Monday, 10 July 2017

Keratosis Pilaris

Keratosis pilaris is a common condition where the skin is rough and bumpy. It looks as if the skin is covered in permanent goose pimples.


Keratosis pilaris most commonly affects the back of the upper arms, and sometimes the buttocks and the front of the thighs. Less often, the forearms and upper back may be affected.


How it affects the skin
The patches of affected skin will be covered in tiny spiky bumps, which may be white, red or skin-coloured. This spotting looks like "chicken skin" and the skin feels rough, like sandpaper.
In some people, the skin itches and there may be inflammation and pinkness around the bumps. The skin tends to improve in summer and get worse during winter months or dry conditions.


Who's affected
Keratosis pilaris is very common, affecting up to one in three people. It can affect people of all ages but typically starts during childhood, although it can sometimes occur in babies, and gets worse in adolescence, around puberty. 
Keratosis pilaris sometimes improves after puberty, and may even disappear in adulthood, although many adults still have the condition in their 40s and 50s.


What causes keratosis pilaris?
Keratosis pilaris is hereditary and occurs when too much keratin builds up in the skin's hair follicles. Keratin is a protein found in the tough outer layer of skin, which causes the surface of the skin to thicken, hence the name "keratosis".
The excess keratin blocks the hair follicles with plugs of hard, rough skin. The tiny plugs widen the pores, giving the skin a spotty appearance. It's often associated with other dry skin conditions, such as eczema. 


Treating keratosis pilaris
There's little that can be done to treat keratosis pilaris, and it often gets better on its own without treatment. However, if it's bothering you, the following measures may help improve your rash:
  • use cleansers rather than soap – ordinary soap may dry your skin out and make the condition worse
  • moisturise your skin when it's dry – creams containing salicylic acid, lactic acid or urea are thought to be the most effective
  • gently rub the skin with an exfoliating foam pad or pumice stone to exfoliate the rough skin – be careful not to scrub too hard and rub off layers of skin
  • take lukewarm showers rather than hot baths

You can also seek advice from a medical Skin specialist about treatments available such as:
  • creams containing retinol, which is derived from vitamin A
  • chemical peels
  • microdermabrasion 

For more information contact the Claudia McGloin Clinic on 0719140728. 

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