Small, rough bumps have popped up on the surface of your skin. They’re bumpy, almost like acne, but dry and itchy like eczema! What are these things and do they have a name? We’re here to tell you.
This condition is called keratosis pilaris and it’s often mistaken for a number of different things. After reading this though, you’ll be able to alleviate those symptoms and will be on your way to smoother skin, for sure.
So what does it mean if I have KP?
First of all, if you think that you have Keratosis pilaris -- know that it is super common, not contagious, and not life threatening. In fact, 30% to 50% of people in the US are also experiencing some form of it on their bodies. You’ve got company!
It’s hard to pinpoint who gets it and why, studies have suggested that young kids and teens are more prone to it, but people of all ages are affected by it. Physically, it comes about when dead skin cells harden and form a keratin plug on top of your pores. So to sum it up, KP is a bunch of keratin cells that have grouped together to create these rough patches that feel like sandpaper on the skin.
How do I treat keratosis pilaris?
In order to rid the skin of those dry, rough patches, you’ll need to break up that build up of keratin clogging your pores so your skin can get back to being smooth and supple. Check out the graphic below to see what a clogged KP pore look like.
The best way to take action? Regular exfoliation. Exfoliating is a good practice to keep for all skincare routines because it rids the surface of the skin of dead skin cells, which can lead to dullness, dryness, and clogged pores. Our favorite exfoliating ingredients are glycolic acid and lactic acid.
Glycolic Acid is a chemical exfoliator (don’t let the word chemical scare you!) that is the easiest and most effective way to treat keratosis pilaris. It’s more gentle than a physical scrubber and it’s an alpha hydroxy acid meaning it has a small molecular structure, which allows it to penetrate the skin’s surface to break up all those rough, dry cells that are blocking things up. It’s safe enough to use every day and it’s a humectant — so it retains moisture in the skin, great news for anyone trying to treat dryness.
Lactic Acid is another AHA that is great at gently exfoliating and improving skin texture. It builds up lipid barriers in the outer layers of skin, which are able to work overtime when it comes to fighting off anything trying to irritate your skin. It boosts cell turnover and increases collagen production, making it another powerhouse for treating rough, bumpy skin like KP.
In terms of deciding which one to use to treat your KP — you don’t have to! Both these ingredients compliment each other and can be found on the ingredient label of several scrubs and lotions out there.
As with any new skincare product, be sure exfoliating products work well with your skin by doing a patch test before applying it to larger areas, and increase use slowly over time to reduce the risk of irritation.