Do you have white or red bumps on your arms that just will. not. go. away? Sometimes these areas also appear on the upper legs, or even on the face. They feel rough, a bit like sandpaper, and if they’re red they’re especially noticeable. You’ve probably tried all sorts of lotions and creams on them, and they just… sit there. Looking bumpy.
Those bumps are Keratosis Pilaris, basically your hair follicles have a bunch of built up proteins that are really stuck together. We’re not really sure what causes it, but the good news is that it will often go away by your early 30’s.
What can you do about it?
A lot of things! Primarily, you need to exfoliate the area to get rid of the plugs. Using special moisturizers to help penetrate into the bumps will help as well. If things are really bad you can even go the laser therapy or Retinoid route, though I’d recommend the help of a physician for those steps. Personally, I do great with a little extra exfoliation (with my Beautisol Hammam Mitt) and AmLactin Lotion.
Read on to see what some of my favorite doctors had to say!
Avery Kuflik, MD is a board certified dermatologist with a private practice in New Jersey.
Keratosis Pilaris is a skin condition that affects many people. While there is no cure, fortunately there are ways to keep your skin healthy. Wash with gentle cleansers in a warm/tepid shower and apply moisturizers. For better absorption, it is best to apply moisturizers to the skin while it is still damp. Light exfoliation may help but scrubbing is not recommended as it can make the condition worse. We like to use an exfoliant with a Salicylic or Glycolic Acid cleanser or moisturizer like the Glytone KP kit.
James C. Marotta, MD is a double board certified ENT and Plastic Surgeon who practices in Long Island.
No single treatment universally improves Keratosis Pilaris. Most options, including self-care measures and medicated creams, focus on softening the keratin deposits in the skin. 3 treatment options include:
Topical Exfoliants: Medicated creams containing alpha-hydroxy acid, lactic acid, salicylic acid or urea moisturize and soften dry skin while helping to loosen and remove dead skin cells. Depending on their strength, certain creams are available over-the-counter and others require a prescription; the best option can be decided by your doctor.
Topical Retinoids: Derived from vitamin A, retinoids work by promoting cell turnover and preventing the plugging of the hair follicle. Retinoids may be an effective treatment, but they can cause bothersome skin irritations, such as severe dryness, redness and peeling.
Laser Therapy: Certain types of Keratosis Pilaris involving severe redness and inflammation have been successfully treated with laser therapy. Laser treatment involves passing intense bursts of light into targeted areas of skin. This type of treatment may require repeat sessions over the course of a few months, depending on your response.
Debra Jaliman, MD is a board certified dermatologist with a private practice in New York City.
Use a Clarisonic to exfoliate the dead skin. The great thing about this is they have different brushes for different skin types. You can also use an over the counter AmLactin cream or lotion it contains lactic acid to breakdown the bumps.