The majority of people with keratosis pilaris (KP) aren’t even aware they have it. Throughout the world, KP affects around one out of every three people – more commonly in adolescents and in women. It resembles goose bumps in its appearance of small, rough bumps usually forming on the back and outer sides of the upper arms, but they can also appear on the thighs, buttocks or, although uncommon, on the face, which can sometimes be mistaken for acne.
Keratosis pilaris occurs when extra keratin, a natural protein in the skin, accumulates in the hair follicles, clogs the pore and causes a hard plug to form. This ordinarily occurs during childhood, is more obvious during adolescence, but it often disappears by adulthood. Unfortunately, keratosis pilaris is a skin condition that is inherited and is generally pared with dry skin. And with that, it tends to be better or less noticeable in the summer months than in the winter when the air isn’t so dry. It can also occur and/or worsen among pregnant women or show up after childbirth.
Keratosis pilaris is not infectious and other than its unsightly appearance, it’s harmless. The bumps aren’t generally sore or even itch, however, they can become red or even bleed if they are picked or scratched. Just like acne, excessive picking can lead to scarring. To avoid chafing from clothing, wear looser fitting clothing around the affected areas to help minimize marks.
KP is considered to be a chronic, genetic follicular disease without a cure, however, keratosis pilaris treatments are available and many people notice a satisfactory improvement with continued use. Because of the constant buildup of keratin that forms around the hair follicles, it’s not recommended to stop treatment in order to have, the always desirable, unblemished skin.
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