. Keratosis pilaris rubra is the name given to KP that appears on the hands, arms and legs with a distinctive red color.

One of the interesting things about Keratosis Pilaris is that patients often assume that they are suffering from acne or “bacne.” The red or tan bumps of the KP that cause the discoloration and inconsistencies in the skin can be deceiving, especially considering there is a specific type of KP known as keratosis pilaris rubra faceii that solely develops on the face. The struggles with this skin issue can vary with each patient, but luckily there are ways to treat it.

How Is Keratosis Pilaris Treated?

There is no way to completely cure Keratosis Pilaris, but there are a variety of ways that you may help to minimize the physical appearance of KP. There are many topical creams and skin care products that can help reduce the bumps that occur with KP. These topical ointments and cleansers tend to contain one or more keratolytic agents like lactic acid, glycolic acid, salicylic acid, and tretinoin. These agents break down keratin and are helpful in removing dead skin. Chemical peels can also minimize the appearance of Keratosis Pilaris on the skin. These in-office treatments use stronger concentrations of keratolytic agents to help remove and “peel” the outer layer of skin. A number of laser and light-based therapies can also help with diminish aggressive cases of Keratosis Pilaris.

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At Sanova Dermatology, we strive to help you with all of your skin conditions. If you have concerns regarding your skin, please contact us and we will help you find your skin resolution!