Bumps in the Road: The Truth About Chicken Skin

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Have you been moisturizing your body with lotion lately and ran your fingers across what feels like goose bumps? You probably have keratosis pilaris, also known as chicken skin. Keratosis pilaris causes numerous small, rough, tan or red little bumps around hair follicles on your skin. It looks like uncooked chicken skin or goosebumps.

What causes keratosis pilaris?

Protein that protects the skin from infection, called keratin, builds up and forms a plug that blocks the opening of hair follicles. Patients with dry skin are more likely to experience keratosis pilaris, and it can be worse during the winter when the air is dryer.

How do I prevent keratosis pilaris?

Keep your skin comfortable and moist to lessen the buildup of keratin. Ways to help prevent chicken skin include:

  • Using warm water rather than hot for bathing and showering
  • Use soap that has added oil or fat; try Hemp Soap or Shea Moisture Body Scrub
  • Don’t scratch at your skin or rub it roughly
  • Use thick moisturizers
  • Add moisture to the air with a humidifier

What is the treatment for keratosis pilaris?

Use moisturizing lotions or creams to help your skin feel better. Topical exfoliants with lactic or salicylic acid help remove dead skin cells from your skin. Topical retinoids with vitamin A help prevent the buildup under hair follicles. Puritan’s Pride Retinol Cream ir CeraVe Skin Renewing Cream Serum are two examples of over the counter options.

Many people try home remedies that include olive oil, oatmeal or coconut oil skin rubs. Change your diet to include plenty fresh vegetables and fruit. Stay hydrated by drinking lots of water. Try oily fish, nuts and other foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids.

If over-the-counter treatments are not working, visit your dermatologist. Click here to schedule an appointment online.

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