Keratosis pilaris isalso known as follicular keratosis, or chicken skin. It is a common, autosomal dominant, genetic condition of the skin’s hair follicles indicated by the appearance of possibly itchy, small, gooseflesh-like bumps, with altering degrees of reddening or inflammation. Follicular keratosis most often appears on the outer sides of the upper arms, thighs, face, back, and buttocks andcan also occur on the hands, and tops of legs, sides, or any body part except hairless skin.
There are several types of follicular keratosis and it has been associated with pregnancy, type 1 diabetes mellitus, obesity, dry skin, allergic diseases and rarely cancer.
Follicular keratosis is the most common disorder of the hair follicle in children and in adults it ranges from 0.75% to 34% of the population.More than 10 million cases per year are reported in India.
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How does Keratosis Pilaris affect your body?
Keratosis pilaris when excess amounts of the skin protein keratin is produced, resulting in the formation of small, raised bumps in the skin often with surrounding redness. The excess keratinsurrounds and entraps the hair follicles in the porewhich causes the formation of hard plug. This condition is not harmful, although it can be itchy at times.
What are the causes of Keratosis Pilaris?
Keratosis pilaris occurswhen the buildup of keratin, a hard protein that protects skin from harmful substances and infection is in excess.The exact cause of keratin build up is not knownbut is associated with genetic diseases or with other skin conditions, such as atopic dermatitis.
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What are the risk factors of Keratosis Pilaris?
- Family history– 1 out of 3 people with KP have a family history of the condition.
- Skin disorders– Individuals with dry skin, such as those with eczema (particularly atopic dermatitis) or ichthyosis vulgaris are at risk of KP.
- Certain medications– People using vemurafenib to treat malignant melanoma have an increased risk of KP.
- Severe allergies– Allergies like hay fever can trigger KP.
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What are the symptoms of Keratosis Pilaris?
- Small and rough bumps on the surface of the skin.
- Skin-colored bumps; size of a grain of sand, surrounded by a slight pink color in light skinned people and dark spots in dark skinned people.
- Itchy bumps.
- Redness and inflammation when itching the red bumps.
How is Keratosis Pilaris diagnosed?
- Keratosis pilaris is diagnosed simply by examining the skin. Family history and presence of symptoms is also often considered.
- Dermoscopy is sometimes performed to confirm the diagnosis and assess if a person with keratosis pilaris is responding to treatment.
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How to prevent & control Keratosis Pilaris?
- It is speculated that increased sun exposure can mitigate the symptoms of keratosis pilaris.
- Limiting time in the shower and using gentle exfoliation to unplug pores can help relieve symptoms.
Treatment of Keratosis Pilaris- Allopathic Treatment
- Topical creams and lotions are the most commonly used treatment for keratosis pilaris, specifically those consisting of moisturizing or keratolytic treatments.
- Some cases of follicular keratosis have been successfully treated with laser therapy, which involves passing intense bursts of light into targeted areas of the skin.
Treatment of Keratosis Pilaris- Homeopathic Treatment
- Agaricus muscarius– This is used to treat keratosis pilaris with small hard eruptions with burning, itching, and redness of the affected part.
- Arsenic alb– This is indicated fordry, rough, scaly, worse from cold and scratching.
- Rhustoxicodendron– This is for keratosis pilaris with much redness and itching.
- Borax– This is prescribed when the skin becomes dry, festers easily, won’t heal.
- Boviat– This is for KP with tottery eruptions, dry or moist.
- Lithium carb– This is prescribed for dry harsh skin, with scabby, tottery eruptions on hands and cheeks preceded by red raw skin.
- Phosphorus– This is useful for keratosis pilaris with ecchymosis.
- Thuja occidentalis– This is for keratosis pilaris with warts and polyps.
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Keratosis Pilaris- Lifestyle Tips
- Hot water and long showers can remove oils from the skin. Thus, limit shower time to about 10 minutes or less and use warm water instead of hot water.
- Be gentle to the skin and avoid harsh, drying soaps.
- Gently remove dead skin (exfoliate) with a washcloth or loofah and then gently pat or blot the skin with a towel so that some moisture remains.
- Try medicated creams containing urea, lactic acid, alpha hydroxy acid or salicylic acid. These creams help loosen and remove dead skin cells and also moisturize and soften dry skin.
- Use a humidifier because low humidity dries out the skin.
- Protect the affected skin from the friction caused by wearing tight clothes.
What are recommended exercise for person with Keratosis Pilaris?
No specific exercise is recommended in people with KP.
Keratosis Pilaris & pregnancy- Things to know
- In pregnant women, keratosis pilaris as a condition in which the onset or severity of the dermatosis may be linked to the hormonal changes of pregnancy.
- KP outbreaks should subside a bit once both hormonal changes and weight loss or weight gain issues have regulated.
- KP does not harm the foetus.
Common complications related to Keratosis Pilaris
Complications from keratosis pilaris are infrequent. Althoughpost inflammatory hypopigmentation or hyperpigmentation and scarring may occur.
Question: How does one acquire Keratosis Pilaris?
Answer: It is believed that keratosis pilaris is acquired through genetics.
Question: Is keratosis pilaris contagious?
Answer: No; KP can’t be spread through any means other than genetic.
Question: Is keratosis pilaris dangerous?
Answer: No; KP is not life-threatening.
Question: What causes bumps in KP?
Answer: When excess of the keratin protein is buildup, it clogs the pores and blocks the hair follicle from escaping, which leads to an ingrown hair making it look like bumps.
Question: Is keratosis pilaris curable?
Answer: No; KP is only treatable, but has been known to fade with age.