What Is Keratosis Pilaris?

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Keratosis Pilaris is a common chronic skin condition that affects between 50-80% of adolescents and approximately 40% of adults. It manifests itself through small light or red coloured bumps on the skin, most characteristically on the upper arm and thighs.

Keratosis Pilaris is not contagious; it does not tend to come with any health issues, save for some occasional itchiness and has been known to appear alongside other skin conditions such as eczema.

Whist professionals are not certain of the triggering causal factor, it’s understood the condition may stem from an overproduction of keratin (hyperkeratinisation) in the opening of the follicle. Keratin is the protein responsible for protecting the skin from infections and the like. This build up develops a plug within the follicle which creates the characteristic bump on the surface of the skin.

While there is no cure, there are measures one can take to minimise its effect.

Dehydration has been found to acerbate the condition so it’s recommend to apply a heavy moisturiser daily. It can worsen during the winter months with the drop in humidity in the air. Keeping skin hydrating levels up is key to controlling the symptoms during the colder season.

Avoiding too much time in the shower and keeping the water from getting too hot will also have a positive effect on the condition as heat and water can actually dry skin further.

While it’s not considered a medical concern, it can cause people embarrassment or body-confidence issues. To further ‘treat’ the symptoms, a topical exfoliant or topical retinoid may aid in cell turnover. For more stubborn incarnations of the condition, a laser treatment may minimise the effects.

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