Skin Care Blogs

How to Get Rid of Keratosis Pilaris, According to a Dermatologist

Some skin conditions may be easier to ignore than others, but it doesn’t change the fact that they still put a dent on your quest for soft, smooth and healthy-looking skin. Take keratosis pilaris, for example. Commonly known as chicken skin or goose flesh, these tiny bumps seem harmless enough. Aside from making you feel wary about wearing arm-baring tops, they don’t really cause any itching or discomfort, so it’s no surprise that they don’t rank high on your list of skin concerns. Ironically, despite the fact that it’s so common, not many know much about what causes keratosis pilaris—or even how to address it.

What Is Keratosis Pilaris

“Keratosis pilaris (KP) is a common and benign disorder of hair follicles in the skin,” says Dr. Heather D. Rogers, a board-certified dermatologist in Seattle, Wash. “It typically presents as rough 1-to-2-mm little bumps on your skin, particularly on the backs of arms, but can also affect the buttocks, upper thighs and even cheeks. It’s often described in association with other dry skin conditions like eczema,” she adds.

According to Dr. Rogers, 50 to 80 percent of adolescents and 40 percent of adults have keratosis pilaris, and because it’s inherited, about half of patients also have family members with the same skin condition. It’s typically at its worst during puberty and improves with age, but as with most skin conditions, it can also be affected by the changing seasons. “Keratosis pilaris improves during summer months and worsens as the skin tends to dry out during the winter,” she explains.

How to Treat Keratosis Pilaris

As annoying as those pesky bumps are, Dr. Rogers says there’s not a whole lot you can do about it. “Keratosis pilaris is genetically determined, something that many of us will have for our entire lives,” she says. “Figuring how to keep things in check at home is the best long-term solution.”

While there’s currently no treatment that will absolutely get rid of KP, you can improve its appearance and symptoms with some TLC—and one of the best things you can do at home is to keep your skin moisturized. “Moisturize your skin after a shower or before bed with a thick, bland moisturizer,” says Dr. Rogers. Ingredients like ceramides and hyaluronic acid will also help ensure your skin stays hydrated and protected.

“To address roughness and texture changes, use a body wash and body cream with gentle exfoliating ingredients such as lactic, glycolic and salicylic acids three times a week.” This will help rid your skin of dead skin cells and smooth out texture without drying your complexion further and risking irritation. And although it might be tempting to do, Dr. Rogers warns against scrubbing, picking or scratching those tiny bumps.

Ready to give your skin an extra dose of pampering? We’ve listed our top product picks to help you keep keratosis pilaris at bay.

  1. NeoStrata
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    Lotion Plus

    According to Dr. Rogers, because KP is associated with dry, sensitive skin, it’s important to use mild moisturizers and AHA creams right after you shower. And if you’re on the lookout for a lotion that does it all, look no further! This anti-aging face-and-body lotion is formulated for advanced AHA users and works best for those with mature, dry, oily or combination skin. It features 15 percent glycolic acid that removes dead skin cells, refines fine lines and wrinkles and improves hyperpigmentation due to sun damage. Best of all, its lightweight formula will keep your skin hydrated without that heavy and sticky feeling.

    Buy now with free delivery
  2. First Aid Beauty
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    First Aid Beauty

    KP Bump Eraser Body Scrub with 10 AHA

    While aggressive scrubbing is a no-no if you have KP, exfoliating is key and this body scrub—infused with gentle chemical and physical exfoliators—gives you the best of both worlds. Its fast-acting formula features glycolic and lactic acids to exfoliate skin and improve texture while pumice-buffing beads buff dead skin cells, revealing brighter-looking skin.

    Buy now with free delivery
  3. Glytone
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    Exfoliating Body Wash

    To address skin roughness, Dr. Rogers suggests using a body wash with a chemical exfoliant, like this body wash from Glytone. Featuring AHAs and 8.8 percent glycolic acid, this dermatologist-approved body wash contains gentle exfoliators that remove grime, debris and excess oil while leaving skin relaxed and revitalized. Definitely deserving of its five-star rating!

    Buy now with free delivery
  4. Bioderma
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    Atoderm Intensive Balm

    Scratching your skin and forgetting to keep it moisturized will only make KP worse, so reach for this soothing treatment that’s infused with vitamin C and ceramides to keep dryness, irritation and itching at bay. Formulated for all skin types, it helps rebuild and maintain a healthy skin barrier, making it also ideal for those coping with other skin conditions like eczema.

    Buy now with free delivery

Beauty Reporter

Janeca Racho

With over 10 years of writing and editing experience, Janeca Racho has worked with clients in the fashion, entertainment, food, health and travel industries. An adventurer at heart, she will gladly trade her heels for a good pair of hiking shoes and skip hotels to camp under the stars. She loves horror movies, googling ingredients in her beauty products and backpacking trips with her toddler. Her newfound obsession: nude lipstick.