Keratosis Pilaris

What Is Keratosis Pilaris?

Keratosis pilaris is a common skin condition which causes tiny bumps to form on the skin, often resembling goose bumps or small pimples. In reality, these bumps are dead skin cells. The show up most often on the upper arms, thighs and sometimes cheeks. Although it may not be appealing cosmetically and can be irritating, keratosis pilaris is harmless.

Signs and Symptoms of Keratosis Pilaris?

If you experience this issue, you’ll commonly notice bumps that:

  • Itch and have a rough feel.
  • Are more noticeable or prevalent in winter or a dryer climate.
  • Have different colors, such as tan, white, red, pinkish purple and brownish black.

Some people get only a few flesh-colored bumps, while others may experience breakouts more like pimples or rashes. These bumps can show up anywhere on the skin, but not on hand palms or feet soles. 

Causes of This Condition

Keratosis pilaris is not contagious and results when dead skin cells clog our pores. We have thousands of pores (or hair follicles) and when they become clogged, the rough patches of keratosis pilaris may show up. Kids and teenagers experience this condition more than adults, although it can still continue into our adult years. Some are more susceptible to the condition, including those with:

  • Asthma, eczema or dry skin.
  • Hay fever.
  • Excess body weight.
  • A family history of keratosis pilaris.

Treating Keratosis Pilaris

Although treatment is usually not needed, treating dry skin will help reduce the appearance of these bumps. In fact, many say that their bumps clear up in the summer and come back in the winter, likely due to drier skin. If you decide not to treat these bumps and live in a dry climate or frequently swim in a pool, you may see these bumps year round.

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