Big name, little bumps. You might not know the technical term, but chances are you, or someone you’re close to, suffers from the incredibly common genetic skin disorder known as Keratosis Pilaris. In fact, approximately 50% of the population is afflicted with ‘chicken skin’, little (or not so little) bumpy red or purplish patches on the backs of the arms, backside or thighs. It’s more of a problem for women, as we produce more keratin, which ends up trapped inside the hair follicles.
I am one of the 50%. While I only have the faintest hint on my arms these days, it used to be much more obvious and was something I was very sensitive about as a child. I saw various doctors and specialists who prescribed me all manner of potions and lotions (one particularly unpleasant ‘cure’ involved squeezing the bumps and then applying an eye dropper of some incredibly stingy substance). However, the most common advice I received was that I’d grow out of it. I did, to a degree, but I sure wish I’d known about some of the amazing treatments that are on the market now.
If the thought of baring your arms as the warmer weather rolls around makes you break out in a cold sweat, here are our top tips for tackling this unpleasant condition head on.
Keratosis Pilaris most commonly occurs on the backs of arms, legs, or on the cheeks.
The aim of the game when treating Keratosis Pilaris is to both reduce inflammation and unblock clogged pores. AHAs (Alpha Hydroxy Acids) such as glycolic or lactic acid work at the surface, to help exfoliate, giving the skin a smoother appearance. BHA (Beta Hydroxy Acid) products contain salycilic acid and tackle the root cause of the problem. Possessing anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties, these are the real game changers. Salicylic acid can be irritating though, so ask a professional which treatment is right for you.
-Written by Pip Jarvis