Keratosis Pilaris is a condition I have been suffering from my entire life. I have seen many dermatologists, who have prescribed cortisone creams that did not help. I have read many blogs, have worked through my dermatologist text books and have tried several ‘miracle creams’. Since I was 15 years old, I have tried and tested various products and had the best results by combining several serums and lotions, which made this a pricey endeavor.
Actually, Keratosis Pilaris was one of the main reasons I started Natalie’s Cosmetics. I wanted to create a lotion to solve this skin ‘issues’ my friends, family members and I were having and share my findings with others. For many, KP is nothing bad, however I know so many people, who choose clothes depending on how much of their upper arm is showing. That’s no way to live!
So what is Keratosis Pilaris?
Keratosis Pilaris (German: Reibeisenhaut) aka 'Chicken Skin' or 'Strawberry Skin' is a common, harmless skin condition that causes dry, rough patches and tiny bumps, usually on the upper arms, thighs, cheeks or buttocks that don't hurt/itch. This occurs when your hair follicles become blocked with a build-up of keratin. Keratin is a structural protein that acts as a protective shield around the hair shaft and helps your hair stay elastic. Most of the time, KP becomes worse during the dry and cold winter months.
During childhood, the first signs of KP will show, often reaching a peak between 15-30 years of age. As KP is a genetic condition, treatment is not curative, but solely to manage the appearance by being persistent. In addition, there is also an association with skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis. Generally, dry skin tends to make keratosis pilaris worse.
Many people suffering from KP feel embarrassed to wear sleeveless clothing and often over treat the affected area. Please be aware, that by trying to squeeze/pop these little bumps, you will often end up with scars. In addition, using very drying products i.e. a lot of shower gel or harsh mechanical scrubs (such as walnut scrubs), will make your skin worse!
What improves Keratosis Pilaris?
- Water contact: Very hot showers and baths breakdown the lipid protective barrier of your skin and tend to dry it out. Thus, it is essential to use a lotion ASAP after washing. We recommend that you moisturize your slightly damp skin within 5-10 mins after showering.
- Exfoliation of dead skin cells: Lotions, such as our Smooth Lotion, containing alpha hydroxy acid or beta hydroxy acids, as well as urea, dissolve the ‘glue’ between dead skin cells and exfoliate these. Not only is exfoliation crucial, but replenishing the skin with moisture to soften bumps, can reduce the redness of KP. Please be aware that exfoliating acids make your skin more prone to sun damage, thus it is necessary to wear SPF on the following days. It is also recommended to wait a couple of hours after shaving, as the active ingredients may slightly skin on freshly shaved regions.
- Prevention of clogged follicles: Lotions using vitamin A (topical retinoids), such as our Better Aging Lotion, work by promoting cell turnover and preventing clogged hair follicles. We have used a mild version of vitamin A, as irritation and dryness may be caused by stronger forms.
- Moisturize and hydrate: Apply our hydration body gel several times per day, to keep your skin hydrated. This gel is formulated with several calming, organic ingredients such as: Aloe Vera, Calendula, Arnica, Edelweiss Flower. To hydrate the skin, Dr. Natalie added Multi-Molecular Hyaluronic Acid and Panthenol (Vitamin B5 as well as several other humectants and emollients. As the hydration gel is super lightweight and absorbs very quickly, you can get dressed quickly and do not need to be concerned about staining your clothing.
- Humid air is your friend: Low humidity leads to dry skin, making KP worse. Think about investing in a humidifier.
- Avoid friction from clothing: Tight, non breathable clothing can cause your KP to worsen, as hair cannot exit your skin and the friction causes dryness.
If you have any questions about Keratosis Pilaris or any other skin concern, feel free to contact us!
- Dr. med. univ. Natalie Lindner