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Keratosis Pilaris

Keratosis pilaris, a common skin condition, causes small, goosebump-like spots on the back of the arms, buttocks and thighs. Also referred to as follicular keratosis, keratosis pilaris can occur at any age and does not cause any serious issues. Sometimes, keratosis pilaris clears up on its own and other times it becomes a chronic problem, so the condition can be difficult to treat.

When keratin, the hard protein that protects skin from harmful substances and infection, builds up, a scaly plug develops and blocks the opening of the hair follicle. Usually, many plugs form, which creates the rough patch of skin, also known as keratosis pilaris. Genetics and a propensity toward other skin conditions like eczema, may increase chances of keratosis pilaris, but it can occur in otherwise healthy individuals.

The following signs may indicate keratosis pilaris:

  • Small, acne-like bumps
  • Rough, dry patches
  • Redness and inflammation near the bumps
  • Itchiness in some cases

Keeping the affected area moist and avoiding harsh soaps will help control symptoms of keratosis pilaris. Your doctor may recommend these treatments as well:

  • Medicated lotions or creams with 12 percent ammonium lactate to soften skin
  • Urea to help loosen and remove dead skin cells
  • Corticosteroids for temporary relief of symptoms
  • Topical retinoids that increase cell turnover, reducing the incidence of plugged follicles


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