Keratosis Pilaris (Chicken Skin): Signs and Symptoms, Treatment and More

Written by Resurchify | Updated on: March 03, 2023

Keratosis Pilaris (Chicken Skin): Signs and Symptoms, Treatment and More

Patches of bumpy, rough-feeling skin can develop on the body due to the common skin disorder keratosis pilaris, sometimes known as "chicken skin." They occasionally have a reddish or brown tint. Dead skin cells clogging hair follicles are the actual cause of these microscopic lumps or pimples.

Common locations for keratosis pilaris include the upper arms, thighs, cheeks, and buttocks. These bumps often do not itch or feel uncomfortable since they are not communicable. Pregnancy may also make this problem worse. This condition is known to get worse in the winter when the skin tends to dry out. Small red or brown pimples on the backs of your upper arms indicate this illness. They might also appear on the buttocks and the backs of your thighs.

Keratosis pilaris can be annoying, but it is not dangerous. The pimples appear similar to acne when dead skin cells become lodged in your pores. The lumps may have heads that resemble pimples in some cases but not all. On the arms, keratosis pilaris pimples are often flat and tiny. Because keratosis pilaris can run in families, it might be challenging to prevent entirely. However, since the bumps are related to the accumulation of dead skin cells, regular exfoliation can help heal them and stop more from forming. In more complex situations, a dermatologist may recommend chemical peels and dermabrasion.

Most of the time, keratosis pilaris is not itchy, despite the bumps feeling dry and rough to the touch. The weather might influence the growth of these bumps during dry, less humid seasons of the year. Regular exfoliation and applying lotion to nourish your skin might still be helpful.

This benign, inherited skin disorder can be treated or prevented from worsening, but no known treatment exists. By the time you get 30 years old, keratosis pilaris will typically go away on its own. You can find all you need about this skin condition right here.

Which Signs And Symptoms Accompany Keratosis Pilaris?

The emergence of keratosis pilaris is its most striking sign. The visible lumps on the skin mimic goosebumps or the skin of a chicken that has been plucked. It is referred to as "chicken skin" as a result.

The soles of your feet and the palms of your hands will never develop pimples since hair follicles can grow anywhere on the skin. Upper arms and thighs are frequent locations for keratosis pilaris. In excess, it might reach the lower legs and forearms.

Other signs and symptoms of it include:

  • A faint pink or scarlet tint surrounding pimples
  • Irritated and itchy skin
  • Arid skin
  • Rough, sandpaper-like lumps
  • Bumps with a range of hue appearances based on skin tone (flesh-coloured, white, red, pink, brown, or black)

The Root Of Keratosis Pilaris

A accumulation of the hair protein keratin in the pores is the cause of this benign skin disease. If you have keratosis pilaris, the keratin in your body hair clogs your pores and prevents the growth of new hair follicles. As a result, a little hump develops over the hairless area. A tiny body of hair might appear if you were to wiggle the bump.

Although the exact source of keratin buildup is uncertain, experts believe that hereditary disorders and skin problems like atopic dermatitis may play a role.

Who Is Susceptible To Keratosis Pilaris?

People with Celtic heritage, women, kids, and teenagers are more likely to have chicken skin than are people with:

  • Hay fever
  • Eczema
  • Obesity
  • Ichthyosis
  • Dry skin

The onset of keratosis pilaris often occurs in late infancy or adolescence. When a person is in their mid-20s, most instances are fully resolved. Although anyone can get this skin ailment, children and teenagers are the ones that do so most frequently.

Hormonal changes during adolescence and pregnancy can bring on flare-ups. Keratosis pilaris is more common in people with fair skin.

How To Identify Keratosis Pilaris?

Keratosis pilaris is recognised based on a physical examination and medical history. Dermatologists, often known as skin doctors, can frequently confirm the diagnosis by examining the injured region. The following elements affect the diagnosis:

  • Which areas it affects
  • Your age
  • What it looks like

There is no official testing to support the diagnosis.

How Can Keratosis Pilaris Be Treated?

There is currently no treatment for keratosis pilaris. You can attempt some treatments to lessen the appearance of it, but keratosis pilaris is resistant to them. With time, it typically gets better on its own. If the disease does improve at all, it might not happen for several months.

Dermatologic Procedures

Your dermatologist could suggest a moisturising therapy to relieve dry, itchy skin and improve the skin's appearance after the keratosis rash. Many topical lotions available over-the-counter and on-prescription can exfoliate dead skin cells or stop hair follicles from becoming clogged. A doctor or other healthcare provider might decide the optimal course of treatment for you.

Urea and lactic acid are two substances that frequently appear in moisturising products. These components work together to soften dry skin and loosen and eliminate dead skin cells. Other treatments that a dermatologist might advise are:

  • Chemical peels
  • Retinol creams
  • Microdermabrasion, an intense exfoliating treatment

However, before using these creams, be cautious of their ingredients and consult a physician. Certain prescription topical creams contain acids that could have unfavourable side effects, such as:

  • Dryness
  • Stinging
  • Redness
  • Irritation

Additionally, there are a few experimental treatment possibilities, including photo pneumatic therapy and vascular laser therapy.

In most cases, keratosis pilaris gradually goes away on its own. You can use any of the many products on the market to make the skin seem better in the meantime. Your doctor might recommend medicated creams if moisturising and other ineffective self-care practices.

Creams For Removing Dead Skin Cells

Alpha hydroxy acid, lactic acid, salicylic acid, and urea are ingredients in creams that help loosen and eliminate dead skin cells. Additionally, they soften and hydrate dry skin. These creams (topical exfoliants) can be purchased over-the-counter or with a prescription, depending on their potency. Young children should not use these creams since their acids could cause skin irritation, stinging, or redness. What is the best course of action, and how frequently to apply it? Your doctor can help.

Creams For Preventing Clogged Hair Follicles

Topical retinoids derived from vitamin A function by encouraging cell turnover and preventing plugged hair follicles. Topical retinoids include medications like tazarotene (Arazlo, Avage, Tazorac, and others) and tretinoin (Avita, Renova, Retin-A, and others). These items may aggravate and dry out the skin. If you are expecting or breastfeeding, your doctor might advise delaying topical retinoid medication or picking a different course of action.

Regular application of a medicated lotion may enhance skin look. However, the situation returns if you quit. Additionally, keratosis pilaris may persist for years even with treatment.

Microdermabrasion Or Laser Therapy

Your doctor can recommend a laser or light treatment if over-the-counter medicines or prescription drugs are not working. It is not a cure for keratosis pilaris, although it may help lower its appearance.

Is It Possible To Prevent Keratosis Pilaris?

Keratosis pilaris cannot be avoided. However, maintaining a mild skincare regimen can help prevent flare-ups and reduce visibility. For instance, avoiding clogged pores that lead to keratosis pilaris can be achieved by moisturising your skin with an oil-free cream or ointment.

Home Cures For Keratosis Pilaris

You can try various methods to treat your keratosis pilaris at home if you do not like how it looks. Although the condition has no known treatment, self-care techniques help lessen breakouts, itching, and irritation.

  • Take a short, warm bath: A warm bath can help loosen and unclog pores. However, it is crucial to keep bathtime brief because prolonged soaks can deplete the body's natural oils.
  • Exfoliate: Daily exfoliation can make the skin look better. Dermatologists advise using a loofah or pumice stone, which you can buy online, to remove dead skin gently.
  • Apply hydrating lotion: Lactic acid lotions, which include alpha hydroxy acids, help hydrate dry skin and promote cell renewal. Rose water can reduce skin inflammation. Most beauty supply stores provide glycerin, which can smooth pimples. You may get AmLactin and Eucerin Advanced Repair online, two products that some dermatologists advise.
  • Avoid tight clothes: Avoid wearing tight clothing because it can irritate the skin due to friction.
  • Use humidifiers: Itchy skin can be kept moisturised and reduced by adding moisture to the surrounding air.
  • Be kind to your skin by avoiding abrasive, drying soaps. Using a washcloth or loofah, gently exfoliate the dead skin. Hair follicle plug removal or vigorous cleaning could irritate the skin and worsen the situation. After bathing or cleaning the skin, gently pat or blot it with a towel to ensure that some moisture is retained.
  • Attempt medicinal creams: Use an over-the-counter lotion with salicylic acid, urea, lactic acid, or alpha hydroxy acid. Dead skin cells are loosened and exfoliated with these products. Additionally, they soften and hydrate dry skin. Apply this item before a moisturiser.

For optimal outcomes while applying a moisturiser:

  • Utilise a ceramide-containing moisturiser.
  • It should be applied to damp skin five minutes after bathing.
  • When your skin feels dry, use it generously.
  • Bring a little moisturiser with you for protection.

Can Dietary Changes Help Heal Keratosis Pilaris?

An accumulation of keratin in the pores leads to keratosis pilaris. A brief internet search turns up blogs written by people whose keratosis pilaris was resolved by changing their diet. Some people cut gluten out of their diets. Others abstain from milk, oils, and spices. Although the anecdotal evidence is persuasive, this notion is not supported by any scientific or medical proof.

There is little evidence linking keratosis pilaris intolerance and food allergies. Some think their keratosis pilaris improved after cutting out gluten from their diet. Nevertheless, no proof exists that everyone would benefit from avoiding gluten-containing foods. You should contact a doctor if you believe your child may be intolerant to gluten, milk, or other foods. It is crucial to identify and handle any food allergies or intolerances correctly.

Getting Ready For Your Appointment

Visiting your primary care physician should be your first step. You might want to make a list of inquiries for your physician. Alternatively, they might suggest that you speak with a dermatologist (dermatologist).

Some fundamental inquiries for keratosis pilaris include:

  • What is probably the root of the symptoms?
  • What additional factors might be causing these symptoms?
  • Is this condition expected to be short-term or long-term?
  • Which course of action is ideal?
  • What are some alternatives to the primary strategy you are recommending?
  • Is the medication you are recommending available in generic form?

What To Anticipate From Your Physician

You might expect to receive multiple inquiries from your doctor. You might be able to set aside time to talk about any points you want to elaborate on if you are prepared to answer them. Your doctor might query:

  • When did the signs first appear?
  • Are the symptoms ongoing or only sporadically present?
  • If anything, what exactly seems to make the symptoms better?
  • What, if anything, does make the symptoms worse?
  • Do your family members' skin changes resemble each other's?
  • Have you or your child ever had hay fever, asthma, or other allergies?
  • Have either you or your child ever experienced eczema?

Due to its appearance, the skin ailment keratosis pilaris, sometimes known as "chicken skin," frequently strikes people when they are young. Although there is no treatment for it, by the time you are 30 years old, it usually goes away on its own.

Specific actions can assist you in managing it in the interim. Discover the most effective methods of treatment by consulting a dermatologist.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is chicken skin the same as keratosis pilaris?

Skin problems like "chicken skin" or keratosis pilaris are common. The hair follicles become blocked by a protein called keratin, resulting in white or reddish lumps on the skin. The tiny bumps might have a dry, abrasive, sandpaper-like feeling.

What treatment for keratosis pilaris works the quickest?

Attempt medicinal creams. Use an over-the-counter lotion that contains salicylic acid, urea, lactic acid, or alpha hydroxy acid. Dead skin cells are loosened and exfoliated with these products. Additionally, they soften and hydrate dry skin.

What gives me chicken skin?

Keratosis pilaris occurs when a scaly plug of keratin blocks the opening of the hair follicle. Plugs typically develop in many hair follicles, resulting in rough, bumpy skin regions. The complex protein keratin, which shields skin from contaminants and infection, builds up and leads to keratosis pilaris.

With keratosis pilaris, what foods should I stay away from?

A brief online search finds blogs written by people whose keratosis pilaris has improved because of dietary changes. Some people cut out gluten and abstain from milk, spices, and oils. Despite the robust anecdotal evidence, no scientific or medical evidence supports this theory.

Is vitamin deficiency a factor in keratosis pilaris?

Your skin's surface lumps could be keratosis pilaris symptoms. These red or white lumps typically develop on the arms, thighs, or cheeks. This illness is frequently inherited, but it may also indicate that you are vitamin A and C deficient.

Are hormones connected to keratosis pilaris?

A genetic predisposition and hormonal changes may play a role in the onset of the prevalent keratosis pilaris (KP). Additionally, it could be linked to a variety of illnesses.

Why is my KP worsening?

KP is more common in those who have dry skin, eczema, or skin allergies. Climates that are dry and cold can exacerbate KP. People prone to KP may see more outbreaks in the winter because of the dry skin conditions. A genetic component to KP also seems to exist.

Which vitamin removes chicken skin?

To prevent the blockage of hair follicles, prescription drugs such as retinoids (vitamin A derivatives; tretinoin and tazarotene are two examples) remove the top layer of dead skin cells.

Do you think gluten causes keratosis pilaris?

Skin conditions like dermatitis, eczema, rosacea, rashes, and keratosis pilaris, popularly known as "chicken skin" on the back of your arms, are brought on by a lack of fatty acids and vitamin A as well as fat malabsorption, which is brought on by gluten harming the gut.

What inherited conditions result in keratosis pilaris?

Patients with atopic disorders, including allergic rhinitis and atopic dermatitis, are more likely to develop KP. KP subgroups are occasionally found in genetically inherited syndromes, including myopathies, ectodermal dysplasias, RASopathies, and neuro-cardio-facial-cutaneous syndromes.

Can diet bring on keratosis pilaris?

Contrary to what you may read online, keratosis pilaris is not brought on by your diet. Doctors list several potential causes for this skin disease, but your food is usually not one of them. Some of the most frequent causes of keratosis pilaris include the following:

  • Your ancestors' genes
  • Age at onset; adolescents and teenagers are more likely to experience it.
  • Having asthma, being overweight, or having skin problems like eczema or ichthyosis Vulgaris
  • Keratosis pilaris does not result from your diet. However, adopting a balanced diet that contains plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates helps promote general health, which includes excellent skin.

What results in skin having too much keratin?

The stiff, fibrous protein keratin is present in skin, hair, and fingernails. Inflammation, pressure, a hereditary disease, or defensive response to it may cause the body to create more keratin. The majority of hyperkeratosis conditions can be managed with medication and preventative actions.

How can I permanently get rid of keratosis pilaris?

You must treat your skin to keep the pimples under control because keratosis pilaris is not curable. Your maintenance strategy could be as straightforward as taking the medication twice weekly rather than daily. Switching to a non-prescription moisturising moisturiser can be another choice.

Is keratosis pilaris contagious?

It is not communicable to have keratosis pilaris. When dead skin cells clog our pores, we develop keratosis pilaris.

What meals lower keratin?

Vitamin A works as a regulator, reducing excess and damaged keratin. Consuming foods high in vitamin A, such as carrots, sweet potatoes, salmon, and liver, can help the body produce less keratin. Additionally, mild skin exfoliation could aid in removing extra keratin.

Do Solar Rays Aid in Keratosis Pilaris?

Increasing the humidity in your home and place of employment during the dry winter months might also be beneficial. In the summer, KP may be less of an aesthetic annoyance for certain people because sun exposure (sunscreen) may also calm it. (Note: Never recommend tanning inside.)

Should keratosis pilaris be popped?

It makes sense to desire to get rid of them for cosmetic reasons, mainly if they are in a prominent place on your body. But, keratin plugs should never be picked at, scratched, or forced out. This might irritate others.

When does keratosis pilaris disappear?

A common condition called keratosis pilaris causes little bumps on your skin, often on your arms, legs, or butt. Bump formation in the skin is due to an excess of keratin. This innocuous ailment typically goes away by age 30 and does not require any treatment. A modest skin care regimen can help in treating dry skin.

Does keratosis pilaris have eczema-like symptoms?

Keratosis pilaris is risk-free (benign). It affects those with atopic dermatitis or dry skin (eczema). It runs throughout families. Winter is typically when the situation is worse, and summer generally is when it gets better.

Why do my arms have bumpy skin?

It can be worrying whenever you have new bumps on your skin. You could think to yourself, "Are the bumps dangerous? Will they vanish? What initially created these lumps?" Arm bumps are rather typical. They usually provide no threat unless they gradually alter or enlarge. The majority of lumps on the arms are brought on by keratosis pilaris. Several potential causes include irritants like folliculitis and inflammatory skin diseases. You should not self-diagnose lumps on your arms due to the wide range of potential causes. However, you can utilise the details provided here to begin looking into the underlying reasons, which you can discuss further with a dermatologist or physician.





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