Keratosis Pilaris Treatment Options
Keratosis pilaris is a highly common genetic follicular condition characterized by the appearance of rough bumps on the skin and hence popularly known as “chicken skin” or “goose bumps”.
Primarily, they appear on the back and outer sides of the upper arms, but can also appear on thighs and buttocks or any body area except on skin having a surface devoid of hair or pubescence (like the palms or soles of feet). Worldwide, keratosis pilaris affects an estimated 40 to 50 percent of the adult population and approximately 50 to 80 percent of all adolescents. Varying in degree, keratosis pilaris can range from slight to severe.
Keratosis pilaris tends to appear as excess keratin, a natural fibrous protein in the skin found usually in human hair, nails and callus, accumulates around hair follicles (process known as hyperkeratinization).
Keratosis pilaris is unattractive, and it most often appears as a group of tiny hard bumps that are seldom sore or itchy. Though people with keratosis pilaris suffer this condition year round, it’s in the colder periods when moisture levels in the air are lower that the problem can become exacerbated and the ‘goose bumps’ will look and feel more pronounced in color and texture.
There are various different types of keratosis pilaris, including keratosis pilaris rubra (red, inflamed bumps), alba (asperous, bumpy skin with no irritation), rubra faceii (reddish rash on the cheeks) and related disorders.
Keratosis pilaris alba is the more common type and is characterized by tiny gray-white papules with a negligible inflammatory component.
Keratosis pilaris rubra has an important inflammatory component, and thus sufferers present tiny red papules. This variation is most conspicuous during the cold months.
Cells that contain keratin are continually being shed and replaced by new ones. The aliment known as dandruff results when the scalp sheds such cells. Hormonal influence may appear because a high prevalence and intensity of keratosis pilaris is noted during adolescence and in women with hyperandrogenism. In severe cases, the pores can become blocked and produce acne. The clogged pores appear like comedones of keratinized plugs surrounding the hair follicle.
Keratosis Pilaris Treatment
Many sufferers find keratosis pilaris lesions visually unsightly and therefore seek treatment. Occasionally, they may become secondarily infected because of scratchy tight-fitting clothing or abrasive self-actions, in which case treatment of the infection is needed. An important inflammatory component may be present and may be alleviated with topical steroid therapy. Treatment of the noninflamed papules can be hard because they have proven resistant to most types of therapy.
Treatment alternatives for keratosis pilaris concentrate on exfoliating or softening the dermis to minimize blocked pores. Keratosis pilaris treatment initially begins with adherence to nonpharmacologic actions and compliance with daily living actions that will not worsen the condition. An important first step is to use a mild cleansing agent with abrasive characteristics, often termed scrub, but one that is not drying (for sensitive skin). The goal is to cleanse and open the pores of the dermis. Other measures to prevent excessive dryness include taking tepid, quick showers and using a humidifier, especially during the cold periods when low humidity dries out the skin.
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