Keratosis pilaris: What to do against keratosis pilaris?

Keratosis pilaris: What to do against keratosis pilaris?

If the skin on your arms, legs, face or buttocks constantly feels rough and looks like goosebumps, then there could be a cornification disorder in the skin. Keratosis pilaris, better known as keratosis pilaris, is harmless and does not represent an actual disease. However, it can be very annoying for those affected. Here, you can find out how to treat keratosis pilaris, what products such as creams, peelings or lasers do and why it is better not to pop the small pimples.

What is keratosis pilaris?

A keratosis pilaris is a cornification disorder  (keratosis) of the skin, which becomes noticeable through symptoms such as small nodules or pimples. The skin looks like permanent goosebumps, feels rough and is often very dry. There is usually no itching or pain.

Keratosis pilaris can occur in all age groups but appears more frequently in adolescents during puberty. The outer sides of the upper arms, the front of the thighs, the buttocks and often the face in children are affected most frequently. Other names for keratosis pilaris are keratosis pilaris,  keratosis follicularis , and lichen pilaris.


Causes: How does keratosis pilaris develop?

The keratosis pilaris is due to an excessive production of keratin. The water-insoluble protein keratin is the main component of skin, hair and nails and is produced in specific cells in the upper layer of the skin. An excess of keratin clogs the hair follicles, which causes small reddish or white pimples, nodules or blisters. If the hair cannot penetrate the hair follicle due to cornification, local inflammation and redness (erythema) can result.

The keratosis pilaris occurs more frequently within families. It is assumed today that it is an inherited property, i.e., a genetic predisposition leads to its development.

Keratosis pilaris occurs more frequently in people with dry skin or atopic eczema ( neurodermatitis ). In addition, an underactive thyroid gland can promote the development of keratosis pilaris. It is still not known precisely where the keratinization disorder comes from.

When do you get keratosis pilaris?

Keratosis pilaris often develops during puberty. Children are less often affected. The skin disorder often resolves over time, disappearing by adulthood.


What helps against keratosis pilaris?

There are many ways to tackle keratosis pilaris. This includes the external treatment of the affected skin with creams, oils or peelings. Professional procedures such as fruit acid peeling or laser treatment are also used for keratosis pilaris. The diet also affects skin health and can help control and relieve the symptoms of keratosis pilaris. If skin areas become inflamed, ointments containing cortisone can be used temporarily.

The keratinization disorder cannot be removed entirely and healed if it does not regress independently. Regular care of the skin is, therefore, critical.

Keratosis pilaris: This is how cream, peeling & co.

Since people with dry skin suffer from keratosis pilaris, providing the skin with sufficient moisture is essential. In addition, it can help to remove dead skin and calluses with a gentle peeling to improve the appearance of the skin.

Suitable measures for treating keratosis pilaris can be found below.


A classic moisturizing cream or lotion is part of daily skin care. It is best applied after showering and massaged gently. When showering, only use mild soaps that do not dry out the skin.


Cream with urea (urea)

Urea is a natural substance that can bind moisture in the skin. It can help to loosen the skin’s calluses and help make dehydrated skin more supple. In addition, other horn-dissolving and moisturizing ointments can be used.


Mechanical peelings, such as salt peelings, can be successful in individual cases. However, products with fruit acids such as malic, citric, or lactic acid are generally considered more effective. Salicylic acid is also used in so-called chemical peels. Salicylic acid regulates sebum production, cleans pores and removes dead skin cells. The acid thus helps to prevent the formation of keratosis pilaris.

Before using a chemical peel for the first time, it is best to get medical advice or ask the pharmacy about suitable products – because not every remedy is suitable for self-use at home. Exfoliation should be used at most twice a week. Chemical peels are also used for acne.

skin poles

Unique, rich shower or body oils can do keratosis pilaris good by providing the dry skin with plenty of vitamin E, especially after a peeling. This is important for an intact skin barrier and contributes to a healthy complexion. The household remedy olive oil can also be used as an alternative to sometimes expensive cosmetics.


Laser for treatment of keratosis pilaris

If the keratosis pilaris is a significant burden for those affected, professional treatment to alleviate the symptoms is also possible. A carbon dioxide laser irradiates The skin on the affected areas. Laser treatment is usually very effective and leads to a noticeable and visible improvement.

However, the laser treatment can only be carried out by a dermatologist and must be repeated regularly. Before treatment, always clarify whether the relevant service will be covered by health insurance or whether you must pay for it yourself.

Keratosis pilaris: You can do other things!

The following tips can help against keratosis pilaris:

  • Fresh air and sun can help improve keratosis pilaris. However, care must be taken to apply appropriate UV protection to the skin before exposure to the sun. A more extended stay in the blazing sun should be avoided.
  • Regular visits to the sauna positively affect the complexion of the entire body. The heat also makes the skin more receptive to subsequent skin care.
  • Keratosis pilaris can also be counteracted by moisturizing the skin from the inside. Sufficient water or unsweetened tea should be drunk daily; at least two litres are recommended.

Keratosis pilaris: how does diet affect it?

Experience has shown that certain foods and beverages can hurt skin health and promote the development of keratosis pilaris. Which includes:

  • Zucker
  • Coffee
  • Alcohol
  • Nicotine

In addition, gluten (glue protein) is suspected of promoting keratosis pilaris. Gluten is found in cereals such as wheatspeltoats or barley.

Avoiding these and luxury foods can lead to a visible improvement in the appearance of the skin. However, these connections have yet to be scientifically proven. Here, everyone should find out for themselves what is good for their skin and what measures can be taken to improve keratosis pilaris.


Keratosis pilaris: Please do not scratch!

You should avoid scratching the keratosis pilaris or removing the rough areas with your fingernails. Expressing the small nodules is also taboo. This causes minor injuries that can become infected and cause scars. With the proper skin care and a little patience, you are well on your way to controlling keratosis pilaris.

Keratosis pilaris: When is it time to see a doctor?

You can visit a family doctor or a dermatological practice to ensure that the observed symptoms are caused by keratosis pilaris and not another disease that needs treatment. There, the doctor makes a diagnosis by examining the affected skin areas.

In the case of severe cornification disorders, no cosmetics or other home remedies help in self-application, and medical treatment is desired. If those affected feel disturbed by their keratosis pilaris or experience itching, pain or burning, it is also advisable to seek medical advice.

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