Keratosis Pilaris - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment
Keratosis pilaris is a harmless skin disorder that causes small, acne-like bumps. Although it isn't serious, keratosis pilaris can be frustrating because it's difficult to treat. It most often appears on the back and outer sides of the upper arms and can also occur on the thighs and tops of legs, flanks, buttocks or any body part except glabrous skin. Less commonly, lesions appear on the face. Many people are bothered by the goose flesh appearance of keratosis pilaris, but it doesn't have long-term health implications and occurs in otherwise healthy people. Keratosis pilaris is particularly common in teenagers on the upper arms. It may occur in babies where it tends to be most obvious on the cheeks. It may remain for years but generally gradually disappears usually before age 30. There is no cure for keratosis pilaris, since KP is a chronic, genetic follicular disease, however treatments are available. Results from treatments vary and can often be disappointing.
- Keratosis pilaris is genetic in origin but the precise cause has not yet been determined.
- Keratosis pilaris may result from the buildup of keratin. It is a hard protein that protects your skin from harmful substances and infection. The keratin forms a horny plug that blocks the opening of the hair follicle.
- People with dry skin have a more difficult time treating the condition than those with oily skin.
- Atopic dermatitis may lead to cause this disease. This disease is more common in the patients having atopic dermatitis or eczema.
- This disease generally tends to worsen in winter and improve in summer.
- Physical findings are limited to the skin. Small (1-2 mm) folliculocentric keratotic papules are noted on skin.
- Sometimes inflammation may be present and lesions may be the color of the skin. Often, a small, coiled hair can be seen beneath the papule.
- There may present fine, bumpy texture to skin over the outer upper arm and thigh or elsewhere.
- In keratosis pilaris there may be slight pinkness may be seen around some bumps.
- They may also develop on the face, which is the area often affected in children.
- They are worse during cold weather, and make the skin look rough and dry.
- These bumps rarely itch.
- Moisturizing creams with lactic acid such as Amlactin or LacHydrin may be helpful.
- Urea containing products such as Ultramide 25 and high potency glycolic acid products are also potentially beneficial.
- More prominent inflammatory eruptions may benefit from a limited 7-day course of a medium-potency, emollient-based topical steroid applied once or twice a day followed by a routine of twice-daily applications of a compound preparation of 2-3% salicylic acid in 20% urea cream.
- Completely avoid the substance that triggers the rash and treat any existing rash with low-dose steroid ointments and vaseline based emollients.
- General measures to prevent excessive skin dryness are recommended. You can use mild soaps etc. to reduce the rash.
- Surgery is not recommended in this disease.
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