Have you ever seen, or maybe you do have, a so-called “chicken skin”? Maybe you are wondering if this is contagious or maybe hereditary? …but what really is this kind of skin problem? Can this still be treated? Let us discuss more about this so-called “chicken skin”…
Keratosis Pilaris (also called chicken skin) is a skin condition that is common and causes areas of bumps to appear on the skin. These bumps are dead skin cells caused by a buildup of keratin that end up plugging the hair follicles.
Keratosis Pilaris is not contagious, although it can be hereditary. It is not uncomfortable (it can sometimes be itchy), and is usually found on the upper arms, thighs, and buttocks. It can also extend to the lower legs, forearms, cheeks, or anywhere else hair follicles exist.
There is no cure, but there keratosis pilaris treatments to prevent it from getting worse. It is most common in children and teenagers and generally clears up when a person reaches their 30s. There is no way to know for sure who will see it clear up on its own and who won’t.
Signs and Symptoms
A doctor can examine your skin to determine if you have keratosis pilaris. Some people will only get a few flesh colored bumps while others will have more noticeable bumps on more areas of the body. Symptoms associated with it include:
- Visible bumps that are slightly pink or red
- Dry skin
- Sandpaper feel to the bumps
- Itchy skin
Cause of Keratosis Pilaris
It is caused by a buildup of keratin, which is the protein that protects your skin from infections, which plugs hair follicles. If you have dry skin, you are more likely to be affected.
It can also be seasonal, worse in the drier months of the year and clearing up during the more humid months. It also affects people with preexisting conditions such as eczema or ichthyosis.
You may also be more likely to develop it if you have a family history of it, have asthma, excess body weight, or hay fever. It can worsen during pregnancy or after childbirth and usually affects women more than men.
A doctor can examine your skin and recommend the best course of keratosis pilaris treatment. Prescribed topical creams can remove dead skin cells or prevent blockage of hair follicles.
A moisturizing treatment can soothe dry skin and improve the appearance of the affected areas. Your doctor will most likely prescribe a moisturizer with urea and lactic acid. Additional treatments your doctor may recommend are microdermabrasion, chemical peels, laser or light treatment, or retinol creams.
Keratosis Pilaris treatment takes time and consistency. You will likely start seeing some improvement in 4-6 weeks and may need to try more than one treatment before you find one that works.
It is important to use medications in the amount recommended by your doctor and as often as recommended. Once you see results, a maintenance plan is essential to keep the affected areas under control. For instance, you may use the medication three times a week instead of every day. You will need to work with your doctor to determine the best maintenance plan for you.
Steps You Can Take
In addition to seeking medical treatment there are things you can do to lessen the effects and increase the likelihood of successful keratosis pilaris treatment. Here are some simple steps you can take:
- Don’t scratch or rub your skin roughly. This may irritate the affected areas more and cause the condition to worsen.
- Avoid hot water when showering (no baths), opting for warm water instead, and limit showers to 10 minutes. Prolonged showers and hot water remove oils from the skin which aggravates the keratosis pilaris.
- Try soaps that have added fats or oils and tend to dry skin out less.
- Use a humidifier to add moisture to the air in your home or office.
- Avoid tight clothes or protect your skin from the friction caused by tight clothes.
To sum up…
Keratosis Pilaris is common, and for many people, goes away with time. However, clearing happens gradually over many years and most people don’t want to wait and see if it clears up on its own. Many times, if left untreated, the affected areas will worsen before they get better.
Fortunately, there are treatments that can help. If you suspect you may have keratosis pilaris consult with your doctor to have your skin examined. With the help of your doctor you can find a treatment plan that works for you, and once you see improvement, a maintenance plan to keep it from recurring.
We’re hoping that this has helped in some way. If you ever need a hand or have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comment section and we will be more than happy to help you out as much as we can.
Categorised in: Blog
All the best,
Jacy and Ryan (TMD Team)