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Rough, dry, chicken-like skin is not damaging to your health, but it can be very embarrassing. The condition is usually caused by keratosis pilaris 12. Fortunately, a number of treatments are available to help reduce the appearance of the condition.
Keratosis pilaris is a common skin condition also known as “chicken skin” 123. It manifests as small, hard bumps on the surface of the skin, usually on the upper arms, thighs, buttocks and, occasionally, the face. The bumps are usually skin-colored, but can be red when irritated. They do not cause pain, but may occasionally itch.
- Keratosis pilaris is a common skin condition also known as “chicken skin” 1.
- The bumps are usually skin-colored, but can be red when irritated.
Symptoms of Infantigo
Keratin is a hard insoluble protein that makes up a large part of the skin, hair and nails. The skin on the body is in a constant state of change, as older skin cells detach to make room for new cells rising to the surface. In keratosis pilaris, the cells do not detach completely 12. They absorb sebum and become lodged in the openings of hair follicles, forming hard bumps.
- Keratin is a hard insoluble protein that makes up a large part of the skin, hair and nails.
- The skin on the body is in a constant state of change, as older skin cells detach to make room for new cells rising to the surface.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, keratosis pilaris is a genetic disorder 123. It is most common in white people of Celtic origin who live in cold climates and people who are overweight. People who already have dry skin problems such as dermatitis or eczema are also more prone to the disorder.
According to MayoClinic.com, up to 80 percent of children have keratosis pilaris 12. After a brief worsening during puberty, the condition tends to alleviate; however, up to 40 percent of adults still have keratosis pilaris 12.
- According to the American Academy of Dermatology, keratosis pilaris is a genetic disorder 1.
Dry Red Circles on the Skin
As keratosis pilaris is a hereditary condition, it cannot be completely eliminated 12. However, exfoliation and intensive moisturizing can greatly reduce the appearance of the bumps. Physical exfoliation with a rough facecloth is most effective when combined with chemical exfoliation. If you use a rich moisturizer after exfoliating, any remaining bumps are softened and made less noticeable. In extreme cases, you may want to see a dermatologist for professional treatment.
- As keratosis pilaris is a hereditary condition, it cannot be completely eliminated 1.
- In extreme cases, you may want to see a dermatologist for professional treatment.
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- MedlinePlus: Keratosis Pilaris
- MayoClinic.com: Keratosis Pilaris
- American Academy of Dermatology: Dry Skin and Keratosis Pilaris
- Thomas M, Khopkar US. Keratosis pilaris revisited: Is it more than just a follicular keratosis?. Int J Trichology. 2012;4(4):255-8. doi:10.4103/0974-7753.111215
- Wang JF, Orlow SJ. Keratosis pilaris and its subtypes: Associations, new molecular and pharmacologic etiologies, and therapeutic options. Am J Clin Dermatol. 2018;19(5):733-57. doi:10.1007/s40257-018-0368-3
- Gruber R, Sugarman JL, Crumrine D, et al. Sebaceous gland, hair shaft, and epidermal barrier abnormalities in keratosis pilaris with and without filaggrin deficiency. Am J Pathol. 2015;185(4):1012-21. doi:10.1016/j.ajpath.2014.12.012
- Liu F, Yang Y, Zheng Y, Liang YH, Zeng K. Mutation and expression of ABCA12 in keratosis pilaris and nevus comedonicus. Mol Med Rep. 2018;18(3):3153-8. doi:10.3892/mmr.2018.9342
- Pennycook K, McCready T. Keratosis pilaris. In: StatPearls. Updated September 13, 2019.
- Sonthalia S, Bhatia J, Thomas M. Dermoscopy of keratosis pilaris. Indian Dermatol Online J. 2019;10(5):613-4. doi:10.4103/idoj.IDOJ_279_18
- Peter Rout D, Nair A, Gupta A, Kumar P. Epidermolytic hyperkeratosis: clinical update. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2019;12:333-44. doi:10.2147/CCID.S166849
- Kootiratrakarn T, Kampirapap K, Chunhasewee C. Epidermal permeability barrier in the treatment of keratosis pilaris. Dermatol Res Pract. 2015;2015:205012. doi:10.1155/2015/205012
- Schwitulla J, Brasch J, Löffler H, Schnuch A, Geier J, Uter W. Skin irritability to sodium lauryl sulfate is associated with increased positive patch test reactions. Br J Dermatol. 2014;171(1):115-23. doi:10.1111/bjd.12893
- Ciliberto H, Farshidi A, Berk D, Bayliss S. Photopneumatic therapy for the treatment of keratosis pilaris. J Drug Dermatol. 2013 Jul;12(7):804-6.
Chris Lombard has been writing professionally since 2009. She has a background in psychology and healthcare. Lombard writes for many mental health related sites, including the peer support site Turn2me.org. Lombard holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from Trinity College Dublin, and is currently pursuing a Master of Science degree in foundations of clinical psychology from Bangor University, Wales.