When I asked my doctor about annoying red bumps on my arms, he launched into a speech about keratin and blocked hair follicles that cause my skin to look this way. This condition is called Keratosis Pilaris or KP for short, also known as chicken skin. But to people who suffer from this condition, it is much more than a medical definition. Sufferers often develop body issues, because they feel ashamed of their skin. From that comes the habit of strategic concealment that I used to be guilty of as well — wearing long sleeved shirts and pants to cover the areas (upper arms, calves, thighs) that are typically affected. Even in the summer time. Even on the beach.
However, after years of internet searches and “trial and error,” I have found ways to improve the appearance of my skin.
KP-Friendly Shower Routine. The areas of the skin affected by KP are naturally dry, so it`s important to not cause more dryness. For me that means staying away from body washes that contain a high number of chemicals or are scented. Typically, the more artificial my body wash smells, the worse it makes my KP. Organic or all-natural body washes are ideal, but in case I can`t get my hands on organic products, I chose the ones that have moisturizing ingredients, such as shea butter.
Double Duty. Scrubbing and moisturizing is an essential part of any KP routine. As I mentioned before, KP doesn’t seem to like chemicals. Therefore, I turn to a completely natural concoction of brown sugar and coconut oil that I can whip up in my own kitchen. The brown sugar particles slough off the roughness and the coconut oil prevents the scrub from being too abrasive and also doubles as a moisturizer. Even after you wash the scrub off with water, a thin film of the oil remains on the surface of the skin and moisturizes it throughout the day.
It is a known fact among KP sufferers that a bit of sunshine can temporarily reduce the appearance of bumps and redness (make sure to wear sunscreen and monitor how long you stay out in the sun), but unfortunately, at the moment there is no known cure for Keratosis Pilaris. However, as I found from my personal dealings with KP, eating healthy, using natural products on your skin, and moisturizing can go a long way.