What is Keratosis Pilaris?

Keratosis pilaris is a relatively common condition that presents like rough, blocked pores. This condition tends to affect the following sites:

  • Cheeks, Outer upper arms, Anterior and lateral aspect of the thighs

KP is a genetic condition and one or both parents often have the same features, although often in a milder form. KP is most noticeable in childhood and usually becomes less obvious in adulthood. This condition has been associated with obesity.  Keratosis pilaris tends to be more severe during the winter months.

Clinically, this condition presents with scaly plugs which have a sandpaper texture. The lesions appear rough and gritty. It is usually asymptomatic but sometimes unsightly. It occurs as a result of excessive accumulation of skin cells in the opening of the hair follicles, forming a scaly plug.

What is the treatment for this condition?

The following treatments are useful:

Moisturising cream applied twice daily-including urea/salicylic acid/ lactic acid/alpha hydroxyl acids
Microdermabrasion is a highly recommended technique that can be combined with the above creams
Topical retinoids- available in a gel/cream or lotion form may be applied as a spot treatment on affected areas.

This treatment option is not suitable for young children and is contraindicated in pregnancy.