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How to Manage Keratosis Pilaris

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Chances are, you know about the skin condition known as keratosis pilaris (KP), but never knew the name. It's possible that as much as 40% of adults live with some KP, and never need to see a dermatologist about it. In fact, it's so common that some just consider it a skin type, rather than a condition to be treated.

I've had KP as long as I can remember. I actually have seen a dermatologist about mine, because the tiny red bumps covered my arms and legs, and it's only spread as I've gotten older. I've tried every miracle cure, and every lotion and potion, exfoliator and supplement, only to have my "chicken skin" stubbornly stay put.

What is this condition? It looks like tiny bumps, which can be red or the same color as your flesh. Nobody is really sure why this happens in so many people, but the bumps are caused by an excess of keratin in the hair follicles. Hair and skin are made of keratin, but instead of using the extra keratin to make more hair, some skin just makes bumps to compensate. These bumps can get really itchy and inflamed, especially if you, like me, have dry skin, as well. There's no known cure, but I'm here to give you some tips on how to manage the symptoms, and keep your skin from getting aggravated, possibly making the bumps worse.

1. Moisturize

There are as many ways to do this as there are people with KP, so pay attention to your skin type. Because I have dry, sensitive skin, I use a gentle cleanser in the shower, and follow it up with coconut oil. If my skin is especially dry on a given day, I'll use a thick cream to help seal in some moisture. This helps prevent irritation, and makes me feel as soft as possible.

2. Exfoliate

Yes, it does help to slough off some dead skin, but don't go crazy! You don't exactly need the rough side of a sponge to do this properly. A soft exfoliator will help stave off the irritation that comes with exfoliating, and help maintain smoothness and tone. About twice a week works well for me!

3. Sun Care

This is good advice, anyway, but it's especially important with KP. Use a high SPF sunscreen, and reapply according to directions. Limit sun exposure, and wear long, loose clothing if it's practical. If you're fair skinned like me, this will help reduce the risk of skin cancer, too!

Using these tips, you might not eliminate the annoying bumps, but you'll be much more comfortable!

Photo: Pixabay