A little while ago I wrote a piece for www.beautyscene.nl about Keratosis Pilaris. If you suffer from this skin condition you get lots of small red bumps on your upper arms, face, legs or back. Although it is a harmless skin condition, it can be very frustrating. That evening dress doesn't make you feel as attractive if your arms look like chicken skin and feel like sand paper! Luckily there is something that can be done about it...
Keratosis Pilaris is more common than you think. Around 40% of people suffer with it. Amongst young adults this is even as much as 60-80%. Funnily enough the name Keratosis Pilaris is not well known. But if you see it you recognise it immediately! If you suffer from Keratosis Pilaris then you have loads of small often red bumps and the skin feels rough, almost like sandpaper. The bumps look like goose bumps and are often referred to as these. The most common place is the upper arms, but you also see them on the upper legs, back and the cheeks.
How do these actually arise and more importantly how can you get rid of them?
The bumps you see with Keratosis Pilaris are hair follicles which are being blocked with keratin. This keratin is a normal component of the skin, but in people with this condition there is an over production of it. It is actually the maturing process of the skin cell (keratinocytes) which is not running smoothly. If you suffer from this, the chances are that other members of your family also do. So Keratosis Pilaris has a genetic component. You also see this more often in people who suffer from allergies and eczema.
Although Keratosis Pilaris cannot really be "cured" it usually becomes less prominent the older you become. You can also do some things to help improve it.
- You can prevent the small blockages by using an exfoliant. The best option is salicylic acid. You can use 1 or 2% on your face, and 3-6% for the rest of your body.
- It is best not to scrub, by doing this your skin can become dried out and this can make it worse.
- The more dry your skin is, in general the more you suffer from this. This is the reason why the symptoms are usually worse in the winter than in the summer. So keep your skin well moisturised. Use where possible un-perfumed products and apply a richer cream directly after washing. A very suitable product is niacinamide because this repairs the skin barrier and lightly exfoliates.
- Soothing ingredients such as liquorice root and green tea can calm the red bumps down.
- A cream containing vitamin A acid can also help. You will need a Doctor's prescription for this.
If the above mentioned measures are not helpful then see a Dermatologist. He or she can look and see if a treatment such as a chemical peel, laser or photodynamic therapy could help. The article in Beautyscene is called, Keratosis Pilaris, what is it?
(Dr. Jetske Ultee- Research Physician Cosmetic Dermatology)
You can also read the blogs:
'different types of pigmentation',
'do you have rosacea?',
'removing dead skin cells. An exfoliant or scrub?',
'the secret to exfoliating: glycolic acid or salicylic acid?',
'spots. Should I go to the Doctor or not?', and
'enlarged pores remain enlarged pores'.