Keratosis pilaris is also known as follicular keratosis. It is a hereditary skin disorder that causes lesions that resemble goosebumps on the back of the arms, thighs or buttocks. The patches of bumps tend to get dry and itchy, especially during the winter months. Keratosis pilaris can occur at any age. Since it is hereditary, there is no way to prevent it. In some cases it will go away on its own over time. In other cases, the condition is can become chronic. However, Keratosis pilaris is not harmful, but it is very difficult to treat.
Keratosis pilaris is caused by a build-up of keratin, a protein in the skin that protects it from infection. Keratin plugs up hair follicles causing the rough, bumpy rash.
Treatment options include various prescriptions for:
- Medicated creams or lotions with 12% ammonium lactate that softens the affected skin.
- Moisturizers (urea) that help loosen and remove dead skin cells.
- Topical corticosteroids for short-term, temporary relief of symptoms.
- Topical retinoids that increase cell turnover that reduce the plugging of hair follicles.
To help reduce symptoms, make sure to keep the affected area moistened at all times and avoid harsh soaps.