Keratosis pilaris, often referred to as “chicken skin”, is an embarrassing skin problem that affects many. It appears as tiny, red or white bumps in patches, mostly found on the backs of arms and legs. It is often hereditary. It happens when dead skin cells and a protein in your skin called keratin form and then build up in the hair follicles. It is very common and harmless, but it can be annoying. Personally, I have it and have been embarrassed many times when people ask, “What are those bumps?”
The best way to treat keratosis pilaris is by exfoliation and combining physical and chemical exfoliants is your best army against those little red bumps you want to avoid.
Start with a mild cleansing gel when showering. You’ll want to try to get one that is sulfate-free, low-foaming, non-drying and use it with a loofah. Scrub in circular motions for about two minutes and rinse well. Avoid anything that is too drying because it can worsen the problem. After showering, use an alcohol-free exfoliating serum. Buy one with glycolic or lactic acids. Using a spray like Keracalm Smoothing Spray after the shower can help with any irritation and inflammation, and improve the texture and tone of the skin.
There are also brands like DermaDoctor that have different exfoliants and lotions designed to treat keratosis pilaris. I also find that just regular exfoliation with whatever scrub you like is a way to keep your skin much smoother, but the products from DermaDoctor do work very well if you keep it in your skin care regimen.
If exfoliation is not helping and you have a more severe case, you might want to visit your dermatologist for advice on further treatments. Professional microdermabrasion or bio brasion treatments may be helpful for you. These treatments can painlessly lift the outer layers of skin and exfoliation deeply, revealing much smoother and healthier skin.
Remember though, it is impossible to completely get rid of keratosis pilaris if you have it, but these treatments can help it become barely noticeable. Also, some people may have it go away by their 30’s. Lastly, never pick at the bumps because this will just make it worse and can lead to pigmentation or scarring.
Do you have keratosis pilaris? Do you treat it at all? Have you ever been embarrassed by “chicken skin”? Share with us your tried and true tips to keep the bumps at bay.