Remember when you were little and you would be fascinated by the little lumps and bumps on the underside and back of your arms?
You’d wonder ‘are they pimples?’, ‘are they goosebumps?’ – what are they!? In truth, those little bumps are keratosis pilaris (KP), or commonly referred to as “chicken skin”.
Essentially, Keratosis Pilaris is harmless and nothing to be concerned about. It is just lumpy, bumpy skin, that typically disappears with adulthood. Sometimes Keratosis Pilaris hangs around in adulthood. Under this circumstance, Keratosis Pilaris is inherited from your parents.
As a very common condition, Keratosis Pilaris affects approximately one-third of U.S. population, with severity dependent upon race, genetics and other contextual factors. Dermatologists worldwide agree that it’s not indicative of anything serious. In fact, KP is caused by a build up of Keratin (a protein) on the skin. As Keratin production increases, hair follicles (or pores) are blocked—and lumps and bumps appear.
This condition can also be associated to other skin conditions, such as eczema and ichthyosis. For those with combination skin types, Keratosis Pilaris can become aggravated and appear worse. Therefore, proper skin care is absolutely paramount in order to reduce the frequency and appearance of these little “goosebumps”.
One great way to get on top of this condition is to invest in an organic, perfume free soap which won’t dry the skin out further (contributing to further exacerbation) and to moisturize (once again, try to go perfume free and organic) regularly.
Due to the high build-up of keratin, microdermabrasion tools and treatments are highly effective and the results are often noticeable within a few days. Exfoliation is key! Glycolic acid based products have been endorsed by a dermatologist as a safe and highly effective way to treat KP. The regular use of glycolic acid on Keratosis Pilaris sites works by gradually diminishing the naturally occurring keratin build-up, providing a smoother, softer skin surface. Furthermore, by maintaining a glycolic acid regimen, you are less likely to see the re-appearance of KP.
Microdermabrasion has also been shown to be an effective treatment of Keratosis Pilaris by actively (and noticeably) removing superficial layers of skin burdened with keratin build-up, thus creating Keratosis free surfaces. This procedure can be used on most areas of the body, and is highly effective. I recommend this procedure performed once a month for maximum efficiency.
If you feel that your Keratosis Pilaris is interfering with your confidence, and you have already tried other methods mentioned, please consult with a dermatologist for the best course of action in reducing the appearance of your KP. Topical ointments, medication and supplements may be prescribed to relieve the issue or even prevent ‘flare-ups’.
It’s also important to note (since keratosis Pilaris is not life threatening), a holistic approach, in conjunction with good skin care products, should provide sufficient relief and prevent future flares.