Let's Talk About Keratosis Pilaris
Working on on those tris and noticing those tiny little bumps on the back of your arms? You call them a nuisance and I call them keratosis pilaris. Plaguing many a patient and friend (including yours truly), I’ve been asked for years on advice on exterminating them.
First, the key is understanding what they are and why you have them. In short, the skin cells in and around the follicles in the back of your arms are genetically programmed to divide at a faster rate than the skin is naturally shed. This results in dead skin cells piling up on each other at the opening of your hair follicle, and sometimes, growing hairs can get trapped underneath. When that happens, there can be some redness and inflammation. Not life-threatening, but definitely a life-nuisance.
What to do?! Everyone’s first instinct is to essentially sand down your skin with rough exfoliants, loofahs, sandpaper… but actually, that can make the situation worse and increase redness and irritation. What really works are things that gently remove the debris from your follicles, like alpha hydroxy acids, lactic acids (Lac-hydrin), or salicylic acids. Gentle cleansing and moisturizing are also key in maintaining the delicate balance of the skin. A great product that combines a well balanced moisturizer and a gentle chemical exfoliant is Paula’s Choice RESIST Weightless Body Treatment with 2% BHA. A newer product, AsepticMD, with a chloride dioxide complex has shown promising results and worth a try. Although incurable, there is hope! Forge ahead!