5 Things To Know About Keratosis Pilaris

Chances are high that you have Keratosis Pilaris (KP), aka “chicken skin,” if you are reading this. You know the same tiny, red bumps that feel like sandpaper, which prevented you from wearing all those cute short shorts and favorite sleeveless shirts during your teen years? Although KP’s appearance can make any of us girlies self-conscious, we are here to enlighten you on the subject and tell you how to alleviate its symptoms.


Keratosis Pilaris is “actually plugs of keratin protein that have been collecting in hair follicles,” says Beautylish. “While most frequent on the back of upper arms, they’ve been known to appear on both sets of ‘cheeks.’ These pesky plugged follicles are responsible for that sandpaper feeling on your skin, and they’re at their worst during winter, when skin is at its driest and most vulnerable.”

You most likely noticed that KP flourished during your preteen to teen years and has reduced in appearance since you became a college goddess. KP affects 50 to 80 percent of adolescents and usually vanishes before age 30. Since KP is incurable, it is important to never stop treating it, even when its symptoms disappear.


1. Moisturize Religiously

It is essential to recognize KP since it is usually mistaken for acne; you don’t want to irritate your skin and eliminate its natural oils. Now that you know that KP is a buildup of keratin manifested by tiny, red bumps, you must religiously MOISTURIZE! We cannot stress this enough. KP’s symptoms are heightened during the rough winter months when the air is dry and cold. Search for super moisturizing lotions or creams that treat your KP, such as Dermadoctor KP Duty 4 oz. ($36, Sephora), or go the au naturale route and try coconut oil.

In addition to body lotions for moisture, invest in a humidifier for your dorm; there are plenty of small, cute humidifiers in travel sizes like Sunpentown Personal Humidifier ($49.99, Target). You’ll be able to travel with this at-ease, bringing it from school to home during break. A humidifier won’t only benefit your KP, but it will keep your skin, hair, allergies and body hydrated and free of congestion. Trust us, your roommate will thank you, too; it’s not by chance that her skin and allergies will improve.

Remember, moisture should not be dealt with solely in the outside, but internally, meaning keep your body hydrated! Drink plenty of water and eat well. We know we sound like a broken record, but what you put into your body reflects on the outside.

2. Be Picky

It’s okay to become a product junkie; if KP is what makes you self-conscious and you’d like to alleviate it, find what works for you. Replace harsh soaps with moisturizing body washes or soaps for sensitive skin.

3. Exfoliate Like Your Life Depends On it

You want to slough off the keratin buildup that is creating the illusion of chicken skin. Concentrate on the roughest areas, such as the upper arms, thighs and your cheeks. Our favorite pick is Fresh’s Brown Sugar Body Polish 7 oz. ($38, Sephora) -- this baby has the power of exfoliation and moisture! But if you already have a favorite scrub, no worries, whatever works for you is fine, too!

4. Get Tested

Like we mentioned before what you eat is projected onto your exterior. Find out if you have any food allergies, which may be contributing to your KP. You may find that eliminating a certain type of food will benefit you all around and lift your mood.

5. Hot Showers Are Your Worst Enemy

We know you love indulging is super hot, steamy baths and showers, but this is your first violation when treating KP and dry skin in general. “Cold showers might sound like punishment during the blustery winter but there are actually some pretty cool benefits to them,” says All Women Stalk. “First off, cold showers help strengthen immunity, improve circulation, regulate body temperature, improve movement through the lymph system and can help alleviate depression. In addition to that, cold water tightens pores and contributes to detoxification, so gradually switching from warm to cool showers can do wonder for your health.”

It is important that you crack open your science textbook, and remember that beauty is more than skin deep. Although KP is not a life threatening condition, we wouldn’t want you to further irritate your skin or mistreat your body without knowing.

By: Ivanna Coello | Images: Source, listed retail stores

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  1. Thanks for the post! It's easy to feel like I'm all alone with KP, but then I come across a post by chance and it reminds me, I'm not.

    I just want to share what has helped me more than anything else: Coconut Oil. It's relatively inexpensive for the amount you get and you don't need to use a ton. I apply it to my legs and arms after I get out of the shower. I am blown away by how good my legs look. People that know me and my KP problem have even noticed the difference (without me pointing it out).

    1. Nikki, I'm glad I was able to help in any way! Remember to pay dry!


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