Do you have small, red bumps on the back of your arms, tops of your thighs or even the side of your face? While this condition might resemble acne, this common skin disorder is likely something else entirely: keratosis pilaris, also called “chicken skin”. Unfortunately, unlike acne, which has a wide variety of acne treatment products and information available to help reduce symptoms, even the best dermatologists know comparatively little about this issue. However, many patients and dermatology specialists have uncovered a few steps that can help significantly reduce the condition. Read on to learn how you can get started!
Keratosis pilaris is the result of over-keratinization of the skin, in which the structural protein molecules that make up layers of skin builds up until it clogs hair follicles, causing a slew of red or white bumps. Because the condition often occurs during puberty in patients who have a family history of the disorder, many of the best dermatologists suspect that it is both genetic and affected by hormones. However, until more research is dedicated to keratosis pilaris, most dermatologists and patient agree that the best way to treat the condition is with a skin care regimen that focuses on exfoliation and hydration.
The best dermatologists recommend using chemical exfoliants rather than scrubs and rough wash cloths, as these can irritate and inflame the skin. Instead, look for products that contain glycolic acid and salicylic acid. Body washes designed to treat acne are often a great option.
Many people notice that their keratosis pilaris gets worse in the winter or when their skin is dry. This is because dead cells can’t turn over easily when skin is dry, exacerbating the condition. As a result, many patients and dermatologists swear by coconut oil, which hydrates the skin and helps your complexion retain moisture. Other recommended products contain Vitamin E, lanolin, glycerin, or petroleum jelly.
While you should talk to your local dermatologist before adding this product to your regimen, some of the best dermatologists recommend using Retinol as well to unclog pores and prevent re-clogging. Begin by using a pea-sized amount of the product after cleansing every other day, bearing in mind that it can take at least 28 days to see results. Once you see the product starting to take effect, use it nightly.
If you try these steps and don’t notice any change in your skin after three months, make an appointment with a dermatologist near you. While no solution currently available to permanently cure keratosis pilaris, your doctor may be able to recommend a product or treatment capable of revealing a dramatic improvement of your skin, such as laser hair removal or a chemical peel.