Living with Keratosis Pilaris – Where Keratosis Pilaris Occurs
Many people have experienced the trademark “chicken skin” symptoms of keratosis pilaris at some point in their lives. Keratosis pilaris is a common condition that involves the formation of tiny, rough bumps in collected areas on the body.
These bumps are spread in patches along the surface of the skin. The areas affected by keratosis pilaris are usually scattered across the body, but they generally are located along the back of the upper arms, the front of the thighs, and the buttocks.
Generally, keratosis pilaris can affect all skin surfaces that have hair growth. If an area of skin does not have hair growth-such as the mouth, eyes, palms, and soles-it will not be affected. Although keratosis pilaris commonly occurs on the arms, thighs, and buttocks, it can also affect convex areas such as the cheeks. The upper back may also experience the effects of keratosis pilaris, but this is fairly uncommon. Rare variants of keratosis pilaris can also spread to the eyebrows, face, scalp, or even the entire body.
Generally, anywhere from 10 to hundreds of tiny, rough bumps are scattered in an affected area. Sometimes, however, keratosis pilaris may be limited to individual, scratchy bumps. Bumps may grow inflamed and lead to scarring, especially if they are located on the face. Some patients also experience itching or redness in affected skin areas, especially if the skin becomes dry or is exposed to harsh weather.
Moisturizing your skin regularly and exfoliating with a gentle, soap-free cleanser can often improve the look and feel of keratosis pilaris. Because keratosis pilaris is relatively harmless and has few complications, medical treatment is not usually necessary.
If you are concerned about the appearance of your skin, or if you think areas of your skin may be becoming inflamed or irritated, consult your doctor or a dermatologist. He or she can provide an accurate diagnosis based on your symptoms and guide you through the best treatment options.
Additionally, your doctor or dermatologist can suggest other at-home remedies like installing a humidifier in your home and can provide prescriptions to limit the effects of keratosis pilaris.
Living with Keratosis Pilaris – Who Can Be Affected by Keratosis Pilaris?
As an inherited skin condition, keratosis pilaris involves the formation of small, rough bumps on the surface of the skin. These bumpy areas are created by the buildup of a protective skin protein called keratin, which causes these tiny bumps to form in collective areas. Individuals with keratosis pilaris can belong to a variety of ages and ethnic groups, as this disorder is common noted among all populations.
Keratosis pilaris can affect any person at any age. In general, the condition initially appears during the first 10 years of a person’s life. Some patients do not experience keratosis pilaris in childhood, however, but are diagnosed after puberty. Women seem to be affected more often than men, but this condition can improve or even disappear with age.
Keratosis pilaris may worsen during puberty, but often improves as a person reaches adulthood. Additionally, keratosis pilaris is most common in people of Celtic origin or among those who have another skin condition such as eczema or ichthyosis. Elderly people, however, rarely experience this disorder.
Nearly 50% to 80% of all adolescents are affected by keratosis pilaris, in addition to approximately 40% of all adults. The symptoms of keratosis pilaris generally worsen during the winter and other dry seasons due to the relative lack of moisture, but it can improve in the summer and warmer seasons when humidity is higher. For many women with keratosis pilaris, these symptoms can often become worse during pregnancy or after childbirth as well.
If members of your family have experienced keratosis pilaris, you have a higher risk of manifesting this condition. An estimated 30% to 50% of patients have a positive family history of keratosis pilaris. Although the disorder has a genetic association, it is not at all contagious and is therefore not spread by touch.
If you are experiencing concern or discomfort because of keratosis pilaris, see your doctor for an exam. He or she may suggest that you implement several at-home remedies such as regular exfoliation and using a humidifier; in more severe cases, topical corticosteroids or clinical-strength moisturizers may be prescribed to reduce inflammation and promote healthy skin-cell turnover.
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