Keratosis Pilaris: What it is and how to treat it. #KeratosisPilaris #Beauty #Skincare

(photo courtesy of www.simplyhealthtoday.com)

Keratosis Pilaris: What it is and how to treat it. 

Keratosis pilaris (KP) is an annoying skin condition that affects millions of people. It is essentially a buildup of excess keratin (or skin cells, keratinocytes) in the lining of the hair follicles. Because of the buildup the follicle becomes plugged and often reddened and somewhat inflamed looking. KP usually appears when you are a child. It usually occurs on the back of the arms, the legs and the buttocks, but can appear anywhere on the body. This condition is often referred to as "chicken skin" because of the way it makes the skin look like a plucked chicken. You may also notice that your skin feels rough, like sandpaper. Dry, itchy skin is another sign of KP. I can tell you from experience that my skin is extremely dry and always has been. 

KP can be extremely annoying and hard to get rid of without any sort of intervention. It is hereditary and is not a malignant disorder. Mainly it is just frustrating to deal with. It presents as red or white bumps because the hair follicle becomes so hardened with keratin that the hair follicle almost looks like an acne lesion. However, it is different than acne. It is generally treatable though. 

There are various types of KP that may be more difficult to treat and require a trip to a dermatologist. They are called: keratosis pilaris atrophicans faciei (face), erythromelanosis follicularis faciei et colli (pigmented variation on face and neck). Ulerythema ophryogenes (eyebrows), keratosis follicularis spinulosa decalvans (scalp) and Atrophoderma vermiculatum folliculitis ulerythematosa reticulata (pitted scarring of cheeks). Again, these types are more rare and require a biopsy. The type I am discussing today is the general kind that can be treated with over the counter methods. These kinds of KP would likely be treated with a pulse dye laser or laser assisted hair removal. 

There are two OTC (over the counter) ways you can treat it: either through physical or chemical exfoliation. It just depends on which one you are most comfortable with and your body might respond to one better than the other. There are many different treatments for KP, here are three that I have either tried or know to be effective:
  • Baiden Mitten ($48.97): this mitten is used as an exfoliator post shower. It is a physical exfoliator but works by removing the dead skin via scrubbing. Make sure to use it on damp skin for best results. I have used this and found it worked okay but not great at getting rid of my KP. I honestly prefer a chemical exfoliant. Others have tried this with good success though. 
  • First Aid Beauty KP Eraser Body Scrub 10% AHA ($28.00): this works via chemical and physical exfoliation, so it is a win-win. And it is a very popular product. It contains a combination of glycolic and lactic acid at a level of 10% along with pumice buffing beads to help decongest the hair follicles. I have not tried it personally but knowing the ingredients, I feel this would work very well for KP. And I have heard great things about this from other people who have used it. Glycolic acid is a well known exfoliant and good for any skin type. It is great for loosening up keratinocytes. Lactic acid is also good for helping to decongest and deeply exfoliate the skin. The pumice beads will be good at smoothing out the bumps themselves. 
  • Eucerin Roughness Relief Lotion ($9.69): this is the product I have tried for my own KP and I know for a fact it works and works quickly. The main component is urea and the other is lactic acid. I like this because I have found that using a scrub alone doesn't work for me. It only encourages the cells to grow faster and makes my arms bumpier (that might just be me). To be honest though, my KP isn't as bad as it used to be. That might be why I can get away with just using a lotion. I found this lotion worked in days. Literally. This lotion also has moisturizing ingredients like glycerin and ceramides to soften the skin too. One reason I like this lotion so much is that it moisturizes and relieves the KP at the same time. And the price is a steal. 
When treating keratosis pilaris, don't give up. You may not see instantaneous results. Keep going though. The only thing is you will have to keep treating it. KP is a condition that doesn't seem to get that much better with age. Well somewhat. I used to have it all over my body and now it is relegated to just the back of my arms (hormones can affect it). That seems to be where it congregates the most on people for some reason. Either way, the best treatment is to exfoliate with a chemical or physical means and to moisturize. That should take care of the issue. If that doesn't then you likely need to go to a dermatologist because it might not be keratosis pilaris, or it is possible that you might have one of the variants mentioned above that require a dermatologist's assistance. Or it might be something else. Message me if you have any questions.

Until Next Time~

Marie Papachatzis

 

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