What is Keratosis Pilaris?


Keratosis pilaris (KP) is a common chronic skin condition. It may appear on the cheeks, upper arms and on the front of the thighs. It presents as small, raised, red bumps that feel rough and may itch.
Some people say these bumps look like “goosebumps” or mistake the bumps for small pimples.


KP is harmless and are actually plugs of dead skin cells. If the itch, dryness, or the appearance of these bumps bothers you, treatment can help. This can decrease symptoms and help you see clearer skin.

Moisturizing often helps reduce the appearance of KP. Dry skin can make these bumps more noticeable and if you live in a dry climate you may see these bumps year round. You may also find that they are more chronic for you if you swim in a swimming pool frequently, because the chlorinated water dehydrates your skin.
Your dermatologist may recommend on of the following topical creams to treat your KP:


  • Lactic-acid lotions (AmLactin, Lac-Hydrin)
  • Alpha-hydroxy-acid lotions (Glytone, Citrix glycolic body lotion 15%)
  • Urea creams (Carmol 10, Carmol 20, Carmol 40, Urix 40)
  • Salicylic-acid lotions (Salex 6%)
  • Compounded 3% salicylic acid in 20% urea cream

If your KP is itchy, inflamed or rrritated, your dermatologist may also recommend a topical hydrocortisone cream to reduce symptoms.

If you are affected by KP, and would like to discuss treatment options for you, contact us.

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