Keratosis pilaris is a skin condition usually seen on the buttocks, thighs and buttocks, though not limited to these areas alone. It may also appear anywhere that there is no glabrous skin like the palms of hands or foot soles. This condition is common enough that 40% of all the adult population suffers from it, though some may not even know that they have it, because the manifestation is mild in some cases. Keratosis pilaris is caused by the build-up of keratin in the openings of the skin’s hair follicles, which causing hyperkeratization, and forming plugs out of the follicles. Keratin is a protein that protects skin from infection and harmful substances. Keratin build-up is still currently unknown although too much production of keratin may be related to a person’s genetic make-up or other skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis or ichthyosis vulgaris. It is a harmless condition, hereditary in nature, and can’t be transmitted from person to person. It is also most prevalent during the winter months compared to the summer.
KERATOSIS PILARIS SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
Keratosis pilaris usually appear as small, red or white zits or rough patches that feel rough and dry. In common cases, they are neither painful nor itchy. It is commonly confused with acne because of the rough bumps on the skin, not unlike what goose bumps look like.
Keratosis pilaris is usually common in babies and teenagers. For teenagers, this pimple-like growths are commonly seen on the upper arms and thighs; for babies, it usually grows on their cheeks. If left untreated, keratosis pilaris may linger for years; it would only start to gradually disappear before the age of 30.
Although keratosis pilaris is unsightly, it is completely harmless. The skin condition of people who are suffering from keratosis pilaris seem to get worse during cold weather, when the skin dries out due to low humidity. Major bodily changes in women such as pregnancy or childbirth may also aggravate the condition of keratosis pilaris.
KERATOSIS PILARIS TREATMENT
Since this skin condition is harmless, treatment is unnecessary. Keratosis pilaris also usually resolves by itself with no specific treatment. If this skin condition appears on the face, it can greatly resemble pimples, that’s why most people who are suffering from this kind of skin conditioning really find ways to get rid of the spots or patches. A visit to the doctor or to a dermatologist will enrich you with numerous helpful self-care measures as well as give you access to purchase medicated creams that can help in eradicating or decreasing the appearance of keratosis pilaris. Common facial treatments such as skin exfoliation will remove any excess keratin built up on the skin surface and prevent hyperkeratization. Exfoliation is more of a temporary solution though, because it doesn’t really address the root of the problem. The most important benefit of this is that it improves the appearance of the skin after treatment. Vitamin A, or the lack of it, has been linked to Keratis Pilaris. Monitor your Vitamin A intake, but be careful not to use too much without the supervision of your family physician because it may cause liver damage in the long run.
Image: Keratosis Pilaris
Intensive moisturizing is the primary shield of defense against the worsening of this skin condition. Application of moisturizing creams such as Vaseline, Complex 15 or Acid mantle every after bath may produce satisfactory results. Re-application may also be needed so as to ensure positive outcomes. As well as using moisturizing products, it is also important that skin moisture is not lost in the first place, so a person affected with Keratis Pilaris should use mild soaps that don’t remove too much moisture, and showers will be better for this condition than hot baths are. Dry skin conditions will worsen this condition, so make sure that skin is kept moisturized at all times.
If intensive moisturizing creams seem to be ineffective, medicated creams containing urea or alpha-hydroxy acids may prove to be helpful in alleviating this skin condition. Proper usage and application of the products should be followed since it can actually irritate the skin if it is applied too often. Intensive home treatments can be applied such as taking long, hot baths in the tub and constant and thorough rubbing of the affected areas with a mildly coarse washcloth, loofah or sponge. Too much abrasion can also worsen the condition instead of helping it, so make sure that what you use is not too rough.
If the spots seem to be very red, prescription medicines can be used to treat the unsightly redness. Antibiotics such as Erythromycin and Bactrim are the ones that are usually prescribed to alleviate the redness of the spots. Keratosis Pilaris affects the person more due to its appearance instead of its effects, and medical treatment designed to cure the manifestation are commonplace enough that your doctor can recommend a treatment that will be right for you. It has no cure, but the condition is known to improve or even disappear in later life.
If you are suffering from keratosis pilaris, it is highly suggested to go visit your local dermatologist before you apply any skin product or cream on the affected areas of your body because the wrong use or application of products may lead to other skin problems. Your family physician will recognize the condition easily enough, and can either prescribe a treatment or recommend you to a dermatologist. Biopsies are not required to diagnose this condition. This might also be caused by an allergic reaction to food, so take note of what you eat so that the doctor will be able to tell if the condition has an allergic nature in your case. The most important thing to do is not to pick at the bumps or to scratch it, because it may cause irritation and bleeding, leading to scars in the skin. Also, wear looser clothing than normal so that you won’t be chafed by your clothes, caused by close proximity of cloth to the skin leading to rubbing.
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