Keratosis Pilaris (KP) is a common, harmless skin concern, affecting nearly a third of people, which can be particularly problematic in the winter months. It is usually an inherited condition that can sometimes be found alongside other skin issues such as ichthyosis and eczema. It is characterised by red, bumpy skin often affecting the upper, outer arms and thighs.
What is the cause?
KP develops due to excess keratin (a protein found in the skin) accumulating in the hair follicles, resulting in the formation of scaly plugs. The skin itself can feel rough and may have the appearance of goose bumps. Sometimes symptoms such as redness and itch can occur.
KP has a characteristic appearance and often the diagnosis is made by simply looking at the skin. Whilst there is no treatment or cure, as such, many people find their skin condition improves over time; it is more common in childhood and adolescence. Measures taken to improve skin dryness will also help KP.
How can one improve the appearance of KP?
- Avoid foaming cleansers and use fragrance-free, emollient washes.
- Moisturise the body regularly using emollients with ingredients such as urea, lactic acid and salicylic acid. Aim to do this at least once a day after your bath or shower and increase the frequency of use in the winter months when the weather tends to be cold.
- Don’t take long, hot showers or baths which can dry the skin out further. Stick to tepid or lukewarm water for skin cleansing.
- Speak to a dermatologist to discuss whether a prescription retinoid may be of value.
- Laser or light treatments (e.g. pulsed-dye laser or intense pulsed light) may temporarily reduce redness.
Products I think are useful (no conflict of interest and no payment received) include:
- Ameliorate Transforming Body Lotion
- Ameliorate Smoothing Body Exfoliant
- CeraVe SA Smoothing Cream
- Galderma Calmurid Cream
- NeoStrata Resurface Lotion Plus