Keratosis pilaris (KP) is the scientific name for a benign condition that leads to dry patches on the skin, small bumps, and redness. You might know it as “chicken skin” or even “strawberry skin”. It’s a chronic condition and it won’t go away permanently, but with the right products, you can minimize its signs to a point in which it won’t be noticeable.
What is keratosis pilaris?
Keratosis pilaris is a skin condition that, in its usual form, is just cosmetic. Usually, it consists of small bumps on the skin of about 1mm in diameter, that may or may not be red. Moreover, these small bumps can appear scattered on the skin or clustered together. They commonly appear on the arms and legs, but can also appear on the face or other regions of the body. There is no consensus on what causes this condition, but it usually varies between two theories. Firstly, it can be an issue with excessive keratinization of the cells. This means that keratin, the “cement” that glues cells together, is overproduced and ends up pilling cells, not letting them exfoliate naturally. Secondly, there is the hypothesis that it can actually be related to the hair shaft, as they are usually more coily in KP areas.
One of the main questions regarding KP is “Will keratosis pilaris go away?”. It actually depends. This condition is very common on children and teenagers and about 1/3 of those who have it will see it go away by itself when they get to adult age. On the other hand, almost half of them will notice no changes with age and some will even get worse. Additionally, it’s also common that KP changes with the seasons, being the most common improvement in the summer.
How can I treat KP?
As this is a chronic condition, there is no treatment. There are, however, ways to manage it. There are a few medications that you can take if prescribed by your doctor. However, most cases of keratosis pilaris won’t need medication. Mostly, this condition can be managed by keeping the skin exfoliated and hydrated. This will help maintain the dead cells controlled and the skin hydrated, leading to fewer bumps.
There are a few ingredients that can help manage this condition, so let’s take a look at them.
Best creams and lotions for keratosis pilaris
Lactic acid is the go-to molecule for KP. This ingredient is an AHA, but it features one characteristic that makes it different from the other AHA: it’s moisturizing. So, if the best way to manage this condition is to both exfoliate and hydrate the skin, then having one ingredient that does it all is the best possible option. Several studies have confirmed that lactic acid is effective in managing keratosis pilaris, so pick your favorite one and just slather it on every day. This Rilastil Balm has a lower concentration to start with, but you can up it up with Rilastil Xerolact 30%.
Urea is a curious ingredient: the results depend on the concentration. If you choose up to 10% urea, it will be moisturizing. However, from that concentration up, it becomes an exfoliator. Urea is a very common ingredient in body products, so there is an array of products you can choose from. Pro tip: most of the names start with “Ure”, such as Ureadin or UreaRepair, so it’s easier to search for them. CeraVe SA is one of the most famous creams for keratosis pilaris, as it’s not only effective but also affordable.
Salicylic acid can be used to boost the effectiveness of other ingredients, so we love to combine a salicylic acid cleanser with a moisturizer containing one of the molecules above. The idea is to prevent ingrown hairs, so cleanse them away with an active gel wash. Just keep in mind to leave it on your skin for a few minutes to ensure it has time to produce an effect.
Glycolic acid doesn’t have a lot of scientific evidence behind it when it comes to reducing keratosis pilaris, but there’s no denying that people use it and state that it works. Even if it’s not the most effective one, we advise you to use it if you’re looking for combining anti-aging with targeting this condition. Neostrata Resurface Lotion is perfect for this.
If you wish to explore more products, you can check out our website category that lists all products for keratosis pilaris.
Head of Content at Care to Beauty