I remember being diagnosed with Keratosis Pilaris (KP) as a child, with what looked like permanent goose bumps on the outside of my arms, tops of legs, and along my jaw (people often mistake it for Rosacea). My father was keen on addressing it so they didn’t scar, but I don’t remember there being a recommended treatment. In fact, it’s fairly mild in the spectrum of potential skin conditions. But for anyone looking to be camera-ready, it can be a real hassle. Here’s what has worked for me:
Exfoliation and Avoiding Body Wash
When I was diagnosed, my father had me try iodine soap, which is a nasty blood-orange color. It also made no noticeable difference. However, as I’ve grown older, I can tell you that regular exfoliation works best, preferably with exfoliating gloves, though scrubs can work well, too. Whittling away at the excess skin cells is one way to address KP, but another is avoiding the products that create build-up. Bar soap with either shea butter or olive oil have both worked well for me. They are naturally moisturizing, which helps when the exfoliating leaves your skin itchy.
Moisturize With Care
When choosing a moisturizer, I highly recommend non-perfumed daily moisturizers, like Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion, or an over-night body butter, like the Body Shop’s Shea Butter Body Butter, to help repair any dermal aggravation due to exfoliation. The skin between the hair follicles doesn’t need the same exfoliation, after all, so it appreciates the replenishment the thicker moisturizers provide. Also, any added perfumes can agitate the freshly exfoliated skin.
Facials, But No Microderm Abrasion
Microderm Abrasion has never worked for me, I suspect for the same reason above; the skin surrounding the bumps doesn’t need the same level of intensity. However, my sensitive skin, with unfortunate dry spots around my nose and mouth that are only exacerbated by the Colorado dry air, has responded well to glycolic peels. In any case, best to seek an experienced esthetician when doing facials to ensure they are treating your KP appropriately.
Direct Vitamin D Absorbtion
This last one was recommended to me by a client of mine. She, too, had KP, but hardly any traces of red in the normal areas. She was told to start tanning to diminish the signs of redness. Now, this could just be because it changes skin pigment to a color that has less contrast against red, raised skin around a hair follicle, but it seems to work. When I started getting more sun (with SPF protection, of course), I, too, saw a reduction in redness. I think it’s quite likely that the skin’s exposure to sun in regular intervals actually calms the build up of skin cells.
But that’s just me. What about you?