I’ve had Keratosis Pilaris (or ”KP” for short) for as long as I can remember. But I haven’t always known what to call it or exactly what it was. Discovering what those little red bumps were is something that came with extensive web searching, dermatological consulting and countless hours of tank top induced anxiety attacks. Hopefully this article will spare you the trouble.
It’s Called What?
According to the Mayo Clinic, “Keratosis Pilaris (ker-uh-TOE-sis pih-LAIR-is) is a common skin condition that causes rough patches and small, acne-like bumps, usually on the arms, thighs, cheeks and buttocks. Keratosis Pilaris bumps are usually white, sometimes red, and generally don’t hurt or itch.”
It happens because a protein in your skin is covering the hair follicles and basically suffocating them. The bumps are your skin’s reaction to this irritation, thus becoming your own personal irritant.
Why We Hate Them
As women, we pride ourselves on our appearance and in the beauty of our skin in particular. It is the focus of treatments, makeup, creams, tanning and toning, all in an effort to attain perfection. So it doesn’t seem fair that no matter how much you try, you are stuck with a condition often referred to as “Chicken Skin.” Ewww!! Don’t stress though, because…
You’re Not Alone
It is estimated that approximately 50 percent of kids and 40 percent of adults have some symptoms of KP, with women being twice as likely to have it as men. It’s also hereditary and will likely be at its worst during puberty (isn’t everything?).
(Note: If you look closely, you’ll notice many actors and celebrities with the condition.)
The Good News
It’ll probably go away on its own. Studies show that most cases of KP dissipate by age 30. If the bumps are more prominent, very red or especially itchy, dry skin may be fueling the problem. The use of a soothing, unscented, deep-conditioning lotion (I prefer Johnson’s Baby Lotion) will likely help reduce the appearance of bumps. In my experience, a healthy summer glow can also go a long way. With a light to medium tan, the bumps become less noticeable and seem to recede somewhat. Dermatologists also recommend Vitamin A, Scrubs and Eczema Creams. There are even some products out there designed specifically for KP.
Though I’ve not quite hit the magical 3-0, the rashes have become less noticeable over the years. Maybe 30 is something to look forward to after all…