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Keratosis Pilaris is a common skin condition that, while harmless, will cause dry, rough patches on your skin and tiny bumps. It occurs most commonly on thighs, cheeks, upper arms, and buttocks. The bumps do not usually hurt or itch. However, it can be rather unsightly, and the dry, rough patches may cause irritation or itching. While the condition is considered harmless (it is basically considered just a variant of typical skin, doesn’t cause pain other than mild itching, and doesn’t get worse), it can be annoying and you may wish to treat it for aesthetic reasons. The good news is that it usually disappears by age 30. Further, you can’t actually cure or prevent it, but you can control the symptoms. Nonetheless, you very well may wish to keep it in check in the meantime if you have it. Let’s talk about how.
This one can’t be emphasized enough. It won’t necessarily benefit the bumps, but moisturization will definitely keep the dry, rough patches of skin sated. You’ll want to use powerful moisturizers with water-attracting ingredients like hyaluronic acid. Moisturizing and soothing ingredients like vitamin E, Aloe Vera, and chamomile could also be potentially helpful.
In order to avoid buildup of dry skin cells and help clear away dry patches, you want to exfoliate gently, but regularly. You can use a physical exfoliant (scrubs with grains that scratch away the dead cells) twice a week, but if you do, avoid anything with micro-beads. They’re not biodegradable and they end up in the ocean, where they cause a lot of problems with ocean life. Even better, though, is a once-weekly chemical exfoliant. Look for something with alpha-hydroxy acid, lactic acid, salicylic acid, etc. These should be used about once a week.
Use Topical Retinoids
Another fairly effective treatment for Keratosis Pilaris symptoms is retinoid creams. Retinol is a form of Vitamin A, and other retiniods—compounds related to retinol—are fairly useful in skincare. When used correctly, they can help prevent hair follicles from plugging up, increase cellular turnover rate, and just generally make your skin softer, clearer, and younger-looking.
Ask your Doctor
There are a number of powerful prescription creams to treat skin conditions, including Keratosis Pilaris, which can be obtained by making an appointment with a doctor, preferably a dermatologist. So pick up the phone and make an appointment if you’d like to get things in check.
One final option is to simply not worry overmuch, and—aside from the normal use of hand and body lotion to control dryness—just let your Keratosis Pilaris be. It’s not harmful or even terribly painful (and you can help the itching by using lotions made for sensitive skin), and there’s nothing wrong with it. Wear your bumps with pride and don’t think they make you any less good-looking or likable. If you want to try and control the symptoms before they eventually go away, go ahead, but practicing self-acceptance and realizing you don’t have to do something just to conform to society’s ideal is incredibly important, and deserves emphasis.