Top 3 Treatments for Keratosis Pilaris

Health problem. Young woman scratching her itchy arm with allergy rashChicken skin. You know you have it. You can feel it on the backs of your upper arms, your thighs, and your booty. Let’s put a less icky name to it. Try keratosis pilaris on for size. That’s right, your bumpy skin has a name and is a real condition of millions of people.

“Keratosis Pilaris (KP) occurs when there is an excess of keratin protein being created by the skin,” says Emily Johnston, certified physician assistant at Sanova Dermatology. “The keratin clogs up skin pores and the result is the bumps that we see on the surface.”

Unfortunately, there is no cure for keratosis pilaris, but there are ways to combat it and make it less noticeable. Some of the top treatments for keratosis pilaris include:

  1. Exfoliants that contain keratolytic agents such as lactic, salicylic or alpha-hydroxy acid
  2. Retinoids such as tazarotene or tretinoin
  3. Laser treatments

Exfoliants help to remove dead skin cells that can build up on the skin and block pores. The ones containing acids listed above also moisturize the skin and help retain that moisture, giving a smoother appearance. Products containing these helpful acids can be lotions or washes. “Often patients will try a combination of these products to improve results,” says Dr. Miriam Hanson, board certified dermatologist in Austin, Texas. “However, be careful. Excessive use can also cause irritation.” If this happens, back off the frequency of use or just use one product. The exfoliation also can be done via a professional chemical peel at the dermatology office, or even with an exfoliating brush.

Retinoids need to be used with care as well. They can cause redness and irritation and you will have to carefully monitor their effects on your skin. They work similarly to the exfoliants in that they clear the dead skins cells but they also boost collagen production.

Laser treatments can be used to reduce redness and inflammation. Not everyone who has KP experiences redness and itching. SOme just have flesh-colored bumps. Laser therapy, using an intense pulsed light, can be used to treat those cases as well because the laser destroys the hair follicle, thereby, getting rid of the keratin deposits. So in either case, the laser option can be of help.

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Treatment of keratosis pilaris often requires some maintenance. Contact us today and let one of our skilled skin care professionals help  determine which treatment regimen makes sense for you.

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