General chatter - Keratosis Pilaris?

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01-31-2006, 11:31 AM
Is anyone else affected with this disease? If you're not sure what I'm talking about, here's an excerpt from Wikipedia:

"Keratosis pilaris (KP) is a very common genetic follicular disease that is manifested by the appearance of rough bumps on the skin and hence colloqually referred to as "chicken skin". Primarily, it appears on the back and outer sides of the upper arms, but can also occur on thighs and buttocks or any body part except glabrous skin (like the palms or soles of feet). Worldwide, KP affects an estimated 40 to 50% of the adult population and approximately 50 to 80% of all adolescents. It is more common in women than in men. Varying in degree, cases of KP can range from minimal to severe.

There are several different types of keratosis pilaris, including keratosis pilaris rubra (red, inflamed bumps), alba (rough, bumpy skin with no irritation), rubra faceii (reddish rash on the cheeks) and related disorders."

KP first showed up in my life when I was just a baby, passed down from my father. My brother also has it, though not as badly as I do. I have a pretty bad case of KP on my arms, thighs, butt, and upper back. It's one thing that I'm really concerned about aesthetically for even after I lose all the weight. I was wondering if anyone else had this, and if they knew of any treatments that work even slightly? I'm sort of desperate :(

01-31-2006, 11:45 AM
I've got it fairly mildly, mostly on my upper arms and back, but also a small bit on my throat. My brother has it mildly over most of his body. We were both born with it, and we were both told it would go away by the time we reached adulthood. Umm... I'm almost 26, he's 28, and we've both still got it, same as always. Maybe we're just still kids at heart. :)

As far as what works, nothing I've found so far, but I admit that I have not tried some of the treatments specifically for KP, as they are somewhat expensive. You can check them out, along with both positive and negative reviews at sites like or

01-31-2006, 11:58 AM
Kerasol ointment or cream works for the roughness, but the redness persists. A strong salicylate (prescription strength) is somewhat effective because it breaks down the extra keratin on the skin surface. It's usually a stubborn, ongoing situation though.

01-31-2006, 12:08 PM
and we were both told it would go away by the time we reached adulthood.

Yeah, that's what a doctor told my mother when I was 5. 18 years old now, and it's gotten MUCH worse. I've had people come up to me and comment on my "rash" :(

The problem is there isn't much in the way of treatment options for KP. From my research, it looks like there isn't a big priority to figure out what to do about it. And why not? Why do people spend billions of dollars researching treatments for aging and acnes (the former being a natural occurance, the other being something that USUALLY goes away eventually), but almost none on KP? I know that I personally have suffered a lot of poor body image because of it.. and I see no real way out.

My skin really isn't that rough as long as I put regular body lotion on every day. It's the redness that really bothers me, because it's SIGNIFICANTLY red (as I said, people think it's a bad rash). I need to find something that'll help tone that down.

01-31-2006, 12:39 PM
Sometimes I mix kerasol and hydrocortisone together, one for roughness and one for redness. I tell people to use it really when there's a special occasion or outfit they want to wear...

01-31-2006, 02:34 PM
Where would I find kerasol? Thanks.

01-31-2006, 02:38 PM
I've had it all my life and my daughter (4) has it also. Mostly on our arms and the tops of our thighs. I don't do this for my daughter, but I've tried using an exfoliating body wash and it has actually helped smooth out my arms a bit. follow it with a bit of body lotion a good one, like eucerin or something. We live in the NE so everyone always automatically assumes I'm cold, (looks like goosebumps!) LOL Good luck -- hope this helps!

01-31-2006, 03:12 PM
Yep, I have it, too--no sleeveless shirts for me!

Luckily, it's mild and only on the tops of my arms. Now that I'm "grown up" it doesn't really bother me (looks-wise). When I was a kid I got teased about it and asked by my smooth-armed friends what was wrong with me.

I've never found any treatment for it, but I'll definately try some of the things recommended here!!

01-31-2006, 04:28 PM
Diane: I have been using Dove's exfoliating body bar, as well as a back scrubber. I put lotion on after every shower. I must admit, my KP has gotten better since I started using the lotion (about two weeks ago), but not as much as I might like.

It's interesting to see how many people have this. It makes you wonder why there aren't more treatments catering to it, eh?

01-31-2006, 04:53 PM
Ive had it on my upper arms for as long as I can remember, I was told that a skin cleanser with glycolic, or salylic acid in would help to slough it off. Also, I found that when training for the marathon, that after several weeks, of really long runs that my constant irritation of my clothes rubbing during the long mileage, (which I didnt actually feel) but it became practically non existant at the time of the race. Then I slowed way back on the running and its starting to show back up.

01-31-2006, 05:33 PM
I have also had it forever on my upper arms and thighs - but this winter it's spread to my forearms, calves and butt.:mad: Lovely. I just started using Philosophy's Soul Owner exfoliating foot cream with AHA in it. Yep, all over my body. I saw it mentioned on a KP forum as something worth trying. Philosophy is coming out with something new called Chicken Skin that will be "for" KP.

The thing that is so frustrating with KP is that you have to keep up whatever treatment works for you and often they are expensive. When I was a teenager a Derm gave me a Rx that worked great, got rid of the bumps and within a couple weeks of stopping it, they were back. It was stinky and I didn't want to use it all the time. Maybe once I get lean and firmed up and want to wear sleeveless I'll care about it enough to stick to a skincare program for it.

01-31-2006, 05:36 PM
We've had this conversation before here, it's a common affliction. I've had it since a baby, and I am now 33.

However this year, for the first time in my life, I got a tan on holiday in October. And it's gone, no more raised lumps, but there is a shadow of dots now the tan has gone.

I wouldn't offer it as a cure, it's just a happy coincidence I think! I know you can have laser treatment for it, you need about six to eight sessions, and it needs to be repeated throughout your life, every few months. Not worth it in my opinion.

I find regular exfoliation and moisturising helps, but be sure not to moisturise too often as it can make it worse.

01-31-2006, 05:52 PM
When I use to tan all the time, it was much better.

01-31-2006, 10:13 PM
Kerasol is available (at least in Canada) by prescription. You need to ask your doctor.

01-31-2006, 10:27 PM
I read that this was caused by an omega fatty acid deficiency and that it could be treated with fish oil supplements? Maybe you could do a search and read up on it?

good luck!

02-01-2006, 02:11 AM
It's a genetic condition, and I doubt very much that Omega 3 deficiency has anything to do with it. None of the research I have seen indicates this. I am the salmon queen and I still have KP, although it is not in flare up at the moment.

The reason that there is not much research into it is that it is not diseased tissue, acne is a disease, KP is a condition. It's benign and it's something that you inherit somewhere along the line(although no members of my family have it except me...........grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr)

Money for research has to come from somewhere. Because nothing works to treat it long term, the drug companies won't invest their money (and the cosmetic companies just keep throwing expensive "solutions" at the problem offering hope, where really thee isn't any), and governments can't take money away from important research into conditions that cause pain and death, for something that is, at the end of the day, a cosmetic problem.

As you get older, you will get more confidence. Just this year though (and I'm 33) a lady at work told me to get to the doctor and get my "rash" looked at. It brought back all my memories from school and was a bit painful.

The only treatments are things that "knock" the heads off, like exfoliants, and then moisturisers to treat the dry skin that remains.

Treat any claims with caution, and always investigate things thoroughly.

02-01-2006, 12:25 PM
kykaree, I understand that there are more important things that companies should be looking for treatment for... but considering that KP affects about 40% of the population, you'd think there would be more research into it. They would definitely make their money back and then some if they found a way to effectively treat it. And as far as I know, it IS a disease, from what I've read on different medical sites. I dunno, I guess I just feel a little bitter since I don't have acne but I do have severe KP :P