Disease: Keratosis pilaris

Keratosis pilaris

What is keratosis pilaris?

Keratosis pilaris is a common skin condition, which appears as tiny bumps on the skin. Some people say these bumps make their skin look like plucked chicken skin. Others mistake the bumps for small pimples.

These rough-feeling bumps are actually plugs of dead skin cells. The plugs appear most often on the upper arms and thighs (front). Children may have these bumps on their cheeks.
If the itch, dryness, or the appearance of keratosis pilaris bothers you, treatment can help.Dry skin can make these bumps more noticeable. In fact, many people say the bumps clear during the summer only to return in the winter. If you live in a dry climate or frequently swim in a pool, you may see these bumps year round.

You can learn more about what these bumps look like at Keratosis pilaris: Signs and symptoms.

Source: https://www.aad.org

Signs, symptoms

This common skin condition causes tiny bumps that can:

  • Feel rough and dry like sandpaper
  • Resemble the skin of a plucked chicken
  • Become more noticeable in winter or a dry climate
  • Itch
  • Appear in different colors, including the same color as your skin, white, red, pinkish purple (on fair skin), and brownish black (on dark skin)

Some people have a few flesh-colored bumps. Others have noticeable bumps that look like pimples or a rash.

Where keratosis pilaris appears

These bumps can appear anywhere on your skin, except on your palms and soles. Bumps on the arms are common. Most people will see these bumps appear in the following areas:

Children: Upper arms, thighs (front), and cheeks

Teens and adults: Upper arms, thighs (front), and buttocks

Some people develop so many bumps on their skin that the bumps extend to their lower legs and forearms.

You can find out who is most likely to develop this skin condition by going to Keratosis pilaris: Who gets and causes.

Source: https://www.aad.org

Who gets, causes

Who gets keratosis pilaris?

People of all ages and races have this common skin condition. For most people, it begins at one of the following times:

  • Before 2 years of age
  • During the teenage years

Because keratosis pilaris usually begins early in life, children and teenagers are most likely to have this skin condition. Fewer adults have it because keratosis pilaris can fade and gradually disappear.

The bumps may clear by the time a child reaches late childhood or adolescence. Hormones, however, may cause another flare-up around puberty. When keratosis pilaris develops in the teenage years, it often clears by one’s mid-twenties.

Keratosis pilaris can also continue into one’s adult years. Women are a bit more likely to have keratosis pilaris.

What increases a person’s risk of getting keratosis pilaris?

You are more likely to develop it if you have one or more of the following:

  • Close blood relatives who have keratosis pilaris
  • Asthma
  • Dry skin
  • Eczema (atopic dermatitis)
  • Excess body weight, which makes you overweight or obese
  • Hay fever
  • Ichthyosis vulgaris (a skin condition)
  • Melanomaand are taking vemurafenib (Zelboraf®), a targeted therapy medicine approved to treat melanoma that has spread

When treating melanoma with vemurafenib

If you develop small, rough bumps while taking vemurafenib, you’ll likely see them within the first 8 weeks of starting the drug. The bumps may worsen as your dose increases; however, the skin tends to clear completely when you stop taking vemurafenib.

If the bumps on your skin bother you, applying one of the following can help while you are taking vemurafenib:

  • Ammonium lactate cream or lotion (12%): Apply it as directed by your dermatologist.
  • A moisturizer: A cream or ointment works best. Apply it after bathing and gently massage it into the skin with keratosis pilaris 2 or 3 times a day.

What causes keratosis pilaris?

Keratosis pilaris is not contagious. We get keratosis pilaris when dead skin cells clog our pores.

A pore is also called a hair follicle. Every hair on our body grows out of a hair follicle, so we have thousands of hair follicles. When dead skin cells clog many hair follicles, you feel the rough, dry patches of keratosis pilaris.

Source: https://www.aad.org

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