Keratosis Pilaris

Keratosis Pilaris is a condition in which rough patches or blisters are noticed on the skin. These blisters are cluster of acne-line bumps. The condition is also referred to as ‘follicular keratosis’ or also as ‘chicken skin’. It is said to be an autosomal dominant medical condition. These dermatologic manifestations are often seen on arms, facial skin, thigh and other body regions. It is believed that blisters caused due to this condition do not appear on glabrous skin such as palm and sole of feet. In most cases the condition does not cause pain or itchiness. Majority of Keratosis pilaris cases are benign and ebb away with time without any treatment. Nevertheless, it is essential to consult your doctor as blisters and patches are also symptoms of serious medical issues.

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Keratosis pilaris when affects the face, it is often mistaken with conventional acne. Follicular keratosis is quite common; of the entire population approximately 40% to 50% people are affected with this dermatologic issue. It is more common in adolescent as there is 50% to 80% of the adolescent population suffering from the condition. Though the anomaly can affect both the genders, it is more common in women than men.


There are different types of pilaris that may affect people. When red rashes appear on the facial region, particularly on cheeks, then it is possibly ‘Keratosis Pilaris Faceii’. Another type, in which red and inflamed elevated skin regions are seen on arms, legs, etc, is known as ‘Keratosis Pilaris Rubra’. ‘Keratosis Pilaris Alba’ is yet another kind in which rough bumpy skin is seen. However, in this condition there may be no irritation experienced.

These bumps are similar to goose-bumps in occurrence which is why most people may mistake Pilaris for these bumps. In fact goose-bumps are actually different as they result out of spontaneous muscle contraction. The only similarity in both of these conditions is that they occur on skin region where hair follicles are seen.


This condition is influential at any age however it is frequently diagnosed in children. In this condition there are numerous tiny boils occurring on the skin making the area rough. These bumps occur around the hair follicles on different body regions. Keratosis pilaris can also be inherited and may run in families. As mentioned above Keratosis Pilaris appears like goose-bumps or ‘chicken skin’. This condition is also seen in patients with atopic dermatitis and dry skin.  Here are some factors that will help you determine whether the condition is Keratosis Pilaris.

  • Tiny bumps appearing on body parts such as thighs, arms etc. These bumps may be reddish or white
  • Affected skin region would usually have dry and rough area
  • Blisters occurring on the affected area may cause itchiness
  • Keratosis specially exacerbates in winter which is also considered as a characteristics of the condition

When left untreated the condition may alleviate gradually without any medical intervention. However, it is better to consult a doctor and seek medical assistance as the condition may aggravate and become inflamed if left untreated, especially if occurring on face.


It is discovered that Keratosis Pilaris is resulted due to keratin deposit. Keratin is a hard protein that ensures skin’s safety against infection as well as hazardous substances. Keratin develops into scaly plugs and at the opening of hair follicles causing obstruction of the follicle. There are many plugs that get developed under skin and appear as cluster of bumps on rough skin region. It is not yet understood what causes transformation of keratin into plugs. It is assumed that genetic influences along with possible skin irregularities may cause such a condition. Nevertheless, even healthy individuals may suffer from Keratosis Pilaris. The condition may aggravate if the skin is dry.

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Is it necessary to see a doctor for Keratosis Pilaris?

This irregularity is not a serious medical anomaly usually. It often does not require any treatment. If the affected individual is concerned about his skin appearance then one can certainly consult a GP. It is better to directly approach a skin specialist technically known as ‘dermatologist’. The doctor may diagnose the condition usually by examining the skin physically and analyzing the scaly plugs.


Unfortunately there is no treatment specifically decided for this condition. Doctors may often suggest self- care techniques and medicinal topical solutions to deal with the condition. The focus of the treatment remains on softening the keratin plug. Possible treatments for Keratosis Pilaris may include topical exfoliation. In this treatment there are topical creams suggested to the patient. These creams contain salicylic acid, alpha-hydroxy, urea moisturizer and lactic acid etc. Exfoliation helps in loosening and removal of dead skin cells. Topical retinoids are also suggested as it helps in preventing hair follicle obstruction due to plugs. In some cases repeated sessions of laser therapy may help in eradication of keratosis pilaris.

How to treat Keratosis pilaris with coconut oil?

The topical application of coconut oil has proved to be quite productive in treating this skin condition.  The results are visible in a matter of two  weeks or less.   Coconut oil alleviates the inflammation, and takes care of itching and redness, due to the presence of lauric acid that is known to be a natural moisturizer.  For greater effect, you can apply some coconut oil on the area affected by Keratosis pilaris, after you take a shower. Coconut oil body butter is also known to be increasingly beneficial to treat this condition. You can also apply the loofah dipped in coconut oil and moisturize the skin, during the bath.

Keratosis Pilaris Pictures

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