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 men. Varying in degree, cases of KP can range from minimal to severe. more...
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.
Most people with keratosis pilaris do not know they carry it. While KP resembles goose bumps, it is characterized by the appearance of small rough bumps on the skin. As a result, it is often confused with acne.
Keratosis pilaris tends to occur as excess keratin, a natural protein in the skin, accumulates around hair follicles (process known as hyperkeratinization). Unattractive more than anything else, it most often appears as a proliferation of tiny hard bumps that are seldom sore or itchy. Though people with keratosis pilaris experience this condition year round, it’s during the colder months when moisture levels in the air are lower that the problem can become exacerbated and the “goose bumps” are apt to look and feel more pronounced in color and texture.
Although exfoliation, intensive moisturizing cremes, and medicated lotions containing alpha-hydroxy acids or urea may improve the appearance and texture of affected skin, results are not permanent. There is no known cure for this condition.
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