As we know, the skin is the largest organ in the body.
Many conditions are harmless to your physical health but can still be a challenge when maintaining your skin. One of these skin conditions is known as Keratosis Pilaris.
Though you might not recognize the name, you’ll likely recognize the condition.
Keratosis Pilaris is a common skin condition that affects many people and even children. It looks similar to razor burn, chicken skin, or goosebumps, and appears as small red bumps, generally on your arms but can appear on your legs, scalp, back, face, and forearms as well.
The important thing to remember is that keratosis pilaris is a harmless condition.
Causes of Keratosis Pilaris
Keratosis Pilaris occurs when the natural protein known as keratin builds up in your skin. Keratin is the main substance of your hair and skin. When excess keratin builds up, it blocks the hair follicle openings, making way for red and white bumps to appear on your skin.
There is no single cause, so there is no cure for keratosis pilaris.
Keratosis pilaris is thought to be genetic, associated with a hormone change like pregnancy, diabetes, or dermatitis.
There is no cure for keratosis pilaris, the goal is to find a treatment that your skin reacts well to, while trusting that this condition will likely fade with time.
There are, however, many treatments that reduce its appearance in the meantime, so not all hope is lost!
How Can You Manage Keratosis Pilaris?
There are many ways to help alleviate symptoms of keratosis pilaris.
The primary goal in using cream is to remove dead skin cells and moisturize the skin. Treatments such as topical, medicated creams, and moisturizers may help alleviate symptoms of keratosis pilaris.
For best results, you’ll want to use a cream that contains:
- Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA)
- Lactic acid
- Salicylic acid
Using a topical exfoliant is available both over-the-counter or with a prescription, depending on the strength of the cream. Occasionally, these types of acids may cause redness or irritation, so they should be used with some caution.
Creams may prevent the clogging of these hair follicles if they contain Vitamin A. Similarly to topical exfoliants, these products could dry out or irritate your skin. It’s hard to predict how keratosis pilaris will react. However, it’s important to note that while symptoms may improve with proper management, there is no cure for keratosis pilaris.
Nothing can prevent keratosis pilaris because there has been no definitive cause. Although, there are many natural remedies that people dealing with conditions have shown some form of improvement.
Like you should do when testing any new product, make sure to do a patch test on a small area of your skin and wait a full 24 hours to see how your skin reacts.
Some common at-home remedies might include:
Remember to moisturize your skin regularly, no matter what type of skin you have, but especially when treating keratosis pilaris. While your skin is drying from bathing, select a moisturizer that contains:
- Petroleum jelly
These ingredients will help trap moisture within your skin, rehydrating it and giving you a healthy, bright glow. Reapply your moisturizer throughout the day as needed, likely several times a day.
Use A Humidifier
This might seem like an odd thing to try for a skin condition, but a humidifier is a great tool for your skin, especially if it's dry or damaged. A humidifier adds moisture to the air and lessens the chances of your skin drying out due to dry air.
Limit Bath Time
Use warm water and limit your time in the bath or shower. Water removes oil from your skin, so setting a limit to your water exposure will help rehydrate your skin and potentially soften the appearance of your keratosis pilaris.
Use Natural Ingredients
Be gentle with your skin, and use products with natural ingredients that are scent and fragrance-free. Avoid any soap that feels especially harsh or that you know will dry out your skin.
Invest In Quality Body Mitts
Exfoliate with a MicrodermaMitt to help gently remove layers of dead skin. Avoid using a loofah, as loofahs are often breeding grounds for bacteria and can irritate the skin further to reenter your skin while trying to clean it.
Don’t over-exfoliate, as this type of aggression may worsen the condition. When drying, remember to pat dry and never rub so that some of the moisture stays with your skin.
Using a cream we mentioned above, including AHA, lactic acid, or salicylic acid, is a great way to rid yourself of dead skin cells and make way for a fresh new layer to appear. You’ll want to apply the cream before applying your selected moisturizer.
Many of you might be wondering: what does laser treatment even mean? It might sound like an aggressive approach to a very common skin condition, but actually, laser treatment has shown itself to be a gentle, effective treatment for keratosis pilaris.
The laser aims for the hair follicle and specifically targets the melanin. It then converts to heat, damaging the hair follicle and preventing possible future hair growth.
If you’re thinking, “Wow, this sounds great, but I’m trying to manage my keratosis pilaris, not laser off my arm hair,” then have no fear. We’re still talking about laser treatment for keratosis pilaris, but there is a crossover.
Keratosis pilaris affects the skin that sits around the hair follicle, so that this treatment can soften the symptoms of this condition.
Laser Treatment For Ingrown Hair
Because keratosis pilaris affects the skin around your hair follicle, it can cause a lot of ingrown hairs. Ingrown hairs just enhance the look of the bumps, so treating those ingrown hairs with laser treatment will help smooth things out.
Laser hair removal is an excellent, recommended form of treatment for many dealing with keratosis pilaris. It is not as aggressive as it sounds, meaning this type of laser treatment is very gentle with minimal discomfort.
The goal of using laser treatment is to emit tiny pulses of light into your hair follicle, making that hair follicle stop growing new hair and close up. This means that while the hair follicle is being lasered away, keratin can no longer block it!
If you followed all that, you’ve gathered that when more keratin can block the hair follicle, the appearance of bumps will likely be minimized. If you decide to pursue a laser treatment for your keratosis pilaris, it’s good to keep in mind that it takes up to nine sessions to achieve the best results.
Laser hair removal shows promising results and is thought to be a highly effective treatment for this skin condition.
Bottom line: Keratosis pilaris stops hair growth, thus stopping ingrown hairs, thus reducing bumps.
Laser hair removal is a common, easy, and safe treatment for most people. However, those who haven’t had success with this treatment may have experienced redness, irritation on your skin, swelling, or possibly excessive hair growth, particularly for those with more pigmented skin tones.
It’s important to talk with your doctor when deciding if laser treatment is a good route for you. It’s also worth mentioning that laser treatment will take several visits. All that being said, though, laser treatment is a great method for many people who have keratosis pilaris.