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What is keratosis? How can you manage it?

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What is keratosis pilaris? 

Is a common skin condition in which many small bumps appear on the skin due to plugging of the many tiny hair follicles that cover our bodies.  These hair follicles become blocked with keratin and as a result form bumps that can become inflamed, red and irritated or often appear flesh colored. 

What parts of the body does it appear on?

It appears on the backs of the upper arms, thighs and buttocks commonly.

What causes it? 

Plugging of the hair follicles can be related to skin conditions such as eczema or atopic dermatitis but are often genetically based and not related to other skin disorders.

Can you get rid of it and if so, how? If not, how would you treat it to minimize it or make it less noticeable? 

It is very hard to “get rid of KP” but it can be minimized.  For many people time is helpful.  Younger patients have more intense diseases in general.

What aesthetic/cosmetic treatments can help? How and why? 

You cannot scrape these bumps off.  Instead using scrubs with alpha and beta hydroxy acids can help along with tretinoin and a very good ceramide based moisturizer.

And is there anyone you would recommend avoiding certain common treatments? 

People with sensitive skin as often seen with patients who have KP should avoid or at least decrease the number of times a week they exfoliate. 

Can anything else help? (Diet, medicated creams or products, etc)

Salicylic acids and other fruit based acids such as AHA/BHA or lactic acids can be helpful,  Prescriptions that contain tretinoin (true retinoids) can be very helpful.

Can you recommend any products for at-home treatment or maintenance? Exfoliate every day in the shower and moisturize directly afterwards.

Is there a certain skincare ingredient that those with KP should be using? 

Any ingredients they should be avoiding? What do those ingredients do? Anything that dries out the skin is not helpful and active ingredients such as acids or retinoids should be used sparingly and with a moisturizer. 

Would you recommend something different for black or darker skin tones? 

Darker skin types can be more dry and sensitive so it’s important to be very careful with any acids used to exfoliate the skin.  Ceramide creams such as CerVe ceramide cream can be helpful. 

What can you do leading up to your wedding day to treat it/make it less noticeable?

 In the dermatologist office we can offer medical grade skin peels as well as laser treatments in addition to prescriptions and topicals.

How far ahead of your wedding should you start addressing your KP? 

As soon as possible. it can be difficult to treat and it can take many months to see improvement. 

 Is there anything you can do that might aggravate it? (Things brides should avoid) 

Do not use physical exfoliators such as loofah sponges or anything that can irritate the skin physically is not helpful for KP.

What advice do you have for managing it ON your wedding day?

Moisturize with a ceramide based cream that can keep the skin looking and feeling smooth.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.