Plastic Surgery & Cosmetic Center

The Best Products for Keratosis Pilaris

The Best Products for Keratosis Pilaris

Keratosis pilaris is a common skin concern. It’s easily indicated by dry, rough patches with little firm bumps, most often on the backs of the upper arms. However, it can also develop in other body areas like the thighs, cheeks, and buttocks.

Keratosis pilaris can be frustrating because it can be stubborn and resistant to treatment. Although many patients try various moisturizers at home, it can be difficult to find results without the right products. Dr. Jennifer Janiga and her team can recommend the right treatment options for you from some of the most effective skincare products on the market.

What Causes Keratosis Pilaris?

Keratosis pilaris is caused by a firm plug in the hair follicles of the skin. This plug is made of a hard protein called keratin that builds up and does not slough off the skin normally. Flesh-colored, sandpaper-like bumps are the most common sign of keratosis pilaris, although occasionally redness and inflammation can be the most obvious symptoms.

What Are the Best Products for Keratosis Pilaris?

There are some different approaches that can achieve good results with keratosis pilaris. You may benefit from a combination approach, but Dr. Janiga one of our staff can recommend your best options.

Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs)

The best over-the-counter treatment options for keratosis pilaris use chemical exfoliation. Alpha hydroxy acids such as glycolic and lactic acid are available in different forms like wipes or creams. AHAs work by penetrating the pores and exfoliating the keratin blocking them. This can often be gentler and more effective than manual exfoliation, and we offer a selection of AHA products at our Reno office that are higher in concentration than most that are available over the counter if those do not work for your skin.


Retinoids are a form of vitamin A that can stimulate your skin’s natural rate of cell turnover. Dr. Janiga can prescribe topical retinoids for keratosis pilaris if AHAs don’t achieve results. Prescription topical retinoid cream can be used up to 2 times a day depending on your skin’s tolerance. If it becomes irritating to your skin, cut back on its use, and moisturize more frequently.

Lifestyle Changes

Keratosis pilaris is associated with dry skin, and in the dry climate of Reno we recommend everyone to take steps to avoid dry, irritated skin. Certain soaps can be especially drying, so avoiding these and opting for gentle cleansers such as Dove or Cetaphil will improve the hydration of the skin. Sometimes, patients can even achieve results by simply switching soaps. Spending time in water dries your skin also, so limiting shower and bath time is recommended. Make sure to apply a moisturizing cream once to twice a day, such as CeraVe or Cetaphil cream. Finally, adjust your skincare regimen with the seasons, since times of the year like winter can be especially dry.

Schedule a Consultation

Keratosis pilaris can be difficult to get rid of without the right help. To meet with our skincare team and learn more about the best products for you, contact our Reno office by calling or filling out our online form.

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