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Keratosis Pilaris

What is keratosis pilaris?

Keratosis pilaris is a common finding of numerous tiny rough spots or bumps, usually on the outer side of the upper arms or thighs. It consists of a scaly plug that occurs as old skin cells get stuck in hair follicles as the skin renews itself. It is a harmless condition but may be cosmetically undesirable.

Who gets keratosis pilaris?

Teenagers commonly get keratosis pilaris on the upper arms. Babies may get it on the cheeks. It is uncommon in the elderly. In many people it may be hereditary. It tends to occur in people with sensitive skin and other scaly skin conditions.

What are the common symptoms? The bumps can be red or white but rarely itch or are sore. They can be picked off with fingernails.

What can I do to improve my keratosis pilaris?

  • Moisturize: Apply creams/ointments at least twice daily after bathing with the skin still wet.
  • Exfoliate: Rub with a pumice stone or “Buf-Puf” in the shower.
  • Soak in the tub in lukewarm water.
  • Use mild soaps like Cetaphil® bar soap, Dove® soap, or Lever 2000 antibacterial soap. Usually keratosis pilaris clears up as the person gets older.

What can I do to improve my keratosis pilaris?

  • What medications are used for keratosis pilaris?
  • Moisturizers: Apply cream twice daily that contains urea or alphahydroxy acids. One such lotion / cream is lachydrin ®.
  • Topical Steroids: Apply as directed by your doctor.
  • Retin-A: Apply as directed by your doctor. Redness and peeling may occur.