The Skinny on Keratosis Pilaris
One of my friends asked me if I had any advice on treating KP, otherwise known as keratosis pilaris. For years he has experienced red bumps on the back of his arms and legs. Although I had heard the term before, I didn’t have much experience with this common skin condition. While KP is a fairly minor problem and certainly hasn’t adversely affected my friend’s life (I have to say that I have never noticed despite the numerous occasions I’ve seen him in shorts and a tank top), the bumps are pesky and at times unsightly and so it’s only normal that one would want to seek out a remedy.
Red bumps (often referred to as “chicken skin”) associated with keratosis pilaris occur when protein builds up on the skin and plugs the surrounding hair follicles. Most people, like my friend, experience KP on the upper arms and thighs but apparently the signature red bumps can also pop up on the face as well as other areas of the body.
The best way to keep KP under control is by continually exfoliating the affected area to prevent protein from building up. Exfoliation is a simple way to manage the condition although it’s absolutely not a cure.
From what I understand, physical exfoliators such as scrubs can aggravate active KP so they should probably be used as a preventive when the skin is clear rather than as a treatment for existing bumps. Chemical exfoliants like alpha and beta hydroxy acids can be used daily to manage KP and are most effective when applied morning and evening.
One of the few over-the-counter products designed in part for KP sufferers is dr. brandt pore effect. The salicylic acid (a beta hydroxy acid) in the product is commonly used as an acne treatment and is highly effective at shedding dead cells and clearing pore blockage.
Although most salicylic products are indicated for the treatment of acne, they can all be used to treat keratosis pilaris. Alpha hydroxy acids such as glycolic acid can also be used despite the usual indication for dull complexions and fine lines.
I’m willing to bet that many of you out there have keratosis pilaris and don’t even realize it. Often it’s mistaken for acne. I’d love to hear about any experiences and effective treatments from those suffering from KP.