Keratosis pilaris is a genetic skin disorder that affects many people; I am one of them. I want to tell you my story in dealing with this disorder without all of the medical jargon. Of course, I would recommend seeing your doctor if you think any of these skin symptoms may apply to you.
What is keratosis pilaris? Basically, in my own words, it is a genetic skin disorder characterized by the red, bumpy look one may observe on their skin. It is often called “chicken skin” characterized by its bumpy appearance akin to “goose bumps.” It is most often seen on the arms, outer thighs, back, and sometimes the face. This is a result in the buildup of keratin in the hair follicle, thus becoming clogged. This is what causes the white bumps on the skin as well as red inflammation around the outer edges. The genetic disorder causes the skin to be incapable of shedding that keratin appropriately, thus clogging the hair follicle. It is not a painful or irritating skin problem, but it can often appear so. I have found that my skin looks redder in harsh weather, such as extreme cold or when out in the scorching heat of the summer.
What are the treatments available? Initially, I saw my doctor in order to confirm what this skin condition in fact was and then was able to gather advice on what course of treatment to take. My doctor gave me a Retin A cream called, Tretinoin, which initially gave me some relief. When using this cream, it is important to wear sunblock, because Retin A can cause sun sensitivity. I did not see the skin disorder disappear, but it did help with smoothing my skin, thus reducing the bumpy look. The redness was an ongoing issue, but mainly due to my sensitive skin and being susceptible to weather changes. In the end, I did my own research into what homeopathic remedies were available, so as to reduce the use of a medical, topical lotion.
At-home remedies and skin care can certainly help with your skin’s appearance in the long run. These things need to be used at your own discretion and do not discredit any medical advice from your doctor or dermatologist. These are just some things that I have found helped me to keep this disorder at bay.
There is research that suggests coconut oil is good for this issue as well as apple cider vinegar. There are surely good uses for both, but I have, finally, after much experimentation, found what works best for me. I clean my skin with unscented, unrefined goats’ milk soap and moisturize with Shea butter (unscented and unrefined as well). I found that keeping my daily skin care routine simple and consistent has worked best.
Over the years, I realized through trial and error what triggers my skin to an increase in breakout and redness and narrowed it down to what works. Keeping a journal or log of what works and does not work for your skin may be useful as well. I also use sunblock without all the yucky chemicals and avoid overexposure when outdoors. Taking an omega oil complex can be beneficial, ruling out any possible food allergies, and drinking clean water throughout the day. Whatever route you decide to take discuss with your doctor to be sure that it is safe and that it will be beneficial to you.