Do you have small, rough bumps on your thighs, arms, cheeks or butt that you just can’t seem to get rid of? Many people don’t realize that these bumps they have are an actual skin condition called keratosis pilaris. Don’t let the name intimidate you though, this condition is common and so treatable. If you’re able to, seeing a dermatologist is always a good move. However, we’re here to give you our top line tips to tackling this skin condition, on your own. Here are five ways to keep your KP in check.
Image courtesy of WebMD.
1. Wash your skin the right way.
When you’re washing your KP-affected skin, make sure you’re doing it right. For starters, stay away from hot water. Instead, use lukewarm water, which will unclog your pores without stripping your skin of all those hydrating oils it naturally produces. Use mild, fragrance-free soaps without alcohol (more about the importance of ingredients later!), which will clean your skin without further irritating or stripping it.
And lastly, but just as importantly, take your time when you’re washing off. Using your fingertips, rub your skin with circular motions. Once you’re done, make sure you rinse off really well so there’s no leftover soap or any oily debris. Pat your skin dry with a soft towel. Do this at least once a day — more if you sweat.
2. Exfoliate to reduce keratin buildup.
It’s important to not intensely scrub your skin because that will probably make KP worse. But you should gently remove all those built up dead skin cells with an exfoliating product or loofah. An effective exfoliator will help remove that top, dead layer of skin to stimulate circulation.
3. Hydrate and moisturize your skin.
Yes, those two are different! Hydrating brings water into your skin, moisturizing locks in all that hydration so it stays sealed in your skin.
Anyways, hydrating and moisturizing is always important, but it’s even more important for people with KP. That’s because dry skin makes all those goose pimples that much more obvious. For this reason, KP often clears in the summer and is worse in the winter. Like we explained, moisturizers create a barrier between your skin and the air to seal in water and rehydrate the top layer of skin. They can also help alleviate itching or dryness. You can find some moisturizers that include exfoliating ingredients that treat KP.
Whatever moisturizer you choose, make sure you apply it right after you shower to seal in the max amount of moisture, and massage some into your skin at least once, if not several times, a day.
4. Pick the right products.
If you’ve got KP, you should avoid harsh ingredients that can irritate skin. That includes alcohols, comedogenic products that block pores, and anything that will spur excess oil production.
That said, there are tons of super helpful ingredients that can improve your skin’s texture. Look for shower scrubs, lotions, and other products with the following ingredients:
The smallest of the AHAs, Glycolic Acid is considered the most effective at breaking up rough, dry skin cells, regenerating collagen, thickening the epidermis, and evening skin tone.
This AHA is awesome at dissolving keratin to improve skin texture, firmness, and smoothness.
A BHA (beta hydroxy acid) that softens and sloughs the top layer of skin cells, Salicylic Acid is excellent for deep cleaning and exfoliation.
Otherwise known as retinol, adapalene, tazarotene, or tretinoin, all versions of retinoids can unclog pores, clear acne, treat oil production, and reduce inflammation.
5. Watch your diet.
We don’t regularly attribute skin conditions to an individual’s diet, but for some people, diet can play a role and contribute to them. If you want to adapt your diet in hopes that it’ll help your KP, try to add Omega-3s and more vitamin A. Also, if you’re down to take more extreme action, try cutting out dairy and trans fats.
While scientists don’t exactly know why KP develops, some early researchers believed that it was a form of vitamin A deficiency, since it was seen in certain cases of malnutrition. Additionally, dairy proteins from cow’s milk have been associated with allergies that cause forms of atopic dermatitis and acne, while trans fats increase hyperkeratosis, and that can lead to the irregular thickening of the skin. Omega-3 fatty acids, on the other hand, reduce inflammation. The DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) in these fatty acids boost hydration and delay the aging process.
The bottom line
While we wish this was the holy grail of keeping your KP in check, everyone’s KP (and their body in general!) is so different. So, you may have to try a few different remedies to find one that works the best for you. Just know you may not completely rid yourself of KP, as doctors often find it difficult to treat. This is a lifelong condition that can calm down and flare up under certain circumstances, such as puberty or stress. Like anything, clearing up KP takes time, so just be patient and consistent with your skincare routine and habits!