Keratosis pilaris is a common skin condition that is harmless but causes the skin to become rough and develop small acne-like bumps. This skin condition affects the arms, cheeks, thighs, and buttocks. There is no cure for this disorder but an individual can improve the rash by taking care of the skin and avoid using sensitive products. Exfoliating the skin to remove dead cells and dirt can help in management of the condition. Keratosis pilaris forms bumps that are usually white and at times, red though they do not hurt or itch.
While the condition may be harmless, it is quite frustrating since it is difficult to treat. It isn’t often serious and will disappear by the time a person is by the age of 30. But before it disappears, the only kind of treatment is to make sure the skin stays clean and moisturized.
While keratosis pilaris affects mainly the back of upper arms, buttocks, and front of thighs, in less often cases, it may affect the upper back and forearms. In rare cases, keratosis pilaris affects the face, scalp, eyebrows, and other parts of body.
Keratosis pilaris starts at childhood but it can still occur in babies. It gets worse as one gets to adolescence and around puberty. It may improve after puberty and it may disappear in adulthood. However, some adults will have the skin condition in their middle age, for instance, at their 40s and 50s. Nonetheless, this condition is less common in elderly people.
What are the symptoms of keratosis pilaris?
Keratosis pilaris may occur at any age but it is common in young children. The signs and symptoms of this skin disorder are small white or red bumps that occur in cheeks, legs, buttocks, and arms. A person with this skin disorder will experience dry, rough, and at times itchy skin in parts with bumps. It will worsen in winter and in times when the humidity is low since the skin tends to become dry.
Individuals with this condition may have sandpaper-like bumps that resemble goose flesh. The bumps may at times become inflamed and form scarring particularly on face. With time, keratosis pilaris will resolve on its own. The patches of skin affected by this condition have tiny spiky bumps that look white, skin colored, or red. The patches have spotting that looks like chicken skin. It may have goose pimples while the skin feels rough like some sandpaper. Keratosis pilaris cannot be spread from one person to another.
Causes of keratosis pilaris
This skin condition is inherited from parents and runs in families. When one parent has this condition, there is about one in two chances that the children they will have will inherit it. It is believed that keratosis pilaris occurs when there is too much build up of keratin on hair follicles of skin.
The excess keratin will block the hair follicles with hard rough skin. Keratin is the protein that is found on outer layer of skin. When the hair follicles are blocked with plugs of hard and rough skin, the pores widen and they give the skin a spotty appearance. Keratosis pilaris is mainly associated with some other dry skin disorders such as ichthyosis and eczema.
Treatment of keratosis pilaris
Since keratosis pilaris isn’t a serious condition, in most cases, no special medical treatment is needed. In case you feel concerned about the look of skin, you may want to consult with a specialist in skin diseases or a dermatologist. Much of the treatment is aimed at reducing complications that may develop. Care needs to be taken to ensure the scaly plugs do not worsen. The skin should be exfoliated gently and moisturized. One may need to use non-soap cleaners to avoid drying the skin.
Some off-label treatment may be used so you may want to consult with your doctor. While some products have not been approved in treatment of keratosis pilaris, they have shown positive effects in relieving the symptoms. However, these can only be used when you have received adequate advise from a doctor. Treatments such as use of microdermabrasion, chemical peels, and retinol creams derived from vitamin A have shown the propensity to help people in the past, and therefore a doctor may consider recommending them to a patient.
Ensure you take proper care of skin and prevent anything that may cause irritation or worsen the plugs. With proper skin care, you can be able to live with this condition. With time, it will be able to disappear and the skin gets to normal.
Keratosis Pilaris – Pictures