Roughness and Redness and Bumps, Oh My!

keratosis pilarisYou may have it, or know someone who does. We’re talking about “chicken skin,” or keratosis pilaris. According to studies, upwards of 50% of children have the small, pink dots or bumps on areas such as the backs of the arms or the thighs. It isn’t only children who could develop this problem; just less than half of the adults in our country, 4 out of 10, have the small bumps that cause roughness and visible signs.

Why These Bumps Form
Why some people develop keratosis pilaris and others do not is really somewhat of a mystery. Some say that it’s hereditary. However, about half of the people who are diagnosed with this condition have no family history, so that leaves us to wonder about the underlying cause of each case. The good news is that “chicken skin” is a cosmetic concern. It does not affect one’s overall health. It can, however, diminish their sense of wellness.

There’s More Good News . . .
In many cases, keratosis pilaris is a temporary problem. Still, that does not negate the concern you may face during the period in which your skin is marred by red or white dots and roughness. The other bit of good news we have is that your skin can benefit from home care and, as needed, professional dermatologic treatments. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Use products containing glycolic acid or lactic acid. These may be purchased over the counter, or they may be available in prescription strength if necessary. The purpose of these alpha hydroxy acids is to accelerate cellular turnover by sloughing away dead cells that muddy up the surface of your skin.
  • Retinol, or vitamin A treatments. This is a slippery slope due to the fact that treatments like Retin-A can cause skin to become dry, especially if overused. Dry skin is more prone to the signs of keratosis pilaris. Talk with your dermatologist about the use of such treatments for your condition.
  • Moisturize! Because dryness is a culprit in the worsening of the whole chicken skin problem, it is vital that you moisturize daily, if not a few times a day. Look for products containing Urea, a common go-to for smoother skin.

To get a jump-start on better skin, you may also consider the value of a gentle chemical peel to remove cellular buildup. To learn more about our treatment options, call 212-288-0060.

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