What is Keratosis Pilaris?
Keratosis Pilaris is also known as chicken bumps or chicken skin which is a very common and harmless skin condition. It is a type of genetic disorder in which the cells underneath the skin transmutes into hair follicles. Keratosis Pilaris affects more of the adolescents than the adults.
Most of the patients visiting dermatologists carry the condition but shows no symptoms. Many individuals affected with this skin condition are unaware that it has its own medical term or that there is a certain treatment for it. Chicken bumps may be very displeasing and psychologically distressing but then again it is still causes no harm.
Signs and Symptoms
The bumps of Keratosis Pilaris is usually light-colored that’s usually white and reddish sometimes. This condition happens to all ages, but particularly occurs in young children.
It appears mostly on the buttocks, arms, and thighs, legs, and sometimes found on face too which rarely happens and somewhat being mistaken for acne. The bumps can cause blemishes or become inflammed on the area of the face.
Keratosis Pilaris appears with redness or swelling, and small bumps on the skin with the size of a grain of sand that feels like rough sandpaper. For people with light skin, the bumps are slightly encircled with pink spots; and for those who are dark skinned, dark spots surround the bumps.
These bumps are not usually itchy but in some cases, it still itches and almost all of the individuals do not experience any clinical manifestation. Some symptoms that are experienced by most, occurs for a whole year and the bumps worsen as it will be more pronounced in both texture and color during winter season since the skin tends to be drier because of the low humidity, and also during childbirth or pregnancy.
Keratosis Pilaris arises when an excess amount of the skin protein called keratin is produced by the body which later on results in the development of small bumps.
The keratin protein serves as a protection from harmful infection and substances. It forms many scaly plugs that cover up the hair follicle opening that leads to blotches of rough, bumpy skin.
There is still no valid etiology as to why keratin builds up but it may happen with other associated dry skin conditions like vulgaris, atopic dermatitis and xerosis. If the person has dry skin however, there is a greater tendency for the skin problem to occur.
How to Diagnose Keratosis Pilaris?
Upon the diagnosis of Keratosis Pilaris, tests are not needed. Physicians just simply examine the skin. Physicians will also look at the patient’s family history if there’s anyone with the same skin condition and the symptoms that had been acquired.
A dermatologist has to confirm the diagnosis by the help of dermatoscopy; a dermatoscope used for examining skin lesions and after the diagnosis is confirmed, it will then be assessed whether or not the patient with the condition is responding to the treatment.
If the bumps become very irritating and no improvements are shown with the use of counter lotions, it is generally recommended to contact a physician immediately.
What are the Treatments for Keratosis Pilaris?
Based on a universal study, there is still no specific treatment found for Keratosis Pilaris. There are possible options though and that is to keep the skin moist and in order for it to look better through medicated creams and self-care measures.
By using these, the main focus should be to soften the keratin deposits in the skin. Most of the moisturizing creams or lotions are found over the counter but for stronger versions, a prescription is needed. The symptoms usually disappears as the person gets older but it is not always the same case and although it happens to most individuals having this, many still prefer to get rid of chicken bumps.
Some simple ways to prevent Keratosis Pilaris could be:
- Avoid rubbing or scratching the bumps roughly
- Do not stay in the water for too long
- Try using a soap that has additional fat or oil in it
- Use moisturizers that are thick enough and apply to the skin
- With a use of a humidifier, moisture can be added to the air at home
Other possible methods to ease Keratosis Pilaris can also be:
- Topical exfoliants that can remove dead cells from the skin but is not advisable for children
- Topical retinoids stops hair follicles from getting plugged but women who are pregnant can’t use it unless the physician says so
- Laser treatment is used by passing an extreme burst of light into the affected area of the skin. It is used to treat inflammation and redness at its worst. It’s still not a cure though this can be used if lotions or creams aren’t enough. One session won’t be enough because it’ll take weeks for this therapy to work.
- Panchaprateep R, Tanus A, Tosti A (March 2015). “Clinical, dermoscopic, and histopathologic features of body hair disorders”. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. S0190-9622 (15): 00089–4.
- Hwang S, Schwartz RA. (September 2008). “Keratosis pilaris: a common follicular hyperkeratosis”. Cutis 82 (3): 177–80.
- Yosipovitch G, DeVore A, Dawn A (June 2007). “Obesity and the skin: skin physiology and skin manifestations of obesity”. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 56 (6): 901–16.