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What is Keratosis Pilaris

As skin diseases go, Keratosis Pilaris is common. A protein found in our skin, known as keratin, plugs the hair follicles. Keratosis Pilaris is considered to be a benign condition.

Causes of Keratosis Pilaris

The main cause of Keratosis Pilaris is thought to be the increase in proteins such as keratin. Why the protein increases and begins to cause problems has yet to be discovered.

Overall, most cases of Keratosis Pilaris are mild and somewhat bothersome to the sufferers. Individual papules form inside the hair follicle that gives the skin a sandy feeling. The condition is normally worsened by cold weather.

Symptoms of Keratosis Pilaris

Most symptoms of Keratosis Pilaris are mild and only slightly bothersome. The symptoms will appear and disappear in time. The symptoms will present themselves at different times of the year and will differ in their severity.
The most common symptom of Keratosis Pilaris is a sandy, bumpy texture to the skin. This occurs on the arms or legs in many cases but has been known to present in other areas of the body has well. The patches will be small to medium in size and normally do not spread from where they first presented.

You may also notice some isolated bumps on areas of the body that are not near the original outbreak. This is common among patients and does not necessarily mean that the disease is spreading or progressing in any certain way.

The uncommon of all symptoms of Keratosis Pilaris is a slight red or pink discoloration around the bumps in the affected area. This symptom presents in less than one percent of all known cases. The redness is generally associated with excessive scratching and will normally subside when the scratching is stopped.


The commonality of Keratosis Pilaris makes diagnosis very simple in most cases. The doctor will normally require a physical exam to diagnose the disorder. In very few cases, the doctor will order a skin scraping or culture to be collected. This is normal when the examination takes place in the earliest stages of the disease when diagnosis is more difficult to pin point. A skin culture will give a definitive answer in most cases when it becomes necessary.

Treatment of Keratosis Pilaris

There is no exact cure for Keratosis Pilaris but the condition is considered benign and not harmful to the patient. Lotions may be helpful in improving the appearance of the skin but this is not a cure. Lotions will help to relieve any itching that becomes apparent through the course of the disease. Keeping the area damp is also an option to help relieve any of the discomfort associated with Keratosis Pilaris.

Doctors may prescribe a topical solution to the area but this is also not a cure. The treatments are designed for long-term use and patients can expect a return of the symptoms when the treatment is stopped.


The best hope that Keratosis Pilaris sufferers can hope for is the disease to fade away with age. In most cases the disease is completely gone within a few years and it leaves no lasted damage or remnants. Researchers attribute this to a decrease in the protein keratin that is the original cause of Keratosis Pilaris. They are not sure why the decrease happens but it does nonetheless and an often time relieves the symptoms or completely fades the disease away.


There are no known complications that are associated with Keratosis Pilaris. The simply nature of the disease is more bothersome and cosmetic than anything and nothing in the way of medical crisis has ever been reported from any of the cases that have been recorded since its discovery. Researchers believe that the disease may be nothing more than the bodies natural reaction to the increase in keratin and not harmful to the person in the slightest.

Medical Attention for Keratosis Pilaris

There is no specific timetable for medical attention in the case of Keratosis Pilaris. Since the disease is basically not treatable in the first place, most people just try to live with the symptoms until they subside or they apply lotion to counteract the effects that it has on their skin. If other problems do arise it is strongly suggested that you seek medical attention. Only a doctor is qualified to diagnose Keratosis Pilaris and you should never assume anything without first consulting a medical professional.

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