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Skin Focus: Keratosis Pilaris

Source: flickr.com user ladypictureshow

Source: flickr.com user ladypictureshow

Keratosis pilaris has been called a lot of things—acne, rosacea, eczema, or even a rash, but my least favorite is chicken skin. As a sufferer of this skin condition, it’s bad enough people ask me what’s wrong with the backs of my arms, but calling it chicken skin, that’s just unforgivable. Seriously, it’s like when my doctor called the spine protrusion on the back of my neck a buffalo hump (true story, don’t get me started).

So, let’s stick to the technical terms, shall we. Keratosis pilaris is actually none of conditions listed above, although it is often misdiagnosed as such. In my teens, my dermatologist dismissed it as eczema and sent me home with a body lotion. It wasn’t until my esthetician friend explained the condition that I finally learned what it is, what causes it, and what I can do to improve it. Here’s the breakdown.

What Is It?
Keratosis pilaris is a genetic follicular condition. In layman’s terms, it’s a blockage of the hair follicles in your skin, and it’s your parents fault. It occurs when the body produces too much keratin (skin protein). Keratin blocks the hair follicle, preventing the normal exfoliation of cells, and resulting in small, hard bumps.

What Does It Look Like?

It can manifest itself in different ways, but the three most common are: red, inflamed bumps (keratosis pilaris rubra); rough, bumpy skin with no irritation (keratosis pilaris alba); and a red, dry skin rash on the cheeks (keratosis pilaris rubra faceii). It can appear anywhere, but is most commonly found on the back of your arms, thighs and butt.

How To Get Rid of It
There is no cure, however, you can improve its appearance. Keratosis pilaris treatment includes daily application of a cream or gel with vitamin A, benzoyl peroxide, steroid cortisone, or alpha hydroxy acids. Your daily skin care regimen should also include exfoliating and moisturizing.

You’re Not Alone
Although you may feel like the only one who doesn’t have smooth, beautiful skin, you’re not. In fact, keratosis pilaris affects 50-80% of teenagers and 40% of adults. Do you have it? We’d love for you to share your tips on fighting the bumps. Post a comment below and maybe we can all find some much-needed relief.

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70 Comments

  1. Andrea
    Posted June 4, 2009 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    I have always suffered from KP- I tried absolutely everything (scrubs, which just made open sores on my arms and legs and greasy lotions). I finally found the Glytone Keratosis Pilarisis kit (including the exfoliated body wash and the exfoliating body lotion). It has been a lifesaver! The red bumps are gone! I only wish I had found this in my teens. One warning though, it’s a very strong formulation… I have very dry skin and using both the exfoliating body wash and lotion made my skin peel, I recommend alternating the products!

  2. Posted June 6, 2009 at 12:07 am | Permalink

    Hi, Congratulations to the site owner for this marvelous work you’ve done. It has lots of useful and interesting data.

  3. Jacqueline Cheney
    Posted June 11, 2009 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, we’re trying to cover all the interesting topics that people want to learn about. Let us know if you have anything you’d like us to write about.

  4. Jacqueline Cheney
    Posted June 11, 2009 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    I’ve heard Glytone’s KP kit is a great product to use. I haven’t tried it yet, but I look forward to it. Good to hear it works. I’ll try anything to make the bumps go away :)

  5. Jo, KP survivor.
    Posted June 15, 2009 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    WHITE VINEGAR. WHITE VINEGAR will all but get rid of it… for five minutes. white vinegar got rid of my severe back acne, and now i’m using it on my KPR arms.

    1: pour the vinegar on a washcloth
    2. rub the washcloth on your KP… not to hard! pour more on the cloth if necessary.
    3: let it dry… don’t worry about irritation, it doesn’t seem to for me.
    4: apply a gentle moisturizer.

    thats it!
    but be warned… it will come back. however (comma), its a good treatment for the long term.

  6. Jacqueline Cheney
    Posted June 16, 2009 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the idea. I’m so excited to try it. I’ve been looking for something to do with that white vinegar in my cabinet.

  7. Johannie
    Posted June 20, 2009 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    Mine went away went I stopped eating casein, the main protein in dairy. As long as I don’t eat casein, I don’t get KP. It is truly as simple as that. But, in some people the KP might be triggered by gluten.

    KP is an autoimmune disorder, and autoimmune disorders don’t happen for no reason. Find the trigger, eliminate the trigger, and autoimmune response will go away. But, don’t expect the problem to go away over night. It could take up to 6 months when the offending protein is totally eliminated before the triggered antibodies stop attacking the look-alike proteins in our body.

    Proteins are the triggers to autoimmune problems, in general, not just KP. Common dietary protein triggers are gluten (proteins in the wheat, and other wheat related grains), casein (main protein in dairy), and lectins (glycoproteins) found in legumes (peanuts, beans, cashews, garbonzo beans, etc.)

    Please, do not delete this post. I’m not trying to sell anything. I’m just sharing what I have learned about the connection between diet and autoimmune, in hopes it may help someone else.

  8. Jacqueline Cheney
    Posted June 29, 2009 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    Very interesting Johannie. I love learning about how to really solve a problem instead of just fixing or improving it. Now if I can only give up the dairy I love so much…

  9. Jill
    Posted July 4, 2009 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

    I just stumbled upon this medical term, and there’s no question: I have it all over my thighs. I always wondered why no matter what kind of razor or skin cream I used, the bumps wouldn’t go away. Mine isn’t very extreme, but it does make me a little self-conscious.
    I noticed from a lot of google images that most of the pics were of people with very fair skin- “Irish skin”. I have pale skin too, and I was wondering if it does generally affect the fair-skinned more?

  10. Jacqueline Cheney
    Posted July 7, 2009 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    Jill, yes, it does tend to affect those with fair skin more often than those with darker skin tones. Glad you found this blog post. Hope some of the information and comments will help you find a product to help you get rid of your KP.

  11. ShareBear
    Posted July 13, 2009 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

    I have had this condition since I can remember-age 4….now I’m 36. I am a picker and I have scars on my upper arms, but I would rather have a scab than a gross red inflamed bump. It doesn’t stop me from wearing short sleeves, but from the looks I get sometimes, maybe it should! What has worked for me (when I have been diligent about following a regime) is: aggressive DRY exfoliation with a wooden/natural bristle body scrub brush, followed by moisturizer- I prefer Aveeno. Also, dermatologist once prescribed me a very stinky cream- I think it contained Alpha hydroxy acid, and quite possibly horse pee. My husband hated the smell so much that I stopped using it…I tried it at bedtime but he would wake up and gag! My mom and even friends have given me stuff to try but quite honestly the best is the DRY exfoliation, even with those scratchy gloves you can get from the pharmacy….just have to keep on doing it- I did it every day for months before my wedding, and it made a difference. Also, a little sun helps- maybe just to disguise it, I don’t know. Really not the worst thing to have to fret about- can always wear a shawl or 3/4 sleeve! Or for really big occasions buy the expensive waterproof scar concealing make-up. Good luck!

  12. Posted July 14, 2009 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    Hey Everyone. KP can definitely be difficult to manage. But there is this really good…and cute website that offers really great tips from an expert as well as coupons for AmLactin. Which is a really good product to help manage the dry skin associated with Keratosis Pilaris. You should check it out. And it’s a great site for teenagers who suffer from KP. There are little songs and vignettes about KP and how to help manage it. When you have time, visit http://www.littleredbumps.com. Enjoy! Hope it helps!

  13. Katie
    Posted July 15, 2009 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    Omg thank you, thank you!
    I’m 17 years old and I had no idea there was a name for what I had! Also the fact that even though it isn’t cureable it’s managable is such a confidence saver.

    I have it all over my forearms, thighs and legs. My doctor told me it was eczema but when it didn’t go away after I was given E45 I was just scolded by him for not using it often enough. So thank you again for telling me whats going on.

  14. Meg
    Posted July 21, 2009 at 5:49 am | Permalink

    Just a note to people who are just learning about this. I had this for years as a teenager. My doctor told me that it was genetic and that there was a treatment but it wasn’t really worth it because it smelled horrible (I think he said it was a cream). I didn’t use anything because I was already extremely self-conscious. Since then, and I’m 28 now, it only flares up very rarely and mildly. I don’t do anything to treat it, it just kind of went away. So don’t worry, it could just be temporary.

    On the other hand, I also have a “buffalo hump” that I’ve had since adolescence, and I just now found out what it’s about. Yes the name alone is enough to give you a complex. That’s how I got to this page. Not that you asked, but I never knew, so I’m sharing. It’s caused by too much cortisol (stress hormone) making you deposit fat in unusual places(though mine also feels like a spine protrusion). It seems like it can be genetic, or due to a whole host of other factors. It’s also symptomatic of a few things like Cushing’s disease(benign pituitary adenoma)or medications for some illnesses like HIV. I think it’s the thing I hate most about my body. It doesn’t go away when I lose weight, and from what I’ve read, the only way to get rid it if there’s no obvious cause is liposuction.

  15. Posted August 5, 2009 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    Hi all, I am surprised to see that so many women have this dreadful skin condition. I have dark skin and I do happen to have developed this about 2 years ago.Its very frustrating for a woman especially because you can wear your nice summer dresses and show those sexy legs and neither can you wear shorts. i feel so awful when I have to wear tights on my summer dress or wear long trousers when we go to the beach on a sunny day.

  16. MusashiDude
    Posted August 6, 2009 at 5:40 am | Permalink

    At least I finally know what’s been bugging me since I was a teenager. My dad has it also. If I leave them alone the bumps tend to quiet down.

  17. Jacqueline Cheney
    Posted August 10, 2009 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    Rosha, it’s interesting to hear that someone with dark skin also suffers with KP. It’s rarer, but definitely not unheard of. I understand your frustration. My KP often makes me think twice about some of my clothing choices, but I am hopeful that trying some of the solutions mentioned in the blog I’ll be able to take control of it. I hope you can too.

  18. Jacqueline Cheney
    Posted August 10, 2009 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    MushashiDude, very true about leaving the bumps alone. Although they seem to just scream “pick at me,” we must resist the urge :) Our skin will thank us.

  19. melissa
    Posted August 11, 2009 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    i have it really bad on my back of my upper arms and the front of them.. i have tried acne medicene for it and it makes it worse and deosnt help it.. i just dont know what to do anymore.. i fell very embarresed about my arms so i wear longsleeves and half jackes all the time.. and where i live it is hot everyday and people are like..why is she wearing that.but when i wear a tanktop or short sleeve dhirt they stare and go ewwwwwww you have lots of acne on you.. i can take it anymore…………please help.. i cant afford the crems for it and it gets worse ever day

  20. Darryl
    Posted August 11, 2009 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

    I have what appears to be this…however, mine itch. Is itching part of the syptoms? I itch on and off where these red dots appear.

  21. Jacqueline Cheney
    Posted August 17, 2009 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    Melissa,
    I know it can be an embarrassing condition. As I said in the blog post, the best options for KP is to exfoliate with glycolic acid and to moisturize with an oil-free lotion. You may also want to try some of the suggestions in some of the other comments. Good luck.

  22. Jacqueline Cheney
    Posted August 17, 2009 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    Darryl,
    Yes, sometimes KP can itch, especially if the skin is very dry. However, if itching it excessive, then it may be a rash and not KP. Try applying hydrocortisone cream and see if the itch goes away. If the itch subsides, but the bumps are still there, it’s probably KP. If the bumps and the itch go away, it make have been a skin irritation.

  23. Jacqueline Cheney
    Posted August 17, 2009 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    Laurie Rose, thanks for the additional info. Looks like an interesting site.

  24. Jacqueline Cheney
    Posted August 17, 2009 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    Katie, glad you liked the post. Keep reading. More good stuff to come.

  25. Jacqueline Cheney
    Posted August 17, 2009 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    Meg, that’s so funny that you found us because of my buffalo hump comment. Thanks so much for sharing about the cortisol. That makes perfect sense. I have noticed as my stress levels have gone down, so has the “hump.” Also, as I have reduced my carbohydrate intake, the hump has gotten smaller (refined sugars cause an increase in cortisol). I have also read about herbs and vitamins that can help reduce cortisol levels, but have not yet tried those. Hopefully, we can both beat these body flaws.

  26. Morgan
    Posted August 20, 2009 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    I, too, pick at the KP bumps on my arms. For years I had KP just on the backs of my arms, which was embarrassing, but not too bad. I remember having them at 11 or so. At some point – around 25 – it started to get worse and spread to the fronts of my upper arms too, and to my forearms.

    After I figured out that it was KP, I tried some lotions that didn’t work, and then went to a derm. She said that using a loofah/exfoliator was the worst thing I could do because it was irritating all the bumps and making them redder. She told me to use aqua glycolic body lotion twice a day, throw away the bath pouf, and use Cetaphil antibacterial bar soap in the shower. She said it is a tricky condition to treat, and that it could take 3 months of treatment to see any results (which turned out to be true for me). My KP has definitely improved. The irritation to my forearms has almost gone away – I only get new bumps there once in a while.

    The only thing is, I can’t stop picking! When the bumps come to a head it is really hard for me to leave them alone. I was hoping if someone wrote about how bad it is to pick, it would help me stop.

  27. Jacqueline Cheney
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    Morgan, thanks for sharing your KP experience. Yes, scrubbing often irritates. It’s best to use a chemical exfoliant, like glycolic acid, to help the skin shed quicker and unclog the hair follicles. As far as a blog post on picking, that’s an excellent idea. I’ll definitely write one in the near future. Keep reading!

  28. Halina
    Posted September 4, 2009 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

    Have you tried the PCA “Dry Skin Relief Bar?” My dermatologist gave me a jar of this and I noticed a difference after two or three uses. I’ve been using it for over a year now and my arms are actually SOFT now! Amazing. It is like a miracle in a jar.

  29. Jacqueline Cheney
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    Halina,
    I haven’t tried it, but it sounds great. We do carry it on DermStore.com for only $28. I’ll have to try it. Thanks for the tip.

  30. taylor
    Posted September 14, 2009 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

    I’ve had KP on my arms, and on my legs for my whole entire life. It was something that I had just gotten used to, and dealt with. In the summer the sun somewhat would dry it out, and it would look better. However, during the winter it just looks awful.

    I just received the Made from Earth “Pure Aloe Skin Treatment” in the mail 2 days ago, and using it first thing in the morning, and right before bed has already improved the condition, and made the bumps on my legs almost disappear. When i wanted to purchase this product I read reviews from people and how it worked for some. The point of the matter is, that this product does have the ability to work. My arms and legs, FEEL and LOOK smoother. Smooth skin is something I never thought I would be able to achieve in these places. Also, the bottle is a generous size I dont think I’ll be reordering for another two months. Well worth it.

  31. Jacqueline Cheney
    Posted September 30, 2009 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    Taylor,
    Thanks for sharing what’s working for you. KP can be aggravated by dry, irritated skin. This aloe treatment is probably soothing the skin, reducing the redness and adding essential hydration. As long as that’s all you need, keep it up. However, you may need to use some sort of exfoliating lotion to prevent the KP from coming back. If so, Glytone’s Exfoliating Body Lotion is a great one.

  32. Kristin
    Posted October 4, 2009 at 12:25 am | Permalink

    Nice to know I’m not the only one picking and extremely embarrassed! The reason I found this site is b/c my niece (a sweet 4 year old) told her mom “Auntie has a lot of bug bites on her arm mom maybe you should give her some spray” I just got married and I tried everything to get rid of it before the wedding but nothing really works. I just need to start a support group!

  33. Jacqueline Cheney
    Posted October 7, 2009 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    Kristin,
    Kids can be so blunt :) Glad you realize you’re not alone. Hope some of the information in this posts helps you find the products that will help you control your KP. And yes, support groups are always nice.

  34. Sanna
    Posted October 23, 2009 at 2:47 am | Permalink

    Hi. I have a friend with ankylosing spondylitis which is also an autoimmune disease. He also has these spots but as long as he does not eat milk products or drink alcohol they stay away. AS is often caused by the lack of enzymes in the gut responsible for the break down of sugars which gives an overgrowth of some bacteria which cross-reacts with the gene they have. That is, when they attack the bacteria, they attack themselves too since their gene looks like the bacteria. Maybe this lack of enzymes could also be the cause of problems in KP.

  35. Jacqueline Cheney
    Posted October 28, 2009 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    Sanna, that’s very interesting. I’m definitely going to look into that. Thanks.

  36. Courtney
    Posted November 12, 2009 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

    This is something I have had since my early teens. I am surprised to read above that their are connections with KP and Gluten intolerance as well as KP being an autoimmune disorder. I have found that any sort of SALT SCRUB made of a natural SEA SALT works better than anything else. I always moisturize right after & I can tell in a matter of 5 days that it is clearing up. Unfortunately you do have to exfoliate with it almost every day…no less than EVERY OTHER DAY. Sunshine clears it up too or moderate tanning in a tanning bed.

  37. Jacqueline Cheney
    Posted December 2, 2009 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the tip Courtney. I did try an exfoliating product with sea salt the other day, and you’re right, it worked. DermStore sells a great one, the Eucalyptus Sea Salt Scrub by Sonoma Lavender.

  38. Jen
    Posted December 29, 2009 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    in re Johannie’s comment (7) I agree. I have had KP all my life and just dealt with it. I became vegetarian this last year for other reasons and I can honestly say my skin on the back of my arms is completely clear. I’ve really discovered now how soo much of my health problems that doctors would tell me is no big deal or that there is nothing I can do about (like Eczema I had that all the time and they would just tell me it’s stress and to put a cream on) are actually rooted from our diets. I have clear skin and no digestive problems (I use to have nasty acid reflux) and I know it is completely corelated with my vegetarian diet (I don’t drink milk either and very little cheese which I’m cutting back on).

  39. Kelsey
    Posted February 13, 2010 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

    Surprisingly, i have had KP since i was bored. When my mother held me for the first time, my skin was sort of peeling. As the days progressed the bumps began to appear. the doctor diagnosed me right away with eczema,psoriasis(not badly) and KP. So, you can kinda say, i havent had wonderful skin..ever. in the winter time, my skin sheds. If i wear a black shirt i will have skin flakes on my shirt. Its very embarrassing for me because i am only 16. The KP is everywhere on my body.. and im not exaggerating when i say that. some people think they have it bad because they have it on their arms, but you havent seen bad till you see my body. Recently, my Mother made an appointment with a doctor for auto immune diseases. I could possibly have an auto immune disease that is causing this. My mom has auto immune diseases and my grand father had some too.

    oh ps:
    I tried everything for my KP, nothing worked..so im a strong believer that KP could sometimes be an auto immune disease, you never know.

  40. Kathleen
    Posted April 5, 2010 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    Can I just tell you what a relief it is to know that other people have this? I’m 24 and have had it on my arms for at least 10 years. It’s extremely noticable and looks exactly like the pic. I’m sure I have scars from picking at some of them over the years.

    I’ve found that mine often itch or hurt while in the sunlight or after being in the sunlight. Does anyone else have this problem?

    My mom’s always just told me that my father had it when he was younger- not a big help Mom!! I’m going to take a look at some of the solutions here and try something.

  41. moni
    Posted May 5, 2010 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    i start getting kp when i was 11 n im 16 and i wish i could make kp go away bur i just cant

  42. moni
    Posted May 5, 2010 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    can someone help to get rid of kp

  43. Deena Palacios
    Posted May 17, 2010 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    I just wanted to say thank you b/c I have had this for about 9 months & I didn’t know what it was until now, it’s a little saddening to know that it will never be cured, but thank God there is treatment that works! I will hopefully be able to go to the dermatologist within the next week….Thank God!

  44. Jeanette
    Posted June 21, 2010 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

    I got KP right after I started puberty at 12, (I am now 43) and I still have it. I have it on my legs (upper and lower), my upper arms, and my bum.

    When I was 17, I went to a derm. who told me it was KP. He asked if I had eczema as a child, I told him that I had it as a baby. I also told him that my mom got some fish oil salve from the doc and she said that the salve was the only thing that got rid of the eczema. Anyway, the doc I saw when I was 17 said that eczema and KP are related, but I don’t recall him telling me why.

    My mom told me that her grandma had KP, but neither my mom or dad had it. So, it can be passed down for generations, as that was my great grandmother who had it.

    Over the years I too suffered from embarrassing stares and comments……..kids and adults can be so cruel when they comment on something they don’t understand. This of course lead me to wearing pants and long-sleeved shirts all the time. I live in California, so everyone thought I was a freak, because of wearing those things when it’s flipping hot as hell outside.

    I tried everything from prescription creams and potions to OTC products and loofas, and nothing worked. One day I got the idea in my head to use Bakers Sugar because sugar in general is an AHA. I buy Bakers Sugar because it has a finer texture (because it’s grinded down) unlike regular granulated sugar, Raley’s carries it. That along with a good body moisturizer works really well for me. But like someone else mentioned, different things work for different people. One thing that is universal though, is you have to be consistent in using products/scrubs every day, otherwise it does come back.

    So, here is what I do every day to keep my KP under control:

    I get in the shower and get my skin wet, take the Bakers Sugar in the palms of my hands and wet it enough to make a paste, then I rub in circular motions no more than 45 seconds on each arm, leg, etc. By the way, the longer you leave the sugar sit on the skin, the better it will work, because it is an AHA, just don’t over scrub with it! So, I try to leave it on my skin for a few minutes before I rinse off. Then I use a body wash from St. Ives called Oatmeal & Shea Butter, I don’t use a pouf, I just use my hands. This is one of the most moisturizing body washes I have ever used, I hope they don’t stop making this stuff! I get it at Walmart, but Target carries it too. Then I dry off and use a body lotion from a company called Derma E, called Melon and Ginger Hand & Body Moisture Therapy. I get this from a store called The Vitamin Shoppe, but I think Wholefoods market carries it as well.

    I use the products in this order because scrubbing everyday with sugar can dry the skin because of the AHA’s that are in it, but following up with the moisturizing body wash and body lotion counteracts that.

    So, with one product (Bakers Sugar), you accomplish two things; 1) the act of manual exfoliation, which smoothes the bumps down, and 2) applying AHA’s which help to really go down deep into the pores and clear out the debris. Just remember, that you must moisturize any time you scrub or use an AHA, or in this case both since it does strip the skin of any oils on top.

    This method works for me and is pretty cheap too! I hope this can help anyone who is really suffering with this condition, because it can wear down one’s self esteem, like it did mine for many years until I found my own solution. Best of luck to all of you :)

  45. Sunday
    Posted July 13, 2010 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

    I wonder if I have KP. The picture sure looks like the exact rash that I have, but I have it on the inner part of my upper arms, and a few spots on my torso, under the breasts.

    My surgery was postponed because of this rash! It has been 4 days and it has not gone away. My family doctor said I should just use Dove sensitive soap, even on my hair and scalp, and to see him in two weeks.

    I don’t remember having this kind of rash before. I’ve had eczema. It runs in my family.

    The rash that I have is dry and non-itchy. It looks like the image posted here.

    I have brown skin, but the insides of my arms are pale. I guess I am a light skinned brown person.

  46. Sunday
    Posted July 13, 2010 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for creating this forum.

  47. Shaun
    Posted July 20, 2010 at 11:37 pm | Permalink

    Hi… I recently been diagnosed with mollescum and have it in the genital area and stomach. ever since I got it ive put more notice on my skin and its looked like on the back of my upper arms that it could be mollescum. Ive had “Irish Skin” since i was 12 i remember seeing a doctor back then and him tellin me to use cortizone which never worked. I am seeing a dermatologist now about the mollescum and had it nitrogen froze its healing, before that i got treated 4 times with some acid (tri somethin) at an std clinic. scarred me crazy and it came back in other places. been using zymaderm FDA approved for about 2mo. now and about 3 bumps have gone away, but not all of em, which made me go see the dermatologist. he said the zymaderm is safe and confirmed one of the bumps that went away. I am still very scared about this all, and been thinking crazy like i may have hpv or herpies, but the dermatologist said i dont and that we’ll take care of it soon. he also said that its not on my arms. THAT WOULD BE THE KERATOSIS he said somethin keratosis though I dont remember but the pic (06/keratosis-pilaris.jpg) looks the closest ive seen yet. it must be it. I have it on my upper legs and upper arms. Hopefully this sight helps i’ll try some. the DERM. told me I should try AM-LACTIN LOTION twice a day… ANYBODY KNOW ABOUT THIS??? All i know is Ive been very deperessed lately and I hope the mollescum goes away. Anyone care to relieve my anxiety about this PLEASE DO. Anyway nice site… hopefully somethin on here helps the keratosis (irish skin)…

  48. Jenna
    Posted July 21, 2010 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    Hi Shaun,
    We’re sorry to hear about the complications of your condition. Keep your head up and stay positive. Am-Lactin is a good solution for KP, with AHAs to help slough the skin away and unclog pores. The Glytone Kit is similar and works well for KP. However, you will need to continue to see a doctor for assistance for Molluscum Contagiosum.

  49. Allie
    Posted July 21, 2010 at 11:44 pm | Permalink

    Hey, I’ve had this patch of rough skin on my right forearm for a while now and just recently decided to try and figure out exactly what it is – which I’m now sure its KPA, since it doesn’t cause me any irritation except for how it looks. And after finding out its genetic, it makes a lot of sense considering my mother has sever eczema.

    I think I’m also within the minority here since I also have darker skin, but being biracial, I’m kind of a “light” brown, so it can be noticeable, but its not bad if I moisturize it decently :\

    Thanks alot for this post though – its been really informative :) I’ll definitely try exfoliation when I can.

  50. Jadie
    Posted July 24, 2010 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    I’ve found that the appearance of KP on the backs have drastically been reduced by first getting a luffa with soap, and scrubbing backs and all down the arms, Second I shave my arms, and last once I’m out of the shower I apply vitamin E oil all over the skin. My arms look way better!

  51. Kristin
    Posted October 5, 2010 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    So I’ve never be diagnosed, but that picture looks exactly how my arm does when I don’t get enough sunlight actually. It seems that when I’m in the sun it tends to go away. So in the winter I go tanning and it clears it up for me. Not sure if this works on anyone, but it works for me.
    :D

  52. Stephanie
    Posted October 21, 2010 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

    I think I have this problem…it looks really similar..but the thing is, I have some on my legs and there’s actually some scabs too…small ones and when I itch it off, I see a hair follicle in the scab o.o ..gross isn’t it?? :L

  53. Megan
    Posted October 21, 2010 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

    Oohh I think I have this…but I think I can help; it made my skin better. I used “Gold Bond lotion” and it improved my skin…there’s still a bit more of these bumps..but its much much better :) (just an advice for y’all)

  54. Leonie
    Posted December 13, 2010 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    Great to read all these comments- I’m 36 and have had KP since I was about 11 or 12. I can honestly say that it deeply affected me and my confidence all through my teenage years and still does in many ways. Compared to many people’s problems it now seems a tiny thing to worry about, but as a teen I used to cover up my entire body all year round, and dread swimming or anything that exposed my terrible skin. I get bad KP on my arms, legs and buttocks- used to be bad on my cheeks too, but that seems to have mainly cleared. I also get random acne patches all over, and other odd rashes. I also suffer from Trichotillomania (Easier to Google it than explain!) which seems to run in similar cycles to the KP flare-ups. I may have an allergy, but can’t seem to pinpoint it, and it’s so hard finding meals that my husband + 4 kids will all eat that cutting things out wouldn’t be easy unless it was really going to have an effect! I have been given various creams etc.. in the past, including quite a few steroid ones. Funny- I got stretch-marks through using these, when I didn’t really get any during 4 pregnancies!
    One thing that did seem to help me was a snail extract cream-’Elicina’. It really did seem to improve my upper arms, but it is so expensive it’s not really practical long term. I’d love to be able to bathe in the stuff, but sadly I can’t afford to! It seems like a constant battle with KP. Some things seem to help, but the next week you’re back to square one again. I would just love to have new, smooth, non-itchy, non-blotchy skin all over, but these days I have more crucial things to worry about most of the time!!
    Hope someone can find a long-term solution to our skin miseries soon!!

  55. feiyu
    Posted January 3, 2011 at 1:33 am | Permalink

    Alright.. i am 17 female and an i’m asian.. normally many see asians really have smooth and fair skin and i have this inferiority complex because of keratosis pilaris, i have not yet encountered this kind of skin disease with my classmates making me feel very down. I wanted to wear sleeveless blouses especially during spring but i cant for because i am fair it is obvious even quite a far and i have to wear longsleeves and such. Because of my desperate thought, i asked mom to bring me to a very good skin specialist in our city, after paying a great amount for a check up the doctor just said “IT’S HEREDITARY” my ears shakened hearing these words with the expression that there’s no solution, it’s like he said it’s not itchy and such so why do i care too much about it!!! >.< heck. i'm a girl and it pulls down my esteem! I drink fish oil vitamin A, E, my mom really supports me. But until know its a complex of mine especially when i'm with my friends. So i wanted a natural way to heal it.. reading this i see APPLE CIDER VINEGAR will be great. uhmm hope it will do wel on mine! ^^ thank you

  56. crystal
    Posted March 11, 2011 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    Apple Cider Vinegar is working for me in just 2 days :) It should be the organic with mother in it. I am just putting some on a makeup pad and rubbing it on full strength and it is going away all ready my arms look better where i applied it almost gone! I also suffer from severe Rosacea on my face and i am applying it mix half water half ACV and rubbing it on gently, looks like it may be making a slight difference. I am also drinking it every morning 1 tsp into 300ml of water as i have read it is amazing for almost everything. I am very heavy and have lost 3 pounds in 2 days of drinking this with eating my exact same diet with a stand still in weightloss, so it taste horrible but the benefits are so worth it :) It is cheap and well worth trying it I think!

  57. Faythe
    Posted April 13, 2011 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    Hey, I am 15 and have had KP for years and mine is really red and quite bad. I hate it! i know that a lot of people have it worse but i love wearing dresses but i always have to wear cardigans and it’s really horrible when people point it out. I hope we can all find a cure and soon. I don’t want to stop eating some foods or anything, it just sucks that we can’t have beautiful smooth skin like other lucky people. Some just don’t know how good they have it.

  58. Taylor
    Posted April 19, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    I have had kp my whole life on the back of my arms and cheeks I hate it soo much because I very self concious. I am 14 years old and get some rude comments about it. I live in colder climate and that means it gets REALLY bad! I have literly tried everything! Everything from-scrubs,creams, home treatments-everything. Anymore ideas? Help pleaassee…

  59. Mike
    Posted May 10, 2011 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

    SO, Here is my story, I’ve been quite itchy on the forearms and waistline for about a year now. I went to my doctor and he took a look at me and said I have scabies. I SAID WHAT???!!! So he treated them. Two weeks later no change. He treated them a second time. A month later, still no change. He sent me to a dermatologist(6months later, Igot in)He said might of been scabies but not sure.He took a biopsey and it turned out to be negitive. Two months later I got in to see him again. this was today. He said it looks like folliclar ecxema(sp?)as of today my back is full of little white bumps,my shoulders,upperarms,waistline, hips,butt and upper and lower legs are a mess. The itching is driving me crazy, expecially my back and waistline. I got looking at different sites and came across these pics of KP. by the discription I read and seen, I wonder if this is what I have. I have never had any type of skin problem. This is all new to me. I sit here typing this and am wanting so badly to scratch my back stomach and legs!!!! I don’t see any thing on my skin until a minute or so after I’m done scratching, then I break out in these little white bumps and my skin turns really red. That is the begining, then I scratch until I have the tops scraped off and am bleeding and it is so bad, that I keep scratching untill the skin is scratched off.So then I spend an hour in the tub with some kind of powder that has oatmeal in it to try and fix it up. Anyway, I’m a 42 yr old guy and there not supposed to soak in the tub for an hour……are they? My derm has told me to come in 4 or 5 times a week and go into this UVB box and we will try that. I went in for 20 seconds tonite. I have to travel 1 hour while i’m at work to go in this box for 20 seconds? there has gotta be something else.I need help!!! Anyone????

    Mike

  60. Leigh
    Posted May 28, 2011 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

    I FOUND A REMEDY! I am a 23 year old, fair skinned female and have had nasty, red KP on my arms since before I can remember. I have tried pretty much everything to treat my KP, and nothing has ever been worth the hassle. Just for reference, I have tried:

    -Glytone cleanser and skin cream
    -Oil pulling (ick!)
    -Several types of Alpha-hydroxy lotions
    -Urea prescription cream
    -exfoliants
    -Dry brushing (helps somewhat)
    -Moisturizing lotions and body washes galore!
    -Cocounut oil (also helps a bit)

    My dermatologist was very impressed with the wide range of trial-and-error products I had tried, and asked why I had not come to see him sooner. He told me that KP was hard to treat, and that I should get chemical peels ($100 a pop, and I’m pretty sure if I rubbed alcohol and nail polish remover on my skin, it would have a similar effect) and try this Urea cream he prescribed. Walgreens doesn’t even keep it in stock so they have to order it….it’s not that great, let me tell you.

    Recently, I was Googling natural remedies for dry, damaged hair, and I found a website about Apple Cider Vinegar. Apparently, it is a miracle product. I have been using it in my hair as a conditioner, and I love it. Then, I found that by diluting it and gently scrubbing with it in the shower, sometimes applying it straight to my arms at night, and then drinking it (1 TBS diluted in a cup of water) once a day has made my arms smooth, less red and irritated, and significantly less bumpy than EVER before. Take that, dermatologist and your $14 skin cream!

    Now, my KP is not cured. I do not believe there is a cure for most KP cases, especially if they are mild to severe. Occasionally, I will dry brush before I shower, and I use pure coconut oil as a skin cream after showering. I at least feel confident enough to wear a sleeveless shirt in public, and that is a HUGE step for me.

    TRY APPLE CIDER VINEGAR. It’s inexpensive and does not require a huge time investment, so it’s at least worth a go. It does not taste good, so I recommend having a straight glass of water to go alongside the diluted ACV when you drink it. Good luck, and I hope this helps someone!

  61. NUON
    Posted August 18, 2011 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    HI, I BEEN STRUGGLING WITH KP SINCE MY TEENS NOW IN MY ADULT LIVE I BEEN HIDING IT IN WITH JACKETS, LONG SLEEVES CLOTHING ANYTHING THAT WOULD COVER THE BUMBS PEOPLE WOULD ASKED ME WHY I WOULD WEAR A JACKET IN A WEATHER OF 100 DEGREES PLUS I WISH MORE THAN ANYTHING TO BE ABLE TO WEAR CLOTHES I LIKE INSTEAD CLOTHES TO COVER THE BUMBS…THANK YOU FOR YOUR INPUT OF THIS SKIN CONDITION

  62. Omer Willson
    Posted December 8, 2011 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

    Great post!

  63. Amy
    Posted February 26, 2012 at 1:33 am | Permalink

    I have this on my arms and legs (thighs to ankles). Like everyone else says I find it vile and I can get very self conscious about it, but there are a few things you ca do to minimize this problem, like exfoliation EVERY DAY. I use a soft body brush before I shower and during showering (during showering i use radox smoothie), I also do not use moisturizer daily as it can result with large raised bumps on my legs and arms but moisturizer might work for you, you just need to try and experiment with different products.

    Also when i went on holiday to Bulgaria for 2 weeks my chicken skin reduced to nothing! I thought it cleared up and I was so happy but after being back in England for 2 weeks it came back again. Now i got it down to 2 things that made it clear up, water and perspiration. The water in Bulgaria is very soft (hardly any limescale) which made my skin feel SO soft also I used cold water on my skin as it was hot in the summer so maybe the temperature of the water helped? The other was perspiration, it was like 35 degrees centigrade plus every day and you would sweat, maybe the salt in the sweat helped my skin, or just that my pores on my skin were constantly open which made it clear up? Also there were mineral spa’s in Bulgaria which apparently have medical like properties.

    Another thing, don’t think covering up is your answer to solving this problem. Since when in any case is covering something up made the situation better? Never. Vitamin D produced by the sun and can help clear it up, sit in your garden and get some sun rays to your problem area. The tan also helps to reduce the redness. If you live in a place where sun doesn’t come often or after a quick fix, get some spray on fake tan, it reduces redness and gives you a sun kissed look! But make sure you still exfoliate your skin!

    I hope this helps you!

  64. Olivia
    Posted March 16, 2012 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    I’m really glad that I came across this site. For many years I didn’t know why I had bumps on the back of my arms and face. In elementary school it was all over my cheeks and chin. But after puberty it reduced to my jaw line. My doctor thought it was eczema also, but the cream didn’t help. I have even tried pro active or popping the bumps but neither works. The only time it goes away is in the summer when I am in the sun and in the pool. But, they rough ugly bumps have always come back. I am very excited to try some of your solutions. I have a fashion show and my senior prom coming up and this will really be a life saver! Thanks again!

  65. Mary
    Posted April 20, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    I have been using Cetaphil bar soap all over my body for about 3 or 4 weeks, and have developed a sp;otchy burning rash on my upper thighs & behind my knees. When I get in a tub of water to
    bathe, it burns so badly that I can hardly stand it..Do you know of any allergic reactions to the bar soap for the body. I also have been using a bath sponge.

  66. Iris
    Posted April 24, 2012 at 12:14 am | Permalink

    I’ve suffered with this condition ever since I was a kid. I was teased a lot in school because kids would go “Ewww what Is that?” I became so emberrased by it that I started to wear boys T shirts and long sleeve shirts to cover my arms. I started dressing like a tomboy and it really affects my life badly. To make it worse, I have a 3 year old who I think will suffer from the same thing and my 15 year old niece has it all over her arms as well. My arms and body, except face, are filled with these things. They don’t itch or bother me in any way other that the fact that it looks horrible on my skin. If anyone knows of any lotions, creams, soaps, or home remedies etc, please please, please feel free to send me an email. Thank you. Acostairisa@yahoo.com

  67. Darren
    Posted July 7, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    I have had kp since I was about 14 years old an I am now in my 40s.
    My gp back then told me I had scabies, but it never ever cleared up with the lotion he gave me.
    Beeing in my teens I was very conscious of the spots. I never wore t shirts or took off my top for years.
    Unfortunately I was a spot picker too,and now have loads of scars all over my arms.
    I used to only show the bottoms of my arms by rolling long sleeves up.
    Only now with the Internet and with sites like this have I been able to find out what my condition is.
    I have 2 children and they both have the kp. I really want them to have happier teens and not stress about the condition. Any tips will be greatly appreciated.

  68. Bill
    Posted December 11, 2012 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

    Finally someone posts about KP! The only thing that ever worked for me were products with AHA’s and avocado oil. I tried KP Duty and a few others, no change.

    I finally started using a product called KP Elements – lifesaver! It’s important to me that it’s all-natural, and it cleared up my KP!

  69. Shannon
    Posted April 3, 2014 at 5:05 am | Permalink

    I have suffered from keratosis pilaris alba (bumps the same color as my flesh) on my thighs and hips my entire life. I’ve been put on different medications, I have tried almost every cream or gel in the drugstore, exfoliated with loofas, scrubs and Clarisonic. NOTHING worked! Every summer, I’d feel like a freak in my bathing suit, with my chicken skin legs. It’s embarrassing and annoying. It just so happened that a while ago, I saw a horrible video on how chicken, dairy and cattle farm animals are treated…and I was devastated to the degree that I immediately went vegan. Had nothing to do with me trying to lose weight or find cures for my various ailments. The awesome side effect of cutting out processed foods, meat and dairy from my diet, was my skin got fresher looking and my KP is completely gone now. I’m still in disbelief when I look at my legs (which have been nothing but a huge source of lifetime embarrassment for me…). I realize that going vegan is a very drastic change, one that I only made for deely personal reasons. But, if anybody is embarrassed and suffering like I was, and sick of all the creams, exfoliating, taking tons of vitamins and possibly an Rx from the dermatologist…it’s worth a shot to try cutting out some types of foods, even for a little while. See if something with your diet is causing the KP to be aggravated. Just my own experience, thanks for reading and I hope I maybe helped someone.

  70. Posted July 27, 2014 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    I too have had this since I was a kid, and my doctor called it chicken skin. I use to have it on my arms and I loofahed it to death so I no longer have it there. Now at 51 I have it on my legs. I am an esthetician so I am sitting here writing this with any enzyme drying on my legs my husband probably thinks I am crazy.I will then attempt the benzoyl peroxide ( I happen to carry a really good one with micronized BPO) on my legs tonight when I go to sleep. I will let you know what happens.

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