Keratosis Pilaris

Keratosis pilaris is a common condition when numerous rough small bumps appear on the outer skin of the upper arms. They may be skin colored, red, or brown. They may also occur on the thighs and cheeks, and less often on the forearms and back. When more KP appears and both on the cheeks and upper arms, it is a variant known as Keratosis Pilaris Rubra. Although it may be cosmetically unappealing, KP is completely harmless.

What causes Keratosis Pilaris?

Keratosis Pilaris is a genetic condition where the sticky cells that line the hair follicle form a horny plug instead of exfoliating. This widens the pores making them more noticeable. KP is most obvious during the teenage years, but may persist into adult life. It is particularly prevalent in those who have a history of eczema, those who have Celtic/European backgrounds, and during the winter months when humidity is low and the skin is drier.

There is no cure for Keratosis Pilaris, but there are treatment strategies that Dr. Myers uses to help control this issue. Some treatment options include:

  • For mild cases: General measures to prevent excessive dryness such as using a mild non-soap cleanser (e.g. Cetaphil, Cerave, Dove) and adequate moisturizer. It is recommended to always use lotion or other moisturizing creams right after a shower or bath to trap in moisture.
  • For mild-moderate cases: Use moisturizing creams that contain exfoliants (e.g. salicylic acid, urea, lactic acid, alpha hydroxy acid) that can help exfoliate the keratin plugs.

Lotions or creams can decrease the bumps, which may in turn improve some of the redness. The increased humidity and summer weather can help KP. Keratosis Pilaris will not resolve over night, but as you adopt these treatment strategies into your daily routine it can begin to clear.

If you have questions concerning Keratosis Pilaris, call our office and schedule an appointment to meet with Dr. Myers. At your visit, Dr. Myers will work with you to develop an individualized treatment plan for your condition.


Dr. David Myers

Dr. David Myers is a board certified dermatologist and Fellow of the American Society for Mohs Surgery. His expertise and attention to detail make him a trusted doctor in his community.

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