Keratosis Pilaris (aka the unsightly goose-flesh on the backs of your arms…)

I’ve just come from my salsa class and was somewhat distracted by my otherwise lovely dance instructor’s arms-yep, KP was in the house. I should know, as I have it too. As does as many as 40% of the population. Its a genetic disorder (autosomal dominant, which means that if one of your parents has it, you have a 50% chance of getting it) but it has variable penetrance, which means you might carry the gene but not actually have much to show for it. Or you might get it all over your arms, thighs and cheeks. Skin disease is a bit like that.

Apart from the appearance, it won’t do you any harm. You will see little bumps at the hair follicle openings, and there is usually some background redness. For some reason, the keratin in the outer layer of the skin forms stubborn plugs, and you often feel it more than you see it.

Treatment is suppressive, rather than curative (again, like many skin problems). I find the most sucessful approach is to use a physical exfoliant (take your pick-a loofah is fine, but not quite so pleasant as say, Olivina Fig Body Scrub…..outcome is similar!) and then apply an AHA-rich emollient like Calmurid twice daily for 2 weeks; you can then drop the frequency to a maintenance regime. Neostrata Lotion Plus 15 AHA contains 15% glycolic acid and is also very effective.  It won’t help much with redness-you’ll need laser treatment for that, either IPL or pulse-dye (which target blood vessels). Wishing you happy scrubbing.



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