If you’ve been noticing small, reddish bumps on your skin, you may have keratosis pilaris. The good news is that this is one of many common, harmless skin conditions. On the other hand, it can cause uncomfortable itching. You may also dislike its appearance, especially now that summer is approaching. Fortunately, although you can wait for this condition to clear up on its own, there are also several effective ways to treat it.
What Is Keratosis Pilaris?
Sometimes referred to as “chicken skin,” Keratosis Pilaris causes dry, bumpy skin on the backs of arms, thighs, buttocks, and cheeks. These rough patches, the hallmark of this condition, arises because of keratin buildup that accumulates around the opening of the hair follicle and plugs it. Whether keratin will build up depends a great deal on genetics. However, dry skin and conditions that cause it can also lead to or worsen keratosis pilaris.
What Can You Do About It?
For many people, both the appearance and the sensation can be bothersome. As dry skin plays a major role in how pronounced the condition will be, the most effective methods of treating it aim to address skin dryness first. If you have an underlying condition such as atopic dermatitis, getting appropriate treatment from a doctor can help with the keratosis pilaris as well.
Many people succeed with at-home treatments that aim to better moisturize the affected area. Using a scrub to exfoliate can get rid of accumulated dead skin cells. In addition, using a good moisturizer regularly can help cut down on dryness and the resultant bumpy skin. Some have suggested that diet can also affect this condition, recommending added magnesium.
Here are some types of over-the-counter products that can help with keratosis pilaris:
- Lotions containing lactic acid, which dissolves keratin bonds in addition to moisturizing. The key to success with such a lotion is using it daily for a sustained period of time.
- Sulfur soap is another product that can be effective in attacking the accumulation of keratin that causes these bothersome bumps.
- A gentle retinol oil encourages skins cells to replenish themselves faster. This lessens the keratin buildup that occurs with keratosis pilaris.
You may need to try several options before you find a routine that works for you. Even the most popular methods that appear to work for many people may not be the right fit for you. If that is the case, consulting a dermatologist can give you the options you need.
What Can a Dermatologist Do for You?
Dermatologists generally treat keratosis pilaris by prescribing several types of medicated creams. These typically fall into two categories: topical retinoid creams that stop the follicles from getting plugged in the first place and acidic creams that get rid of the dead skin cells after they accumulate. A dermatologist can work to regulate the strength of the cream and customize your treatment for optimal effect. To learn how the professionals at Windsor Dermatology can help you get rid of redness and bumps before summer, make an appointment online or call (609) 443-0530.