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Keratosis Pilaris

Walk-in Dermatology > Keratosis Pilaris
Keratosis Pilaris

What is keratosis pilaris?

Keratosis pilaris is a skin condition that presents as dry, rough patches and bumps. These patches typically appear on the upper arms, thighs, cheeks, buttocks, and can sometimes even appear on the face, called keratotis pilaris rubra faceii. Although harmless, keratosis pilaris cannot be cured or prevented.

What causes keratosis pilaris?

Keratosis pilaris forms with the accumulation of keratin, which is a hard protein that protects your skin from infection. The keratin forms a plug that clogs the opening of a hair follicle. When many plugs develop, patches of rough, bumpy skin begin to appear.

The reasons for keratin buildup are uncertain. It may be related to genetics or associated with other skin conditions, such as atopic dermatitis. Dry skin and cold weather tend to make the condition worse.

How dermatologists diagnose keratosis pilaris

Your dermatologist will diagnose keratosis pilaris with a physical examination of the skin where you are experiencing bumps and rough patches. Personal and family history of the condition are helpful in making the diagnosis.

Sometimes it may be necessary to test a tiny skin sample to rule out other conditions that look similar on the skin.

How dermatologists treat keratosis pilaris

Keratosis pilaris does not need to be treated. However, to improve the symptoms and appearance your dermatologist may prescribe topical creams or lotions. Keratolytics such as urea, lactic acid, salicylic acid, glycolic acid, or retinoids are most commonly recommended as part of the treatment plan for keratosis pilaris.

Your dermatologist can also help you with general measures to prevent dry skin, including the use of moisturizers and soap-free cleaning products. Exfoliation and laser treatment are other options to remove the keratin plugs clogging hair follicles.

If you have skin lesions that are concerning for keratosis pilaris, click here to schedule an appointment with our board-certified dermatologists or walk into Walk-in Dermatology at your convenience for your evaluation.