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Acne or Keratosis Pilaris?

What is Ker­ato­sis Pilaris?

Ker­ato­sis Pilaris (KP) is a skin con­di­tion that caus­es rough patch­es accom­pa­nied by small, acne-like bumps. The bumps are usu­al­ly white, but can be red and gen­er­al­ly don’t hurt or itch. KP is found on the arms, thighs, cheeks, and but­tocks. KP isn’t seri­ous, but can be frus­trat­ing to treat; how­ev­er, KP nor­mal­ly dis­ap­pears by age 30.

What caus­es Ker­ato­sis Pilaris?
Ker­ato­sis Pilaris is hered­i­tary, which means it should be present in oth­er fam­i­ly mem­bers. It is caused by excess build-up of dead skin cells around indi­vid­ual hair fol­li­cles. It is not caused by soaps, laun­dry prod­ucts, or aller­gies. It is com­mon­ly seen in chil­dren and teens, but can begin as ear­ly as infancy.

How is KP diag­nosed?
In most cas­es, Ker­ato­sis Pilaris can be diag­nosed by exam­in­ing and touch­ing the affect­ed area of the skin.

Is Ker­ato­sis Pilaris a seri­ous con­di­tion?
KP is a benign skin con­di­tion that has no effects on oth­er parts of the body.

What is the rec­om­mend­ed treat­ment for KP?
Treat­ment of Ker­ato­sis Pilaris is not med­ical­ly nec­es­sary; how­ev­er, many peo­ple with this con­di­tion choose to seek treat­ment for cos­met­ic rea­sons. A com­mon ini­tial treat­ment of Ker­ato­sis Pilaris is inten­sive mois­tur­iz­ing. This may help with the dry­ness, but usu­al­ly does not clear up the bumps. Treat­ment rec­om­mend­ed for mod­er­ate to severe cas­es of KP are top­i­cal lotions or creams con­tain­ing urea (Car­mol 10 or 20) or lac­tic acid (i.e. AmLactin or Lac-Hydrin), and top­i­cal retinoids. Mild peel­ing agents (alpha-hydroxy acids and skin-smooth­ing scrubs) are the most effec­tive in open­ing the clogged hair fol­li­cles by remov­ing the excess keratin.

Can KP be com­plete­ly cured?
Unfor­tu­nate­ly, there is no known cure for Ker­ato­sis Pilaris. Although the con­di­tion may remain for years, symp­toms usu­al­ly lessen by age 30. Rec­om­mend­ed treat­ment for KP are main­ly for the tem­po­rary relief of symp­toms, but may lessen the vis­i­bil­i­ty and tex­ture of the bumps. Results will vary from per­son to per­son, which sim­ply means that what may work for one per­son, may not work for another. 

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