What is Keratosis Pilaris?


Keratosis pilaris (also known as KP) is a very common skin condition that I see in my practice every day. Patients usually complain about tiny rough bumps on the shoulders and upper arms. Another common location is the back of the thighs. On close inspection, the rough bumps can have tiny trapped hairs inside of them. This condition can be itchy, but for most people the main concern is the cosmetic appearance and the rough texture.

The important thing to know is that, although KP can improve with treatment, it rarely goes away completely. The good news is that lotions with exfoliating ingredients like glycolic acid and lactic acid can make the skin much smoother. Topical cortisone creams can be added if KP becomes itchy and symptomatic. If you have KP, you could also consider trying gentle exfoliation with a loofah. Just be sure not to get too aggressive because rough exfoliation can be irritating and can make the condition worse. If you have KP, also know that you are not alone. This condition is very common and is especially common in people with a history of eczema. If it doesn’t bother you, it is perfectly fine to leave it alone. But if it does bother you, gentle exfoliation (with a loofah and exfoliating lotions) will help.