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What you need to know

While keratosis pilaris (KP) can might clear up on its own, it can be an ongoing concern. More of a cosmetic nuisance than anything, dermatologists believe these bumps on your arms, legs or buttocks may be genetic.1 Although it may be harmless, the look of chicken skin may make you self-conscious when wearing sleeveless tops or shorts.

Keratosis pilaris basics2:

  • Keratosis causes patches of rough, bumpy skin most commonly found on the backs of your arms, legs and buttocks
  • Bumps may be surrounded by red, scaly skin
  • Dry skin can make bumps more noticeable2
  • Topical products may help improve the appearance of keratosis pilaris

What is keratosis pilaris?

Keratosis pilaris occurs when a skin protein called keratin builds up and blocks the opening of the hair follicle, and these “plugs” can lead to areas of rough and bumpy skin. Dry skin can make keratosis pilaris symptoms appear worse,1 which is why moisturizing is key for improving the look of these bumps on your arms, legs and the buttocks. Dermatologists believe this condition could be genetic but no specific keratosis pilaris causes have been identified. In many cases, keratosis pilaris clears up on its own with age.2

Signs your bumpy skin is keratosis pilaris

This skin condition is very common, and it’s easy to find keratosis pilaris pictures online. The main symptoms of keratosis pilaris are small, hard, painless bumps on the backs of the arms, legs and buttocks. These bumps can be surrounded by red, scaly skin, and they can become itchy especially if skin is dry. Keratosis pilaris is often worse during cold winter months.1

If you think you may have keratosis pilaris, it’s best to see a dermatologist who can tell you for sure and recommend the most effective treatments for improving the symptoms.

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