medical keratosis pilaris

Keratosis Pilaris

Keratosis pilaris (KP) is a common skin condition, which appears as tiny bumps on the skin, which look like ‘plucked chicken skin’. Others mistake the bumps for small pimples and try to squeeze them. These rough bumps are actually plugs of dead skin cells, and most commonly appear on the upper arms and thighs but can appear anywhere. Children may have these bumps on their cheeks. Children and teenagers are most likely to have this skin condition; it may flare during puberty and they may grow out of this condition as they get older. If the itch, dryness, inflammation or appearance of KP bothers you, treatment can help. Dry skin can make these bumps more noticeable. In fact, many people say the bumps clear during the summer only to return in the winter. If you live in a dry climate or frequently swim in a pool, you may see these bumps year round. Other risk factors include relatives with the condition, asthma, dry skin, eczema, hay fever, or some medications.

◦ This skin condition is harmless. If it is bothersome, it can be treated topically with chemical exfoliants (remove dead skin gently without exfoliating).
◦ A moisturizing cream or ointment especially after bathing while the skin is still moist; this seals the water from the bath/shower into the skin so it can heal.
◦ Ammonium lactate cream or lotion (5% or 12%).
◦ Urea cream.
◦ Lactic acid cream.
◦ Alpha hydroxy acid creams.
◦ Glycolic acid lotions.
◦ A retinoid cream or gel (adapalene, tazarotene, tretinoin).
◦ Topical salicylic acid preparations.
◦ Weekly exfoliation may help, but it is not recommended to do this more than once per week.
◦ If you stop the treatments, the bumps often return.