Chicken skin bumps – such a simple yet instantly identifiable description of the skin problem named keratosis pilaris (commonly referred to as “KP”). KP is a common skin condition that appears as tiny red bumps usually on the back of the arms, inner thighs and buttocks. Some people say these acne-like bumps make their skin look like plucked chicken skin – hence the nickname. KP is hereditary and affects 50 percent of the entire world’s population, me being one of them. Though it sounds like a horrible condition, KP is harmless. If anything, it’s just aesthetically displeasing. This skin issue occurs due to overproduction or buildup of a skin protein called keratin, which can block hair follicles from reaching the surface. When this occurs, the follicles get round and coil, which causes a bump to develop. KP can be difficult to treat and is quite stubborn.
While there isn’t a cure-all treatment for KP, there are important steps you can take to help manage its appearance:
- Moisturize: KP is often in the same category of the common skin condition eczema (rough, dry skin). It’s best to keep your skin hydrated and not let it dry out. This is why KP is more noticeable in colder winter months because the skin tends to be drier. The best type of hydration for your skin is lotion. The best type of lotion for KP skin is one that contains lauric or alpha hydroxy acid (AHAs). The ones I recommend are: AmLactin Moisturizing Lotion, Gold Bond Rough & Bumpy Skin and ‘KP Duty’ by DERMAdoctor. You can find most of them online or at your local pharmacy.
Natural Tip: Coconut oil. Coconut oil is naturally rich in lauric acid. Lauric acid helps in breaking up the access build of keratin. Keratin, as you know, is the major cause of KP as it clogs the hair follicles –leading to the formation of the rough and small bumps. After you exfoliate, removing the dead skin cells from the area(s) your experience KP, pour a small amount of coconut oil onto your palms and gently massage the oil in a circular motion onto the affected area for a minute. This will ensure that the oil is well spread and that it gets to penetrate deeper into the skin.
- Exfoliate: A regular routine of exfoliating your skin is the simplest way to reduce the bumps. It removes the dead cells on the skin surface, including the extra pile of keratin surrounding your hair follicles. There are many different types of scrubs out there, but I stick to the most natural kind. Some chemical scrubs may dry out your skin or irritate it. The best scrub out there is one that you can easily make at home. It’s not only good for your wallet, but you know what’s in it – no random chemicals!
Natural Tip: Homemade Sugar Scrub. You’ll need fine brown or white sugar and oil (I use coconut oil – duh!). Mix them in a 2:1 ratio, so that for every spoonful of oil you add two spoons of sugar. Mix them well and store them in a mason jar or air tight container. Exfoliate two to three times a week (if you have sensitive skin, make a point of exfoliating less). Remember – don’t press hard when rubbing the scrub on the skin, use your fingertips and go in a soft circular pattern.
- Eat Healthy Foods: Diet is reflected in your health. Eat these foods to help treat KP.
- Foods rich in Vitamins A and E: carrots, mangos, pumpkins, papayas, tomatoes, green leafy veggies and strawberries
- Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids: salmon, walnuts and flaxseeds
- Herbs: calendula, chickweed, burdock, marshmallow and slippery elm
I have always noticed people with KP on their arms and noticed it on my own, but I never knew what it was called. I hope this article helps the people who have questioned what they thought might be an acne breakout to realize it’s not! More than 50 percent of the human population has this skin condition, so don’t think you’re unlucky if you have it. You can control it, so take these simple steps and find out what works best for you. Together, we can be proud and happy to wear tank tops and shorts and show off our beautiful skin!
The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. Marque Medical is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.