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What is Keratosis Pilaris (KP)?

Keratosis pilaris (KP) is a common long-term (chronic) skin condition. It causes small, scaly bumps on the skin where there are hair follicles. The bumps are extra keratin. This is a type of protein that’s part of skin, hair, and nails. The bumps can appear on the upper arms, thighs, and buttocks. They can also appear on the cheeks and on the sides of the torso. The bumps can get worse in cold weather, and better in warm weather. In many people, the bumps go away as they get older.

What causes Keratosis Pilaris?

Experts don’t know what causes it. Genes may cause the skin to create the extra keratin. It is linked to eczema or atopic dermatitis.

Who is at risk for Keratosis Pilaris?

You are more at risk for keratosis pilaris if you have a parent or sibling who has it. You are also more at risk if you have atopic dermatitis.

What are the symptoms of Keratosis Pilaris?

Symptoms can occur a bit differently in each person. They can include small, hard bumps on the back of the upper arms, thighs, buttocks, or cheeks. They often don’t itch or cause pain. The bumps may have pale, dry skin scales on top. They may look red. Some of the bumps may have a hair from the follicle twisted inside them.

How is Keratosis Pilaris treated?

There is no cure for keratosis pilaris. But the symptoms can be managed. KP can improve with age and without treatment. Treatment may improve the appearance of the bumps. But the condition often comes back if treatment is stopped. Treatment may include:

  • Reducing the size of the bumps. Lotion and cream with medicines such as salicylic acid, lactic acid, urea, or tretinoin can help reduce the bumps.
  • Keeping your skin moisturized. Put lotion or cream regularly on the areas with bumps. You can also use petroleum jelly or cold cream to moisturize the skin.
  • These may not help reduce the bumps in some people. And the bumps will come back when you stop these skin care steps.
  • Talk with your healthcare providers about the risks, benefits, and possible side effects of all medicines.

Dr. Greenberg takes a personalized approach to develop the best treatment plan for each patient dealing with keratosis pilaris. Schedule an appointment today 941-282-3376.