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Keratosis Pilaris: Appearance, Causes and Treatment

Keratosis Pilaris: Appearance, Causes and Treatment

by Azka Munir · May 18, 2021

Keratosis Pilaris is a skin condition that is more like a variant of the normal skin of humans.

It isn’t a harmful condition but it makes the skin dry with bumps and rough patches.

They are more apparent on the cheeks and upper arms.

While this condition isn’t serious, you cannot treat or prevent it. Though you can cope with it.


Symptoms and Appearance

Keratosis Pilaris is also known as chicken skin because of its appearance.

You are likely to get them on your thighs, upper arms, buttocks and cheeks.

However, this condition is more common in children and may exacerbate during winters.

keratosis pilaris symptoms

This condition does not cause any pain in the body.

However, the bumps are not that great to look at.

The tiny red bumps resemble a plucked chicken’s skin.

Wherever, these tiny red bumps are, there are also dry rough patches of skin.

Moreover, you will feel slight irritation and irritability around these bumps.

Redness and pinkiness may also appear around the bumps.

These bumps are also similar to sandpaper. Hence, they feel like goose flesh.

Furthermore, they are not necessarily red or pink. In fact, their color can differ according to your skin tone.

You can also get white, brown and black bumps as well as those that are like the color of flesh.

While the condition causes dryness it also worsens in dry weather.

Hence, it will exacerbate in winters when the weather is dry and humidity is low.

Furthermore, it can also increase for few women during pregnancy.

However, it is most likely to stop from occurring by the age of 30 as it is more common in children.

Another variant of it is faciei et colli which has defined patches.

You may think,

Is there a place where I will not get these dry patches and bumps? 

The answer is Yes!

You will find these bumps and rough patches on areas of skin with hair follicles.

That is most of your skin but not the soles of the feet or the palms of your hand.

Therefore they occur on your arms, thighs and legs. Though you still have to take care of your skin, hair and nails.

Hence, it is related to your hair follicles. Want to know more about why is that so? Read below!


Keratosis Pilaris Causes

Your hair contains a protein that protects it from infection.

Keratin in your hair follicles keeps any harmful substances at bay.

However, an excess buildup can cause you this condition.

This is because it blocks the hair follicle’s opening.

keratosis pilaris causes

Though when the hair protein keratin increases in the amount it happens to block their path by clogging the pores (which are the opening).There is no definite cause of the excess buildup.

But it may appear as a result of other skin conditions and dermatological diseases like eczema (atopic dermatitis) or genetic factors.

Anyone can get this condition, however, its onset is commonly found in people with dry skin.

Furthermore, if you suffer from hay fever, obesity and celiac disease in your family, and ichthyosis then you are likely to get chicken skin.

Additionally, this condition usually begins in late infancy. For some, it may begin during adolescence.

However, it will clear up for most people with Keratosis Pilaris by their mid 20’s or 30’s.

Some other facts show that it can flare up during puberty in teenagers.

The same can also happen during pregnancy, hence hormonal changes do have an impact on the severity of the condition.

The skin color may also have something to do with it as it is more commonly found in people with fair skin.

Since chicken skin usually clears by the age of 30 is treating it even worth it?

While there is no ultimate cure to it and it is usually resistant to treatment, certain dermatological treatments and remedies can help reduce its appearance.

Therefore, treatment for Keratosis Pilaris helps to cope up with the appearance of the bumps and patches and doesn’t exactly disappear them.

Find out what you can use below!


Keratosis Pilaris Treatment

It isn’t hard for your doctor to figure out Keratosis Pilaris face and Keratosis Pilaris arms.

They will instantly find out in a look without any tests.

Then they will recommend some dermatological treatments and remedies to help alleviate your condition.

Though you can also try some home remedies to improve the appearance of the dry patches and bumps.

cream treatment

Dermatological Creams and Treatment

Keratosis Pilaris creams can help reduce the itchiness or irritation you may occasionally feel because of the rash.

They can also remove dead skin cells that accumulate on the rash.

Creams to remove these dead skin cells contain:

  • alpha hydroxy acid
  • salicylic acid
  • urea
  • lactic acid

These ingredients help in exfoliation.

Hence, they remove dead skin cells. Though alongside they also moisturize the skin treating the dryness.

However, these acids are strong enough to lead to redness and irritation.

Therefore, Consult your doctor before using them and do not use them on children.

In order to exfoliate your skin and cleanse off the dead skin cells, you can also try to use treatments such as:



This procedure sands away the outer layer of the skin and exfoliates it thoroughly.

It not only provides exfoliation but it can also improve your overall appearance and skin texture.

Therefore it can make your chicken skin less visible.

Additionally, you will see a reduction in acne scars, hyperpigmentation and wrinkles, age spots and fine lines.

A diamond tip handpiece is especially useful in gently exfoliating as well as suctioning the dead skin.

Microdermabrasion is an intense treatment for exfoliation.

Begin with topical creams but if you want results that last longer then consider this treatment.

chemical peel

Chemical Peels

Another exfoliation technique is the chemical peel.

It helps to remove the outer layer of skin which has dead skin cells.

A new layer grows back which is much smoother and finer.

You can not only remove dead skin cells but also wrinkles, acne scars, and any discoloration of your skin.

The chemical peel varies from light, medium to deep.

A deeper chemical peel will give better and lasting results if you want to achieve smoother skin after removing the dead skin cells.

Other than that, you can also use laser treatment, pulsed dye laser and creams that prevent the blockage of follicles and plugged follicles.

Ingredients such as Vitamin A (also popularly known as retinol or topical retinoids) stimulate cell turnover.

However, retinol is not recommended for pregnant women. Hence, consult with your doctor before taking it.

It is not ideal when you are nursing and may rather lead to dryness and irritation.

You may feel that your treatment is working when you keep applying the cream and it can reduce the appearance of the bumps, however, they may come back as soon as you stop using them.

Therefore, you should also look into some home remedies.

home remedies for keratosis pilaris like moisturizing

Home Remedies

Warm Showers

Chicken skin happens because pores are clogged. Warm water helps to unclog those pores.

More gentle scrubbing will also reduce the bumps and exfoliate the dead skin cells away.

However, make sure that your bathing time isn’t long and you don’t bath or shower using hot water.

Both of these can strip your body of its natural oils that prevent it from dryness.

Since dryness can exacerbate the condition then you should take short baths of about 10 minutes.

Moisturize The Skin

While you may continue to use topical creams, you should also add a moisturizer to your skin care routine.

Apply it as soon as you finish showering.

Use products containing glycerin, petroleum jelly that prevents any dryness.

They trap moisture hence, your best bet are thick moisturizers.

Use lotions with alpha hydroxy acid to encourage cell turnover.

Moreover, also use rose water to control any inflammation of the skin.

Use Exfoliators But Don’t Scrub Harshly

You will not be able to cure chicken skin by rubbing it harshly.

Use mild exfoliators and remove the dead skin cells with help of a loofah.

Do not try abrasive or harsh soaps and aggressive rubbing near the hair follicles.

This will only worsen the condition by causing irritation.

Hence, be gentle on your skin and lather it with good ingredients, exfoliators and moisturizers.

humdifying air

Humidify the Air

If you live in a place with cold and dry weather then you should bring some humidity in the room.

You can do this by using a humidifier that can add much-needed moisture to the air of your space.

Dry air and less moisture in the air will further dry out your skin.

Hence, use a humidifier to prevent flare-ups due to dryness.

Do so especially in winters when the air is naturally drier.

Don’t Wear Tight Clothes

Tight Clothes can cause friction.

If your skin is affected by Keratosis Pilaris then you would not want the situation to worsen.

Hence, you need to protect it from the friction of tight clothes.


You can alleviate the appearance of Keratosis Pilaris but you cannot cure it unless it totally disappears by the age of 30.

Its appearance may reduce over time and you may see lesser bumps as you follow the home remedies.

However, your skin will only be free of it when it disappears on its own.

Therefore, keep using the treatments and remedies to decrease its appearance but after consulting your doctor.

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