Understanding and Treating Keratosis Pilaris – Temporary and Chronic Keratosis Pilaris
People who struggle with keratosis pilaris are experiencing a common, inherited skin condition. This disorder involves raised bumps of skin that resemble permanent goose bumps along the arms, legs, and buttocks. Some individuals experience temporary “flare ups” or symptoms of keratosis pilaris, but the majority of patients suffer from persistent or recurrent symptoms.
Keratosis pilaris is caused by the buildup of keratin in hair follicles, which creates tiny, raised bumps that are spread in patches along areas of skin with fine hair. In general, keratosis pilaris is a chronic condition that requires long-term care and treatment to control its symptoms. Keratosis pilaris often follows a chronic course of flare-ups and remission in many patients. This chronic course is often intensified when skin is dry or lacks moisture for extended periods of time.
In contrast, temporary symptoms of keratosis pilaris are often due to patients experiencing short-term remission; as a result, a seemingly “temporary” short-term form of keratosis pilaris does not usually signify the disappearance of the condition. However, the disorder may be considered temporary in the sense that most individuals are free from symptoms by adulthood.
Because keratosis pilaris is usually a chronic problem that demands long-term maintenance, most treatments that doctors suggest must be used perpetually to maintain results and to reduce symptoms effectively.
Initial treatment for this condition usually involves moisturizing and exfoliating your skin regularly, using soap-free cleansers when bathing, and installing a humidifier in your home. These methods can prevent excessive skin dryness and promote healthy skin-cell turnover, which will limit the extent of keratosis pilaris.
Often, dermatologists advise treating keratosis pilaris with combination therapy to ensure the most effective reduction of symptoms. In addition to the at-home remedies described earlier, combination therapy would also include the use of prescriptions such as topical steroid creams, retinoid creams, and fading creams to combat skin discoloration and to reduce inflammation.
If your symptoms still persist with these forms of treatment, your doctor or dermatologist may also suggest surgical alternatives such as laser therapy, dermabrasion, or microdermabrasion to soften the skin in affected areas. These treatments must usually be repeated regularly to ensure maximum effectiveness.
Understanding and Treating Keratosis Pilaris – The Different Types of Keratosis Pilaris
Keratosis pilaris, a common and inherited skin disorder, affects many individuals worldwide. People with keratosis pilaris experience the buildup of a protective skin protein called keratin, which creates small, rough bumps along the surface of affected skin. These bumps generally resemble “chicken skin” and can linger for years. In general, keratosis pilaris affects the back of the upper arms, the front of the thighs, and the buttocks. Less frequently, the forearms, upper back, and face can be affected for some patients as well.
Although most people share these general symptoms of keratosis pilaris, some variation does occur in their severity, location, and appearance. Because of their varying symptoms, several sub-types of keratosis pilaris have been identified.
Keratosis pilaris rubra (KPR) is the most common variant of this disorder. It is characterized by widespread, inflamed bumps that are red in color and are spread along the arms, head, and legs. KPR generally manifests before puberty and often persists after the onset of puberty, but it rarely involves scarring or skin damage beyond occasional hyperpigmentation. In contrast, Keratosis pilaris rubra faceii (KPRF) entails the trademark inflamed, red bumpy patches of skin that are usually associated with KPR, but in KPRF, these affected patches mainly occur on the face.
Other less-common types of keratosis pilaris can also happen. In keratosis pilaris atrophicans (KPA), scarring is often present. The presence or lack of scarring is one of the primary ways of distinguishing KPA from KPR.
Keratosis follicularis spinulosa decalvans (KFSD) is similar to KPA in its effects on the body, but many patients find that its symptoms are usually more widespread. KFSD causes scarring across the eyebrows, eyelashes, and scalp in addition to the usual locations of upper arms, thighs, and buttocks.
Finally, keratosis pilaris alba involves pale-colored, bumpy, rough patches of skin that does not usually create significant irritation.
These variants of keratosis pilaris are likely part of the same disease spectrum, according to recent research studies. If you think you may be suffering from the effects of keratosis pilaris, see your doctor or dermatologist to determine which form you may be experiencing and how to treat it.
For more ideas on understanding and treating of keratosis pilaris, watch these 2 videos:
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