Hyperkeratosis Pilaris (KP)


This is a harmless skin condition that leads to rough and dry patches and tiny hard flesh coloured bumps. They normally appear on the upper arms, cheeks, bottom or even the upper thigh. KP tends not to itch or hurt. Maintenance of skin is essential as it cannot be cured .The skin needs to be moisturized and/or prescription creams in order to improve the skins appearance.


This skin disorder is caused as a result from the build up of keratin. (a protein that protects the skin infections) . Keratin forms a scaly plug that blocks the entrance of the hair follicle. Plenty of plugs form which in turn causes patches of bumpy and rough skin. It can also occur with other skin conditions. Dry skin worsens keratosis pilaris .


KP typically disappears by itself, usually by the time a person is in their 30's. This skin condition is generally treatment-resistant but there are simple treatments that can ease its appearance. Home remedies such as a warm bath, exfoliation, moisturisers and creams with urea, glycolic acid can really help. People who have KP should also avoid wearing tight clothes.


Those mostly affected usually have dry skin, ichthyosis, eczema, hay fever or Celtic ancestry.

It can also affect those that are very over weight or a history of Melanoma. KP is more common in babies, children and teenagers.

Your General Practitioner may may prescribe a topical steroid cream Locoid Lipocream for a week to apply twice daily.

This is to reduce the inflamed areas then treatment of the remaining rough, dry bumps with a mixture of urea cream and salicylic/glycolic acid. Retinoids is also another effective treatment . These are stronger medicines that are applied weekly or twice per week. When the skin starts to improve, milder moisturisers should be part of the regular regime.

Topical immunomodulators are also effective at treating keratosis. These contain active tacrolimus such as Protopic. This is usually reserved for skin that is a severely inflamed or redness.

In severe cases a Dermatologist may perform Microdermabrasion, Chemical Peels or even , Laser treatment. Surgical extraction of trapped hairs or keratin plug could also be performed.

In order to prevent KP skin from worsening, the main treatment is moisturising in order to prevent dry skin. Regular emollients, as well as cleaning with mild soaps and washes help in the maintenance.

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