Keratosis Pilaris (KP)

Keratosis Pilaris

We are going to take a short break from our provider skin care regimen series to discuss a dermatology condition I get more questions about during the winter.

Have you ever wondered what those small, rough bumps are on the back of your upper arms and tops of your thighs?  The bumps usually get better during the summer and worsen during the winter.  No matter how much your moisturize, those pesky bumps just never seem to completely go away.  Its highly likely that you have keratosis pilaris, or KP for short.  Some people will call it chicken skin as well due to the appearance.

Keratosis pilaris is best described as a genetic disorder of keratinization of the hair follicles.  In layman’s terms, it basically means that this is an inherited condition you got from your mother or father that results in the skin immediately surrounding your hair follicles to thicken faster than it should.  The majority of people will find it on the backs of their upper arms or tops of their thighs; however, others may actually get KP on their face.  They usually come up as pink to flesh colored bumps.  Most patients will tell me that they squeeze them and get a white core out of them sometimes.  This is normal.  They can occasionally be itchy.

Keratosis pilaris is more common than most would think.  It’s been estimated that 50-80% of all adolescents and 40% of adults have KP.  KP may improve as you age.  KP can also be more persistent in some people.  KP has also been associated with dry skin, atopic dermatitis, seasonal allergies, and asthma.

I have a few patients that see me specifically for this problem, but most patients don’t know that this has a medical diagnosis and that there are treatment options.  There are prescription creams that I will give some patients, but over-the-counter products are all most patients need.  I will list some specific products that work well for people suffering from KP.  Please be aware that I have no financial ties to these companies or incentives to promote their products other than the fact that they are effective in treating keratosis pilaris.  First, I like patients to moisturize twice daily with Amlactin lotion.  Amlactin has alpha-hydroxy acids that help to break down dead skin in addition to the moisturizers that help with dry skin.  The second thing I have patients start is Neutrogena Body Clear Body Wash with a loofah or natural sponge.  This body wash contains salicylic acid which helps to break down dead skin specifically around the hair follicle.  Use both of these products daily.  Most people see improvement in 4-6 weeks.

I will post a couple of pictures below of the products that I recommended.  You can find most all of them at grocery stores and pharmacies.


Amlactin Lotion




Neutrogena Body Clear

Neutrogena Body Clear Body Wash


If you are having difficulty treating your keratosis pilaris or have any other hair/skin/nail concerns please call our clinic to schedule an appointment with one of our excellent medical providers.  We look forward to being your trusted source of dermatology care.

Bentonville:  701 NW McNelly Rd., Bentonville, AR 72712 (479-268-3555)

Fayetteville:  1444 E Stearns St., Fayetteville, AR 72703 (479-718-7546)

Harrison:  620 N Main, Harrison, AR 72601 (870-204-5279)

Ryan Crowder, MPAS, PA-C


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