What is Keratosis Pilaris

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What is Keratosis Pilaris?

Keratosis pilaris is a common skin condition that appears as tiny bumps or “whiteheads” on the skin. It is described often like goosebumps or chicken skin. It is not abnormal – it actually is considered a variation of normal and is genetic – meaning it is passed down from other family members like parents or grandparents.

Although the bumps may look like pimples they aren’t – they are actually a substance of the skin called keratin plugging the hair follicles in the affected areas.

This creates a rough texture and can feel like sandpaper. The condition often affects the skin on the upper outer arms as well as the thighs and some have it on the buttocks or the cheeks of the face.

The plugs are white in color and sometimes have visible redness in the area often surrounding each plugged follicle (known as perifollicular erythema).

Some see the condition worsen in winter and improve in summer.

The condition is harmless but many seek treatment because they don’t like the look or feel of their skin because of it.

Simple moisturizing of the skin can be beneficial as should be the first step in treating this condition. Medicated moisturizers are also of help for this diagnosis.

There are products now available over the counter that have exfoliating ingredients (like lactic acid or alpha hydroxy acids) added into the moisturizer that can better target the plugs and help to break them down and ultimately make the skin smoother. For example, Eucerin and CeraVe both have products available currently for this condition. Treatments can improve the condition but the condition will return if treatment is discontinued.

Our office is happy to see you for this and make appropriate recommendations to treat this condition depending on the age of the patient and the areas involved. Give us a call at 215-361-3376 and ask to schedule an appointment in our Lansdale, PA office, or our Fort Washington, PA office.

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