Keratosis pilaris— nicknamed ‘chicken skin’-- is a harmless skin condition in which the skin becomes bumpy and rough. These bumps may resemble goosebumps or the skin of a plucked chicken. Read on to understand more about symptoms, treatment, and prevention of keratosis pilaris.
This harmless, but sometimes uncomfortable skin condition occurs when there is a buildup of keratin, the protein which protects skin from infections and other unwanted agents. The keratin builds up, blocking hair follicles and creating plugs of dead skin cells. The bumps may appear white, red, or skin colored, and they give the skin a sandpaper-like texture. They often appear on the upper arms, legs, buttocks, and cheeks. Sometimes the skin in the area becomes itchy and inflamed, especially during seasonal change and dry winter months.
Keratosis pilaris most commonly occurs in young children and adolescents. It often resolves itself by the time a person reaches age 30. Symptoms of this skin condition include:
People with dry skin or skin conditions like atopic dermatitis and eczema and more likely to get keratosis pilaris. Adults can get this skin condition, although it is more common among children and adolescents, and usually resolves by age 30. Females are affected by keratosis pilaris more frequently than males are.
This condition is harmless, although you may want to see a doctor if the skin is very dry and becomes itchy or inflamed. The doctor may prescribe a topical cream to treat dryness and to smooth out the skin. Usually, a family doctor or a pediatrician can treat this skin condition, but in some cases, a referral to a dermatologist may be necessary.
Diagnosis of this skin condition is pretty straightforward. No lab tests are required because a doctor can diagnose this condition simply by looking at your skin. The doctor may ask for a family history since there is a strong genetic component to keratosis pilaris.
There is no treatment for keratosis pilaris, although there are things you can do to improve the appearance of the skin or treat itchiness.
Keratosis pilaris is usually mild, although may be marked by occasional flare-ups during seasonal change and dry weather. I most patients, the skin condition improves with age, clearing up at around age 30.
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