Keratosis pilaris is also known more informally as ‘chicken skin’ for its resemblance to the skin of a plucked chicken. It presents itself as dozens (or sometimes hundreds) of tiny bumps that mainly show up on the back of the upper arms, legs, buttocks, and sometimes the face – all the places you could really do with avoiding skin that looks like a plucked chicken!
While some people with the condition find that it doesn’t hurt or bother them, for others it can be irritating, uncomfortable and at times embarrassing. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to treat it and reduce its severity.
Keratosis Pilaris sufferers can apply the AMPERNA® Lightweight Soothing+ Emulsion moisturiser morning and night or throughout the day if required. This moisturiser contains ceramides, hyaluronic acid and emollients to help nourish the skin and protect it from free radical damage. AMPERNA® Lightweight Soothing+ Emulsion moisturiser won’t clog pores and contains sage extract to help cool, soothe and nourish skin.
Continued use of our AMPERNA® 10% Pro+ Resurfacing Lotion helps to remove excess debris from the outer layer of skin and reduce the appearance of uneven skin tone.
When using glycolic acid and other AHAs, always wear sunscreen and appropriate sun protection. Chemical exfoliants can increase skin’s sensitivity to the sun.
WHAT CAUSES KERATOSIS PILARIS?
Keratosis pilaris occurs when your skin produces too much keratin, the key structural matter that makes up the outer layer of skin (and hair). The excess keratin blocks the hair follicle instead of exfoliating or shedding. This causes small bumps and rough, dry patches to appear.
The condition is fairly common and can show up at any age, but it’s more likely to affect young children. In fact according to DermNet NZ, up to half of all children are affected by keratosis pilaris.
Genetics also play a part in the condition - if a parent has the keratosis pilaris, up to half of that person’s children are also likely to have the condition.
According to Dr Amy Burkahrt, who specialises in integrative medicine and digestive health, “It is seen more commonly in inflammatory conditions such as asthma and allergies, and is associated with dry skin, vitamin A and essential fatty acid deficiency.”
Keratosis pilaris is fairly harmless, and tends to reduce in severity with age (some people find it resolves when they hit their 30s). However, some people suffer from dry, itchy patches caused by the condition and others are bothered greatly by its affect on physical appearance.
HOW TO TREAT KERATOSIS PILARIS
Like many skin conditions, it’s a good idea to visit a doctor or skin specialist first to ensure you get the right diagnosis.
While picking is very tempting (we totally understand), avoid it at all costs - it will only make the spots worse and could leave you with scarring.
Some experts suggest that diet can play a role in helping to manage the condition, particularly those who approach healing from an integrative or holistic approach.
In the article titled ‘Keratosis Pilaris diet: Eat your way to a bump-free skin’, the following vitamins and minerals are recommended along with Vitamin D and Vitamin B7:
Vitamin A for its inflammation fighting properties (found in spinach, carrots, sweet potato, kale and liver)
Omega-3 fats to help prevent dryness and manage oil production (found in wild salmon, sardines and krill oil)
Vitamin C for its ability to reduce dry, scaly skin (sourced from citrus fruits, tomato, broccoli, capsicum)
Vitamin E to fight UV rays and reduce cellular damage (found in almonds, hazelnuts, broccoli and green vegetables)
FOODS TO AVOID IF YOU HAVE KERATOSIS PILARIS
The article also recommends that sufferers avoid inflammatory foods such as sugar, trans fat, refined carbohydrates and artificial flavours and colours.
Read more about the affect an anti-inflammatory diet can have on your skin in our article ‘Could an anti-inflammatory diet be the first step to clear skin?’.
REGIME FOR KERATOSIS PILARIS
Melanie Ruckley, in-house naturopath at Nourished Life recommends the following 4 steps when starting on a keratosis pilaris treatment regime.
“Regular exfoliation can help to smooth the skin and buff away any bumps”, says Melanie, “don't try to scratch them off! However, this step alone will not address the inflammation at the base of the hair follicle.”
“Use a hard working moisturiser. Regularly moisturising softens dry skin and can promote cell turnover, preventing blocked pores.”
Check the Ingredients in your Skincare Products
“Avoid synthetic ingredients commonly found in mainstream scrubs and lotions as these can make the skin dry.”
(Read our article ‘Four ingredients we exclude from our products and why’ for more information about synthetic ingredients.)
Keep it up
“Treatment for Keratosis Pilaris is all about consistency,” explains Melanie, “so once you find a routine that works, stick to it.”
Our Classic Edit bundle is a great place to start with your Keratosis Pilaris skincare regime. It contains our groundbreaking, ultra-gentle exfoliant and a slew of ingredients to help nourish, hydrate and reduce inflammation.