Keratosis Pilaris

Keratosis Pilaris refers to a common skin disorder that affects people of all ages. The disease presents itself as rough red colored bumps close to the hair follicles on your legs, buttocks, cheeks and arms. Most people who develop this disease remain unaware that it is completely harmless and it can easily be cured. Moreover, it is a common occurrence among healthy people as well. The only problem with Keratosis Pilaris is that it can be cosmetically displeasing.

Keratosis Pilaris is known to affect 40% adults and 50 – 80% of adolescents. In fact, most people who develop Keratosis Pilaris remain unaware of the designated medical term for the disease and mistake it for rashes of some kind. Doctors describe Keratosis Pilaris as a disease that occurs between childhood and adolescence. It might become quite exaggerated during puberty, but it decreases with age.

Those suffering from Keratosis Pilaris are likely to experience seasonal variations with the disease. It might improve during the summer months and the lack of humidity and resultant dry skin might make it worse. The disease is generally limited to single sandpaper type bumps that resemble goose flesh. These bumps might cause scarring or become inflamed in some cases as well.

Who contracts Keratosis Pilaris?

Keratosis Pilaris can be contracted by anyone. Even though it is more common among children and adolescents, the condition can be seen in a number of adults as well. However, females are known to be more frequently affected when compared to men. It is also seen that a large percentage of patients suffering from Keratosis Pilaris have other family members who have the same condition as well.

Signs and Symptoms

Some of the main symptoms of Keratosis Pilaris are –

  • Red or white bumps on your cheeks, arms, legs or buttocks.
  • Worsened condition during the winter months or when you suffer from dry skin
  • Rough and itchy areas on your skin.

Skin with Keratosis Pilaris

When should you see a doctor

In most cases, Keratosis Pilaris never becomes a serious medical condition and seeing a doctor is not necessary. However, if you’re more concerned about the cosmetic appearance and your looks, you can consult your family physician or dermatologist for a diagnosis

What are the main causes of Keratosis Pilaris?

Keratosis Pilaris is generally known to be a result of Keratin in your skin. Keratin is a hard protein that helps to protect your skin from infection and harmful substances. It forms scaly plugs to block the opening of your hair follicles that ultimately results in Keratosis Pilaris. The exact reasons behind the build up of Keratin is presently unknown. However, it is known to occur due to genetic conditions or skin diseases such as atopic dermatitis.

How to cure Keratosis Pilaris?

There is no known cure for Keratosis Pilaris. It is a harmless disease that automatically goes away over time. However, you can treat the disease to improve your cosmetic looks. There are two ways to treat Keratosis Pilaris – direct skin treatments and indirect skin treatments.

1. Treating your skin directly – Direct skin treatments can be done using moisturizers, oils and exfoliation.Bottles of moisturizers and oils

  • Moisturizers are considered to be one of the best ways of treating Keratosis Pilaris. There are several types of moisturizers that you can use to treat your condition. Try out a moisturizer that contains lactic acid. Lactic acid can help you to break up the keratin that has clogged up your pores to cause those bumps. You can also try out topical retinoids. These lotions use a variety of Vitamin A that helps to reduce symptoms of Keratosis Pilaris. Urea cream is another option that can be used. However, make sure that you wash your hands after applying the cream. Finally, a moisturizer that contains glycolic acid should also help in dissolving the buildup in your hair follicles.
  • Oils function in the same way as moisturizers and they can work to soften the keratin in your skin. There a several types of oils that can be used on your skin to treat Keratosis Pilaris. You can try out using coconut oil. Another option is to rub pure Vitamin E oil onto your skin. Both Vitamin E oils and coconut oils can soften your skin and help to reduce Keratosis Pilaris.
  • Exfoliation is another way of treating Keratosis Pilaris. Softening your skin using moisturizers and oils is considered to be the best way to reduce Keratosis Pilaris, but you can actually speed up the process by exfoliating your skin and helping to improve its condition. Look for products containing alpha-hydroxy acids, lactic acid, salicylic acid or urea for most effectiveness.

 2. Treating your skin indirectly – There are a number of ways to treat your skin indirectly.Humidified emitting steam

  • Oatmeal baths can help you hydrate and smooth your skin. Take an oatmeal bath once every week for best results.
  •  Humidifiers are another option. If you live in an area that is known to be dry, you are bound to have extra sensitive skin. In all such cases, a humidifier can go a long way in offering a solution. This machine helps to add moisture into the air and allows your skin to remain soft. Make sure that you use distilled water as the tap water can contain chlorine, nitrate or lead.
  •  Cold and dry weather conditions can dry out your skin and make it extremely rough. Those suffering from Keratosis Pilaris are likely to suffer even more. Make sure that you moisturize your skin twice every day to combat the cold and dry weathers and their effects on your skin.
  •  Sunshine is an excellent medium of reducing Keratosis Pilaris. The main reason why the disease is less noticeable in the summer months is because spending time outdoors gives your body a hormonal boost and helps in removing dead cells from your skin. However, don’t forget to wear sunscreen before heading outside. You would also be wise not to stay under the sun for a long period of time.
  •  Avoid hot water baths as much as possible. Hot water baths can dry out your skin and make it lose a lot of moisture. Warm baths and cold showers are ok, but try to refrain from having hot baths.
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