Some people call it “chicken skin,” because of how it resembles that bumpy skin you see on a raw chicken. Others just call it “skin bumps.”
Nobody likes it, but how do you get rid of it?
What Are Those Skin Bumps?
The condition is called “keratosis pilaris KP,” and don’t worry—it’s a common skin disorder that affects a lot of people. It causes those small, rough skin bumps on your skin, usually around the upper arms, or on the cheeks, thighs, or buttocks. It looks a little like goosebumps, except it doesn’t go away without treatment.
The condition often appears in people who have dry skin conditions, or things like atopic dermatitis. The American Academy of Dermatology says that the bumps are actually “plugs of dead skin cells.” For some reason, the follicles on the outer arms (or wherever the bumps appear) don’t naturally exfoliate as they should.
The bumps may feel rough and dry, and may be more noticeable in wintertime, with all the dry air. The color of the bumps may vary too, from tan to white to red to brownish black. Sometimes these bumps look like a rash, and they may itch a bit like a rash, too.
Fortunately, the condition is harmless, and won’t cause you any other problems or complications.
What Causes Keratosis Pilaris?
Scientists aren’t sure yet what causes this condition. It often begins in early life, and may show up before a child turns two years old. Other times, it can come on with puberty, affecting adolescents. Usually it fades in adults, but some adults may have it, too, particularly on the legs and buttocks.
There are certain factors that can increase your risk of developing KP. If you have family members with the condition, you may be more likely to get it. Having asthma, eczema, and hayfever also increases your risk. Those who are overweight or obese are also more likely to be affected.
The condition is not harmful, and is not contagious. It’s simply a result of dead skin cells clogging the pores (or hair follicles).
How to Help Skin to Look Better
Though KP isn’t harmful, most would agree that it isn’t attractive. Is there anything you can do?
First, see your dermatologist. There are some other conditions that may look like KP, so it’s important to get a diagnosis so you’re sure you know what you’re dealing with.
Once you’ve confirmed that it’s KP, it’s time to start treating your skin. Try the following steps to gradually enjoy a healthier look:
- Exfoliate, but don’t go crazy: Since the bumps are the result of clogged pores, it would make sense that exfoliation would help. Dermatologists caution you not to go crazy with the scrubbing though. Over-scrubbing can irritate and injure your skin, which could make the condition worse. Instead, regularly exfoliate with a gentle cleanser and a soft skin brush. Use a wet brush in circular motions over the area, then rinse. You may also want to use a cleanser with salicylic acid to help clean out the pores.
- Apply lotion immediately: Immediately after you get out of the shower, apply a moisturizing lotion with natural ingredients that will truly moisturize your skin. Look for those with natural oils and anti-irritating ingredients like oat extract. (Our Body Repair Lotion works great!)
- Use an anti-aging serum with fruit acids: At night, you may want to apply an anti-aging serum with natural fruit acids, as these will help gently exfoliate while you sleep without irritating the skin. Look for glycolic acid, lactic acid, and salicylic acid.
- Repeat the process: Get used to regularly cleansing your skin with a skin brush, and moisturizing immediately after. Then apply your fruit-acid serum as needed.
Meanwhile, try to avoid scratching your skin or being too rough with your skin, and give it time—with a regular routine of exfoliating and moisturizing, you should notice improvement.
How do you treat irritating skin bumps?