The KP bumps usually appear on the upper arms and thighs, but can also be on any part of the body except the palms and soles of feet. Although the bumps are usually not sore or itchy, they can be unsightly and have a strong impact on self-esteem. The bumps make the texture of the skin rough and bumpy and often appear as red patches when they become irritated.
It is estimated that 40% of adults and 50% – 80% of adolescents have some form of KP, so it is extremely common. It is more prevalent in women than in men. There are a few variations of KP:
- keratosis pilaris rubra: red, inflamed bumps that usually appear on the upper arms and thighs
- keratosis pilaris alba: rough bumps without irritation
- keratosis pilaris rubra faceii: red bumps that appear on the cheeks
Keratosis Pilaris is often misdiagnosed as acne. The bumps can sometimes appear like whiteheads and when squeezed, the plug may come out so it looks like a whitehead. Many people with KP do not even know that they have it. It may be so mild that it is not much of a problem. When it becomes irritated and red, it is much more of a nuisance and usually prompts people to seek treatment options.
Once you have been diagnosed, there are many different keratosis pilaris treatment options that you can try. Unfortunately, there is no cure that will magically get rid of the bumps, and it can be very frustrating to deal with them. Do not get too discouraged because there are definitely treatments that can work very well to reduce the bumps. You do not have to live with unsightly bumps, but you may have to try several different treatments before you find the one that works for you.
For mild cases of KP, it is often enough just to exfoliate gently with a loofah and moisturize with an over the counter lotion from the drug store. The exfoliation helps to unplug the hair follicles and moisturizing helps keep skin soft to loosen and remove dead skin cells which can also plug up the hair follicles.
For more severe cases of KP, there are many treatment options to choose from. Dermatologists may recommend lactic acid lotions, Alpha Hydroxy Acid lotions, Salicylic Acid, topical steroid creams, retinoic acid products, or specially mixed creams that have multiple treatments combined into one.
There are alternative therapies that may or may not be effective at treating keratosis pilaris, including oil pulling, rose hip oil, sea buckthorn oil, and vitamin A, zinc, or other nutritional supplements.
Since there is no cure and no universally effective treatment, it is important to try treatments out until you find one that works. You may find something that works for a period of time and then it loses its effectiveness. Your KP may also come and go due to changing weather conditions or increased periods of stress in your life. There are many factors that will influence how effective a certain keratosis pilaris treatment will be.
Seeking treatment for KP is a journey that requires dedication. You may have to try treatments for months before seeing results. It is important to be patient and not get too stressed out because stress can make your KP worse. KP can cause anxiety and depression, so it can be very helpful to find support in the online community. Just remember that you are not alone. There are tons of people out there who have the exact same problem as you, so it can help to check out forums online and communicate with other people who have gone through the same thing. There is a lot of support online in the forums, so get out there and participate. Not only will you find comfort in knowing there are many other people going through the same thing, you can also find out what KP treatments have worked for other people.
Good luck and I hope you find a keratosis pilaris treatment that works for you.
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