Keratosis Pilaris

Keratosis pilaris is a skin condition commonly seen on the upper arms, buttocks and thighs. The skin cells that normally flake off as a fine dust from the skin form plugs in the hair follicles. These appear as small pimples that have a dry ”sandpaper” feeling. They are usually white but sometimes rather red. They usually don’t itch or hurt.

Your doctor may prescribe medicated creams.

  • Creams to remove dead skin cells. Creams containing alpha hydroxy acid, lactic acid, salicylic acid or urea help loosen and remove dead skin cells. They also moisturize and soften dry skin. Depending on their strength, these creams (topical exfoliants) are available over-the-counter or with a prescription. Your doctor can advise you on the best option and how often to apply. The acids in these creams may cause redness, stinging or skin irritation, so they aren’t recommended for young children.
  • Creams to prevent plugged follicles. Creams derived from vitamin A (topical retinoids) work by promoting cell turnover and preventing plugged hair follicles. Tretinoin (Retin-A, Renova, Avita) and tazarotene (Avage, Tazorac) are examples of topical retinoids. These products can irritate and dry the skin. Also, if you’re pregnant or nursing, your doctor may suggest delaying topical retinoid therapy or choosing another treatment.

Adapted from original source: AOCD

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