Keratosis pilaris is a very common skin condition caused by an excess buildup of keratin in the hair follicles. Sometimes called "chicken skin" it appears most commonly as small red bumps or scaly patches on the backs of the arms. It can also develop on other parts of the body and is common among people with dry skin or eczema.
While there is no real "cure" for keratosis pilaris, we've learned quite a few tips for minimizing and managing this harmless but frustrating skin condition. Here are some of our favorites.
TOP TIPS FOR TREATING KERATOSIS PILARIS
1.) Invest in an exfoliating body scrub
If you do just one thing in the way of body care, we vote for using a physical scrub. A good body scrub should be exfoliating with ingredients like sugar, salt or eco-friendly microbeads. Unlike the skin of the face which is very delicate, the skin on our arms and legs is thicker and can take a bit more exfoliation. Use your scrub following a good cleanse, so that you're removing dead skin buildup as opposed to just surface debris.
The other critical component is to look for a body scrub that is also moisturizing. Scrubs with a base like honey, coconut oil, mango butter or shea help to not only exfoliate but also infuse moisture back into the skin. Because keratosis pilaris is exacerbated by dryness, these nourishing ingredients are ideal in conjunction with your exfoliant.
2.) Use an active cleanser or toner on the area
Although physical exfoliation works well for the body, chemical exfoliation is also effective. Some alpha-hydroxiy acids that work well on keratosis pilaris are: glycolic acid for addressing texture, lactic acid for hydration and salicylic acid for calming redness or inflammation.
You can find these ingredients in active products like cleansers, toners or exfoliating peel pads. Though designed for the face, these products can be effectively used on the body. An active product should be used sparingly but consistently, especially if you are using it in addition to your physical scrub. Aim to use actives every other day or every couple of days to avoid further drying out the skin.
3.) Nourish the skin with a body oil
After exfoliating, the best thing to do for your skin is to follow up with a body oil or oil-based body butter. Some oils we love for the body are: sweet almond, apricot, jojoba and argan oil. You can also look for oils infused with calming ingredients like calendula, lavender and rose.
Post-exfoliation, the pores are most primed to absorb nourishing ingredients. Body oils are great because they are easily absorbed by the skin and really help to keep it soft and supple. We recommend applying oil while the skin is still just slightly damp for best results.
4.) Avoid picking at those little bumps
The temptation to pick at our skin can be a challenge, when there are bumps or other textural issues. However, we strongly advise against picking at the affected areas. Picking or attempting to "pop" bumpy skin can cause further irritation and even produce scarring over time. Instead, when you are tempted to pick, we suggest applying a lotion or a few drops of body oil which will then replenish the skin and make it more difficult to pick at.
5.) Get a little help from humidity
Have you ever noticed that your bumpy or scaly skin improves when you travel to a more humid climate? That's because more moisture in the air helps hydrate the skin and can help with irritation. If you live in a dry climate, one trick you can try to emulate this is to use a humidifier at home. Humidifiers have many benefits in a dry climate and they help produce more of the moisture that your skin loves.
GLOWTOCOL FAVES FOR BODY CARE
Active Toners/Peel Pads