Plastic Surgery & Cosmetic Center

How to Treat Keratosis Pilaris

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How to Treat Keratosis Pilaris

Keratosis Pilaris is a common skin concern of patients is dry rough patches with little firm bumps.  Most commonly this skin issue develops on the backs of the upper arms. Other body areas are the thighs, cheeks, and buttocks.

This condition can be frustrating because it can be stubborn and resistant to treatment.  Patients have usually tried a variety of moisturizing creams without much success when they seek dermatological help from Janiga MDs.

Keratosis pilaris results from a firm plug in the hair follicles. This plug is 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 presentation, though occasionally redness and inflammation can be the most obvious symptoms.

The treatment options for keratosis pilaris target exfoliation.  Alpha hydroxy acids such as glycolic and lactic acid are available in over the counter topical preparations such as Lac-Hydrin. The lactic acid in this product exfoliates the keratin plug so the moisturizer can penetrate the skin.  Urea based topical creams are also available both over the counter and by prescription.  These exfoliate and soften the skin.

We prescribe topical retinoids for keratosis pilaris if the alpha-hydroxy acids do not work. Prescription topical retinoin cream can be used up to 3 times a day daily depending on the skin’s tolerance. This medication can be irritating to the skin which can limit its use.

When redness is a predominant symptom for our Reno dermatology patients with keratosis pilaris we can prescribe anti-inflammatory medications such as triamcinolone cream, along with the exfoliants.

This condition is associated with dry skin, and in the dry climate of Reno we recommend everyone to take steps to avoid dry irritated skin.  Soaps are drying to the skin, so avoiding harsh soaps and opting for gentle cleansers such as Dove or Cetaphil will improve the hydration of the skin. Spending time in water dries skin also, so limiting shower and bath time is recommended. Applying a moisturizing cream once to twice a day, such as CeraVe or Cetaphil cream, will also benefit your skin.  Wintertime is drier than the summer so keratosis pilaris does tend to flare in the winter.

If you’re suffering from Keratosis Pilaris, call our Reno dermatology offices to set up a consultation. We’ll help create a custom plan to get your skin smooth and bump-free.