Treatment for Keratosis Pilaris – The Role of Diet in Minimizing Keratosis Pilaris
Individuals with keratosis pilaris experience the buildup of keratin, a protective skin protein, which leads to the formation of plugs in hair follicles. Because the hairs cannot push through this blockage to the skin’s surface, raised bumps are created in fine-hair areas of the body, such as the upper arms, the thighs, and sometimes the buttocks or even the face.
Although keratosis pilaris is not medically serious and can improve over time, some patients use treatments such as topical prescription creams and clinical-strength moisturizers. Additionally, some alternative-health consultants believe that skin problems indicate an “internal imbalance,” and therefore feel that they should be treated by dietary changes. No associations between diet and keratosis pilaris have been validated by clinical research, however.
Several patients with keratosis pilaris maintain that eliminating cow-based dairy products from their diet significantly reduced their symptoms. Bovine casein, the primary protein in cow’s milk, is sometimes cited as a contributing factor to keratosis pilaris, as some people have experienced improved symptoms after eliminating it from their diet once they reached adulthood.
Vitamin A deficiency may also resemble keratosis pilaris, but no vitamin deficiency is known to cause keratosis pilaris. Some children who may seem to have keratosis pilaris are actually suffering from dietary deficiencies such as poor fat consumption.
Children who obtain their dietary fats from processed food instead of from nuts, olive oil, and fish can develop “chicken skin” that resembles the symptoms of keratosis pilaris; these bumpy patches of skin, however, are actually unrelated to keratosis pilaris. In these cases, taking fish-oil capsules and including nuts, olive oil, and fish in the patient’s diet will cause the rash to clear, indicating that the patient did not actually suffer from keratosis pilaris.
Because keratosis pilaris is a chronic and recurrent problem, patients should beware any claims that a certain diet can “cure” keratosis pilaris. If you suffer from keratosis pilaris and are concerned about your diet, speak to your doctor or dermatologist. He or she will be able to suggest at-home remedies and can also recommend a registered dietician to help you plan and implement healthy eating habits.
When to Seek Treatment for Keratosis Pilaris
Keratosis pilaris is a common, usually chronic skin condition that involves bumpy, rough patches of skin along the upper arm, thigh, and buttocks. Individuals who suffer from keratosis pilaris may not even be aware of their condition, as this skin problem is often overlooked and rarely involves medical complications.
Some patients, however, feel that they need to seek medical or alternative treatment for their symptoms, as keratosis pilaris can lead to social embarrassment for certain individuals or can create prolonged discomfort in rare cases.
Those with keratosis pilaris should pursue treatment if their condition is causing them concern or is impairing their ability to function in some way. For example, certain patients experience psychological side effects such as anxiety or low self-confidence because of the distress created by their discolored, bumpy skin. In these cases, you should speak with your family doctor or dermatologist, and possibly a psychologist or counsellor as well.
Other people with keratosis pilaris may experience irritated skin as a result of inflammation or may have scarring after aggravating the raised patches. In cases like these, you should seek treatment from your family doctor or a dermatologist to prevent lasting damage from occurring.
In general, however, keratosis pilaris seems cosmetically unpleasant but is actually harmless from a medical perspective. With the appropriate medications and self-care measures, many people experience a noticeable improvement in their symptoms.
Doctors frequently suggest maintaining an effective home-based skincare to improve the appearance of your skin, such as washing affected areas with warm water and a gentle exfoliating cleanser, using a rich moisturizer two times a day, and installing a humidifier in your home during dry seasons like winter.
Alternatively, your doctor or dermatologist may suggest more substantial treatments such as topical corticosteroids to reduce itching or topical retinoids to promote healthy cell turnover. Regular sessions of laser therapy are sometimes recommended as well to combat severe inflammation and redness in patients with keratosis pilaris.
However, it is important to remember that no therapy is uniformly effective in alleviating the symptoms of all patients; furthermore, the complete removal of keratosis pilaris is rarely possible.
For more ideas on treatment for keratosis pilaris, watch this video – Treating Keratosis Pilaris
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