By Dr. Katie Rodan
I recently saw a patient in my office who was complaining of tiny, rough, slightly red bumps on the back of her upper arms. She said she’d had this condition since she was a child, and although it was slightly better; it still bothered her and made her self-conscious about baring her arms.
Sound familiar? You may know it as “chicken skin” or “goose flesh,” but this condition, formally called Keratosis Pilaris (KP), is actually estimated to affect between 50-80 percent of adolescents and approximately 40 percent of adults.
But as widespread as it is, most people are too embarrassed to seek treatment. As a derm, I’ve heard every self-treatment idea in the book, from people trying to scratch the bumps off to attempting to exfoliate them away. Unfortunately, neither work and, more often than not, make the situation worse.
For best results treating KP, avoid aggressive exfoliation and make sure to keep the area hydrated with a moisturizer that helps regulate skin cell proliferation. For a more proactive treatment approach, try a moisturizer that contains urea and/or salicylic acid. When used regularly, it can be very effective at improving KP.
So reduce the urge to scratch, and instead, bump up your moisturizer … soon enough you’ll dare to go bare!