When I was a teenager, I remember noticing and feeling the annoying red bumps on the back of my arm. They looked awful, and I was totally embarassed. My younger brother has the same thing as well (on his arms as well as his cheeks when he was young), so a few years back I decided to Google this to see what I could find out and I was surprised to learn that we weren’t the only ones dealing with this issue. So what exactly was this bumpy skin problem? Keratosis Pilaris, also known as KP – or, more affectionately, chicken skin. I found a more solid definition of this on Medscape Reference: “Keratosis pilaris (KP) is a genetic disorder of keratinization of hair follicles of the skin. It is an extremely common benign condition that manifests as small, rough folliculocentric keratotic papules, often described as chicken bumps, chicken skin, or goose bumps, in characteristic areas of the body, particularly the outer-upper arms and thighs.” Yup, that sounds about right. Basically, keratin builds up under the skin and plugs the follicles, creating little bumps. It looks unsightly, and if you’re like me, you can’t help but pick at it sometimes, which creates little scabs (yeah, I know that sounds gross, but at least I’m honest). It’s supposed to get better with age – at its worst during puberty – but I really can’t stand it and didn’t want to sit around waiting for it to improve, so a little while back I decided to take matters into my own hands. I’ve been trying out different options and have finally found a system that works for me for the most part. No, it’s not completely gone, but my skin looks 100 times better and I’m no longer embarrassed to wear sleeveless shirts. I’m going to share with you the tips and products I’ve been using – hopefully you can find something in here that will help you fight back against keratosis pilaris as well!
For me, the route to ridding myself of keratosis pilaris begins with exfoliation when I shower. This helps to break down the bumps and leads to smoother skin. I like to use a Salux Cloth (a thin, exfoliating cloth) for this as it has a really great texture and is easy to use. It helps to create a great lather with my body wash and I really feel like it’s working when I’m using this. I combine it with Neutrogena Body Clear Body Wash to maximize the effect of the cloth, although you can use any body wash you like. Personally, the Body Clear Body Wash is a great addition to this as it contains salicylic acid which helps to prevent new bumps from forming.
After exfoliating, I think that it is important to treat the skin to diminish the current bumps and to keep KP at bay. First up, I like to use a toner on the back of my arms. I know this might sound a little weird, but used in combination with the other steps I find it to be really effective. It might burn a little after exfoliating if you scrub too hard, so try to be a little more gentle on your skin. I like to use Avon Clearskin Pore Penetratic Cooling Toner as I find it to be quite gentle on the skin so I don’t end up dealing with more redness. It also contains salicylic acid.
Finally, NeosStrata Body Smoothing Lotion was pretty much made for dealing with KP. It contains 10% glycolic acid and works hard to continue the exfoliating process. I was really happy to see that this lotion made a huge improvement in my condition within a short time of using it. It really helps to target the buildup of dead cells so you don’t have to worry about new bumps forming. One thing I do want to mention – if you use this lotion, please take care to apply SPF to the areas you’ve used it on. The glycolic acid can be a little harsh on the skin and leaves you more susceptible to burns. You can apply this 1-2 times per day, although I recommend starting with once a day to build skin tolerance.
There you have it – my tips for dealing with keratosis pilaris. Like I said, I really hope this can help some of you out. Don’t forget to sound off in the comments below. Did you try any of these tips and did they work for you? What other ways have you tried that have worked for you?