Keratosis pilaris is a common infection of skin which develops acne-like rough patches of bumps, normally on buttocks, thighs and arms. Generally the affliction is painless, non-itchy and is white or red in color.
Prescribed drugs and self-care methods can improve the skin condition and thus reduce the resultant distress. It does not create complications and mostly vanishes by the age of thirty.
Symptoms of keratosis pilaris
Some symptoms of keratosis pilaris are:
- Formation of acne-like tiny bumps causing scars on face. Other area does not bear scars.
- Itching may exist
- Papules are skin colored and painless
- Generally affects children, but does not need treatment as it resolves on its own.
Causes of keratosis pilaris
- Keratin is a protein which protects the skin from infection. Excess accumulation of keratin causes keratosis pilaris, which results in scaly plug formation and blocking of hair follicle. Bumpy patches of rough skin subsequently develop.
- Reason for keratin build up is unknown. However, research has shown certain skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis and genetic disorders can cause keratosis pilaris. Keratosis pilaris worsens if the skin is dry.
Treatment of keratosis pilaris
Most treatments focus on softening keratin by medicated ointments and creams. Some medications for treating keratosis pilaris are:
- Topical corticosteroids: Anti-inflammatory medications suppress multiplication of cells and the immune system. Hydrocortisone is recommended for treating patches on face. Corticosteroids and corticosteroid ointments have side effects such as thinning of skin, irritation and itching and hence used for short-term care only.
- Topical retinoids: Retinoids are extracts of vitamin A that prevent blockage of hair follicles and cell turnover.
- Topical exfoliants: For moisturizing, softening and for removing dead cells of skin, creams of salicylic or lactic acid, urea or alpha-hydroxy can be used after a doctor’s recommendation. They should not be used for young children because of their acid content.
Regular use of above medications can improve the skin condition. Condition may persist for years even with medications.
Some self-help methods that provide relief are:
- Avoid scrubbing skin during a bath
- Apply moisturizing lotion after a shower
- Use humidifier at home
- Avoid drying soaps
Keratosis pilaris pictures