Almost half of the population sports the benign but somewhat-unsightly skin condition called keratosis pilaris. Commonly known as “chicken skin,” keratosis pilaris occurs when keratin, a type of protein that helps protect the skin, builds up and plugs hair follicles. This creates patches of bumpy skin, sometimes red in color, which most often appear on the arms, thighs, and rear. It is not entirely known what causes keratin buildup. Thankfully, on its own, keratosis pilaris is not a sign of bad health, and it usually disappears by age 30. But until then, it can be quite an annoyance.
While the condition cannot be cured, there are several ways to help relieve its severity and potentially keep it at bay. Unfortunately, there is no one solution and results may vary from person to person. If you feel like ridding yourself of keratosis pilaris is worth the consistent effort it takes, now is the time to start trying out a new beauty regimen.
Method #1: MoisturizingThe most important weapon in your fight against keratosis pilaris is moisturizing the skin. Exfoliation, explained in Method #2, may seem like the clear choice, but softening the skin is actually the best way to reduce those little bumps. It can be a long and difficult journey, however. There are options no matter your budget, but it can be hard to find the right product. You may find that using a simple daily moisturizing lotion or cream can help diminish your keratosis pilaris adequately. If a regular lotion doesn’t seem to help or if it even worsens your condition, try a lotion specifically for sensitive skin.
Those with a severe condition may also consider using urea cream, topical retinoids, or products that contain lactic acid. It is best to consult a dermatologist first as these products can be powerful, but each does boast non-prescription options. Urea cream is mainly used to soften dry, calloused, cracked skin. Topical retinoids are essentially vitamin A creams, as vitamin A is an important part of nutrition for the skin. Lactic acid, finally, helps dissolve and loosen the keratin in your hair follicles.
One last method for moisturizing the skin is the use of oils. Coconut or vitamin E oils in particular are recommended. Simply rub the oil into your skin up to twice daily.
Method #2: Exfoliation/Dry-BrushingAnother common treatment for keratosis pilaris is exfoliation. However, resist the temptation to use the most abrasive exfoliant or loofah you own in an attempt to erase the bumps away. Being too harsh with your exfoliation will only damage your skin, especially after prolonged use, and likely lead to problems with dryness. A slightly rough sponge is a better tool than a loofah for this purpose. Exfoliating soaps or scrubs, which may contain very small beads or seeds, are also an excellent item to consider.
As for scrubs, you can even make simple ones at home with just sugar and honey or used coffee grounds and olive oil. Apply either to dry skin and then rinse with warm water. Both of these scrubs can help remove debris plugging hair follicles, as well as improve circulation and firmness.
A particular type of exfoliation that some swear by is dry-brushing. Use a long-handled, natural bristle brush and gently scrub in circles along the body, with each swipe angled towards the heart. Daily dry brushing will gently exfoliate, improve circulation, and even encourage the lymphatic system’s waste removal.