Keratosis Pilaris

Keratosis pilaris is the name of one of the most common conditions that afflicts the skin. It may sound scary but there's no need to worry; keratosis pilaris is totally harmless, noninfectious and does not affect your health in the long term. There is no cure and has been widely accepted as just an aesthetic nuisance. But even so, its appearance may be extremely problematic for sufferers because of its negative effect on self perception.

Keratosis pilaris is caused most often by genetics, but can also be the result of some other skin conditions. It happens to all skin types and is aggravated when the affected area lacks sufficient moisture. That's why in the winter, when it's particularly dry, the condition can worsen. And there's bad news for girls – there's a better chance of getting it if you're female and in childhood. While it is most apparent in adolescence, fortunately, keratosis pilaris tends to clear up in adulthood.

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Keratosis pilaris appears as patches of tiny bumps that look somewhat like goosebumps. The affected area becomes rough and when dry, it may also be itchy.

The condition is related to the production of keratin, the insoluble protein that is structural building block of not only hair and nails, but also the very outer layer of the skin that acts as a shield against infections and damaging intruders. When there is an excess production of keratin, it congests in the pores of the skin and the accompanying hair follicles acting as plugs, which explains the appearance of the tiny bumps. Sometimes, discolouration in the form of redness occurs. The front of the thighs and upper arms are the most commonly afflicted sites, however it may also appear on the chest, back and face.

Keratosis pilari has been divided into several types, according to symptoms and location. Some of these types include keratosis pilaris alba (rough and bumpy skin that is not irritated, but is dry), keratosis pilaris rubra faceii (a red rash located on the cheeks), and keratosis pilaris atrophicans faciei (a destruction of follicles located on the outer parts of the eyebrows).

The Solution to Keratosis Pilaris

As mentioned, it is impossible to cure keratosis pilaris. However, a skin care regimen using mild soaps, gentle exfoliation, and a moisturizer formulated for dry skin can help to reduce its appearance. And remember, exfoliation doesn't mean scrubbing vigorously!

Cosmetic treatments such as laser skin resurfacing and chemical peels may also help expedite the process and obtain more desirable results.

However, before you start a regimen, it is recommended that you consult a medical professional or patient consultant to find out what type of regimen is most suitable for you. Toronto Cosmetic Clinic offers free consultations to determine the most affective treatment for your problem.