What is Keratosis Pilaris?

What is Keratosis Pilaris?

In spite of gender everyone wants soft and flawless skin. Sadly, most people have no idea that there are several skin conditions such as Keratosis Pilaris that make this impossible. Often confused with acne KP is a completely harmless skin condition that leads to tiny and hard bumps that will make your skin feel almost like sandpaper. These be rumps are light coloured ad the y often appear on the buttocks, cheeks, thighs and upper arms. Sometimes the bumps are accompanied by mild swelling and redness. Although they rarely show up on the dace it varies from one person to another.

Statistics and medical evidence have ascertained that although unsightly and mildly itchy, these bumps caused by Keratosis Pilaris don’t hurt and they also do not get worse. Many teenagers and children get this skin condition and then it disappears as they get much older. Contrary to common misconception, there is no scientific evidence to ascertain whether this condition is genetic. Most doctors advocate for cleaning and exfoliating skin regularly and also keeping it moisturised.

What causes Keratosis Pilaris?

Unlike pimples that are caused by build up of oil in the skin pores, Keratosis Pilaris is caused by the build up of protein (Keratin). This is the protein that helps to protect your skin from any infection or bacteria. When it is in excess, it leads to build up that forms a plug that systematically blocks the opening of the hair follicle in the skin. The reason most doctors are still uncertain about KP is because there is still no clear reason to clarify why the Keratosis build up specifically triggers build up on the hair follicles.

What is certain is that people with extremely dry skin are more susceptible to Keratosis Polaris. It gets even worse if you dry skin during the winter months because the cold only makes your skin drier.  When it is cold, there is more moisture in the air and this makes the blockage on the follicles worse which makes Keratosis Pilaris worse. Additionally, KP is also more common in people with other skin conditions such as Atopic Dermatitis and Eczema.

How is Keratosis Pilaris Diagnosed?

Pretty simple actually, this disease is diagnosed by the doctor simply taking a look at your skin. When you want a reliable diagnosis, it is best to seek the attention of a knowledgeable and experienced dermatologist because they will be able to distinguish it from any other skin conditions. The last thing anyone wants is to treat eczema when what they have is Keratosis Pilaris.

There is no test required to ascertain the Keratosis Pilaris diagnosis

This skin condition is largely considered a cosmetic issue since it has adverse effects on your skin or general health. Most doctors recommend simple natural remedies that do not expose your skin to more harm.

Here are a few effective home remedies that can help you deal with Keratosis Pilaris;


As mentioned earlier the red bumps are caused by build up of keratin, it therefore goes without saying that regular exfoliation can help to reduce the build up. For exfoliation to work, it must be regular and consistent so that build up is systematically removed. The reason exfoliation is so effective is that it helps to open the and also release the trapped hair follicles. Within a few weeks you will begin to notice some positive changes on your skin.

When exfoliation is done regularly, it goes a long way in maintaining the appearance and feel of skin. There are two ways exfoliation can be done; chemical peeling of the skin or alternatively mechanically peeling the skin. Mechanical peeling involves skin scrubbing which can be irritating and itchy. Chemical peeling is preferred over mechanical exfoliation because constant rubbing tends to dehydrate and also make the skin rougher.

Loofah or Sponge Scrub

Each time you take a shower, how about using a piece of natural loofah or sponge to gently rub down the areas that are affected with Keratosis Pilaris. Keep in mind that the keyword is here is GENTLE. Being too rough on your skin will not help with KP, it will further exacerbate the situation.

Rubbing vigorously or roughly will irritate the skin and also lead to inflammation of the follicles which only worsens the situation.

Oatmeal as a skin rub

All you need is two tablespoons of oatmeal and three table spoons of milk or water. Oatmeal is a great idea for KP because it is gentle and also moisturises the skin so that you don’t lose the natural moisture that keep your skin soft and supple.

Diet modifications

What you eat will eventually reflect in how you look. Your skin will look good if you eat more fruits and vegetables.

Also drink consistently at least 2 liters a day to helps ensure that there is enough water to keep your skin moisturized.

What not to do if you have Keratosis Pilaris

If you have KP it is best to follow the following precautions:

  • Avoid scratching the bumps or rubbing your skin roughly as this will only cause further irritations and swelling
  • Shower using warm or lukewarm water. Avoid hot water as this only irritates the KP and likely to make the condition worse
  • Moisturisers are your friend moisturise consistently and you will see a definite positive change on your skin
  • Avoid skipping showers, if you have Keratosis Pilaris the worst thing you can do is skip showers as this will worsen the situation. When you shower, you are removing any accumulated dirt on your skin that can further block the skin and cause other skin conditions apart from KP
  • Ensure that all the moisturizers you use don’t block your skin pores. Look out for the word non-codemic this means oil free and does not block pores which is what you need when you are already suffering from KP


There is no doubt that Keratosis Polaris is a frustrating skin condition that can lower your self-esteem and be quite frustrating to deal with. There is no cure for it since scientifically speaking it is not a disease. All you can do is manage it and reduce the unsightly appearance using the techniques mentioned above.