Have you ever experienced the growth of ‘chicken skin’ on your legs or arms? If that is right, then you are not alone. You probably have keratosis pilaris, a common skin condition that affects almost 50 – 80 percent of adolescents and 40 percent of adults. Keratosis pilaris looks like tiny, rough-feeling bumps on the skin, and it may be mistaken for small pimples, but it’s not – keratosis pilaris is an entirely different skin condition.
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Although keratosis pilaris is relatively harmless, it can be socially damaging and embarrassing. In addition, most over-the-counter treatments and medications do not yield results. Still, there are natural remedies for keratosis pilaris that will help reduce the appearance of these sandpaper bumps and make your skin clearer.
You will learn the following from this post:
What is Keratosis Pilaris?
Keratosis pilaris is sometimes called ‘chicken skin’; it is a common skin condition that makes patches of rough-feeling bumps develop on the skin. These tiny pimples or bumps are dead skin cells plugging hair follicles. As a result, they sometimes appear brown or red.
You can find keratosis pilaris on your buttocks, cheeks, thighs, or upper arms when you have it. The condition is not contagious, and these bumps do not usually cause any itching or discomfort. However, keratosis pilaris can worsen in the winter months when the skin tends to dry out, and it may also worsen when a woman is pregnant.
Unfortunately, this harmless genetic skin condition has no cure, but there are various ways you can prevent it from getting worse. The condition often clears up naturally when you are about 30 years old.
Signs and Symptoms of Keratosis Pilaris
The sudden appearance of keratosis pilaris is its most noticeable symptom. The visible bumps that appear on the skin look like goosebumps or a plucked chicken’s skin. It is due to this reason that people call it ‘chicken skin’.
The bumps can develop anywhere on the skin, where there are hair follicles – therefore, keratosis pilaris will never appear on the palms of your hands or the soles of your feet. However, excessive keratosis pilaris can extend to the lower legs and forearms.
Other symptoms associated with keratosis pilaris include:
- bumps that feel like sandpaper
- itchy, irritable skin
- bumps that can appear in different colors according to skin tone (black, brown, pink, red, white, or flesh-colored)
- dry skin
- slight redness or pinkness around bumps
Some people can develop bumps on their faces, especially the cheeks, which people can mistake for acne. Dry skin can make the bumps become significant and appear more noticeable.
Research has revealed that because keratosis pilaris symptoms are common among adolescents, the condition may have a psychological effect. Keratosis pilaris has a close association with developmental issues of body images, socialization, and sexuality. Data gathered by scientists and researchers in Thailand reveals that for 40 percent of people living with keratosis pilaris, there is a significant effect on their quality of life and self-image.
Causes of Keratosis Pilaris
This skin condition results from a buildup of keratin (a fibrous structural protein available in your nails, hair, and epithelial cells that make up the outermost layer of your skin) in the skin pores. If you develop keratosis pilaris, the keratin of your body hair becomes clogged in the pores, blocking hair follicles from opening. As a result, a small bump appears where the hair is supposed to be. If you pick at the bump, you may discover the emergence of small body hair.
No one knows what causes the keratin buildup, but doctors think it may have a relationship with skin conditions like genetic diseases and atopic dermatitis – a type of eczema.
Who can Develop Keratosis Pilaris?
Age is a significant risk factor for keratosis pilaris. It frequently appears in childhood, and reaches its peak prevalence in adolescence, then naturally disappearing by adulthood.
Keratosis pilaris is common in people with:
- Celtic ancestry
- children or teenagers
- hay fever
- dry skin
Anyone can fall victim to this condition, but children and teenagers are more prone. While keratosis pilaris often begins during adolescence or late infancy, it typically clears up around one’s mid-20’s and completely goes away by 30 in most cases.
Hormonal changes can also result in flare-ups during puberty for teenagers and pregnancy for women. In addition, people with fair skin often suffer keratosis pilaris more.
Conventional Treatments for Keratosis Pilaris
You can treat the symptoms of keratosis pilaris with ongoing maintenance. However, keratosis pilaris can be treatment-resistant, or its improvement may take months – that is, if the condition even improves at all.
A dermatologist, or skin doctor, may suggest a moisturizing treatment to relieve the dry, itchy skin and improve the skin’s appearance from rash resulting from the keratosis. In addition, many prescription topical creams can prevent hair follicles from being blocked or remove dead cells.
The two common ingredients with moisturizing treatments are lactic acid, glycolic acid, salicylic acid, and urea – these acids are keratolytic agents that thin the skin around the areas where excess skin or lesions have developed. Mixed, these ingredients can help remove and loosen dead skin cells and ultimately soften dry skin. Other treatment methods your dermatologist may also suggest include:
- retinol creams
- chemical peels
- microdermabrasion (an intense exfoliating treatment)
You should be careful about the ingredients in these creams though, and ensure that you talk to your doctor before applying them to your skin. Some prescription topical creams contain acids that may cause adverse side effects on your skin. Such effects include:
Side effects may vary from victim to victim and can be severe in people with susceptible skins. There are also some experimental options you can try, such as vascular laser treatment and photo-pneumatic therapy. The best treatment is to wait out the condition – that is, leave it to disappear naturally, or you can instead try the natural remedies for keratosis pilaris.
10 Natural Remedies for Keratosis Pilaris
If you do not like how your keratosis pilaris looks, there are some techniques you can employ for treatment at home. Though the condition is incurable, self-care treatments can help reduce irritation, itching, and bumps. Consider the following natural remedies for keratosis pilaris.
1. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a lot more than just a cooking ingredient. The natural medicinal property vinegar contains makes it an excellent, multi-purpose skincare remedy you should always keep handy. Like most fruit-based products, apple cider vinegar is an antioxidant. Apple cider vinegar can kill some of the most common types of fungus and bacteria that appear on the skin. For example, to help clear keratosis pilaris, stir the same amount of apple cider vinegar and water, then apply the mixture to the affected spot for a few minutes. The malic acid in apple cider vinegar is a hydroxyl acid that works as a natural, gentle exfoliant to remove excess skin cells. You can apply this treatment as many times as possible until you begin to see results.
Dry skin worsens keratosis pilaris. Therefore, staying hydrated can make a huge difference in your skin’s texture. Sometimes, drinking more water can be challenging, but your skin will appreciate the effort. With simple smoothie recipes that effortlessly convert your everyday veggies and fruits into a real treat, you can also remain hydrated.
You can also make use of hydrating lotions, such as lotions with alpha hydroxyl acids (AHAs). Examples of such creams are the ones with lactic acids, which can hydrate dry skin and encourage cell turnover. In addition, some dermatologists recommend products like AmLactin and Eucerin Professional Repair – you can purchase either of these products online. Also, Glycerin sold in most beauty supply stores can soften bumps. Finally, Rosewater can also soothe skin inflammation.
3. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Fish oil contains a lot of benefits for keeping our nails, hair, and skin healthy. Coldwater fish (such as sardines, tuna, and wild salmon) provides distilled fish oil supplements. However, for vegetarians (or whoever), organic flax seeds, hemp seeds, and chia seeds are easy and effective ways to add more omega-3 fatty acids into your diet to protect and nourish your skin cells.
4. Coconut Oil
Using pure, virgin coconut oil is an excellent way to maintain glowing hair and skin. Coconut oil is also effective in treating annoying skin problems. The fatty acids in coconut oil give it anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Coconut oil is effective in reducing redness and inflammation from skin conditions.
To make an exfoliating scrub with coconut oil, mix a ratio of 1:2 of brown sugar/granulated sugar and coconut oil. Gently and carefully scrub the affected area with the mixture for 2 – 4 minutes, then gently rinse with water. Continue exfoliating with the mixture until you begin to see improvement.
5. Vitamin A
Make sure your diet contains sufficient vitamin A; sweet potatoes, carrots, or anything red or yellow will have an abundance of vitamin A. The retinol available in vitamin A prevents skin cells from accumulating and blocking pores while simultaneously encouraging cell turnover, which is essential in keeping your skin glowing and healthy.
Fruits such as mangoes, papaya, and strawberries are naturally high in Vitamin A – they also make excellent scrubs. Apart from eating these ‘nutraceuticals’ (which is a relatively easy thing to do), you can also discover retinol in body lotions and acne treatments you can apply directly to your skin.
6. Baking Soda
Baking soda is beyond merely baking your cookies. It also contains lovely exfoliating properties for your skin. In addition, it is capable of removing dead cells and opening clogged pores. Mix 2-3 tablespoons of water and baking soda to form a paste. Scrub the affected part of the body gently for 3 – 5 minutes, then rinse.
You can also mix baking soda with lemon for a simple scrub that includes citric acid in unclogging pores and exfoliating the skin. Slice a lime (or lemon) in two and dip the flesh into baking soda. Rub onto the upper arm area (or anywhere you have bumps) for a minute, then rinse. Apply this process twice a week.
7. Oatmeal Bath
After having a long day, there is nothing that calms your mind and soothes your skin like a bath. Pour a handful of powdered oats into a lukewarm bath (do not use hot water because it can irritate inflamed or parched skin) to make an extra but effective moisturizing bath to treat your dry skin. Always make yourself this oatmeal bath every night or morning, and you will begin to see improvement.
8. Olive Oil
Many of us have extra virgin olive oil in our kitchen, and it turns out that this product contains excellent moisturizing properties that can help treat skin inflammatory conditions. Olive oil is rich in enough vitamin E, which can help reduce the dry, bumpy areas of the skin. Gently apply olive oil directly to the affected part of your skin, or you can add in a bit of sugar to exfoliate.
You can also improve the sheen of your hair with olive oil while at the same time treating your skin with it. It does not hurt to kill two birds with one stone.
Because the symptoms of keratosis pilaris can worsen in the winter months when the skin is drier, the use of a humidifier in your bedroom can help reduce skin redness and patchiness. It’s the low humidity that dries out your skin. Therefore, adding moisture to your home’s air can help relieve the symptoms of keratosis pilaris, especially during the night when you spend a significant length of time indoors. If you live in an area with hard water, buying a home water softener can perform miracles on your hair and skin every time you bathe or wash.
10. Sour Cream
Lactic acid naturally appears in sour cream, and it is excellent for removing keratin buildup that can clog up your skin. You can use sour cream alone or with a bit of brown or white sugar. Gently rub on the affected part in a circular motion for a few minutes and then rinse. You can also use other ingredients that contain lactic acid – you can find these ingredients in your fridge, such as buttermilk or yogurt. It may be surprising to discover that they are very effective natural remedies for keratosis pilaris.
Other natural remedies for keratosis pilaris include jojoba oil, Castile soap, avocado, raw honey, sea salt, and lavender essential oil. You can also try these additional remedies. However, if all else fails, you should consult your dermatologist to diagnose your skin condition properly.
Which Supplements are Good for Keratosis Pilaris?
Spices, Oils, Milk, Salmon, Mackerel, lactic acid, Salicylic acid, etc., are some of the best-preferred supplements for Keratosis Pilaris. These helps moisturize dry skin and remove dead cell.
What are the Symptoms of Keratosis Pilaris?
Tiny Bumps, Rough and Dry Skin, Itchy goosebumps, etc., are some common symptoms of Keratosis Pilaris.
Are Essential Oils Beneficial for Keratosis Pilaris?
Not all but a few of the practical and beneficial Essential Oils for Keratosis Pilaris are Lavender essential oil, Tea tree essential oil, and Lemon essential oil. You can use this as per instruction, easily available in any grocery store.
The information contained in this post is for educational purposes only. Always consult your primary care doctor before using the remedies that are provided. The information is provided by The Hidden Cures and while we do timely, in-depth research on the information that we provide to you, everything stated may not be up to date or accurate from the time it was written.