Keratosis Pilaris—or as I like to call them, those ugly-chicken-bumps-on-my-skin-that-won't-go-away, are actually plugs of keratin protein that have been collecting in hair follicles. While most frequent on the back of upper arms, they've been known to appear on both sets of "cheeks." These pesky plugged follicles are responsible for that sandpaper feeling on your skin, and they're at their worst during winter, when skin is at its driest and most vulnerable.
Luckily, there are a few ways to treat this inherited condition. "In the office, I give patients various peels and laser treatments, but at home I will prescribe products with the right exfoliating agents," says dermatologist Dr. Jeannette Graf, M.D. Look for formulas with glycolic acid, salicylic acid, urea and lactic acid (both keratolytics—agents which soften and dissolve a plugged keratin follicle), retinol, and vitamin A.
While diet is an important factor in the condition of your skin, lifestyle has a more immediate impact on treating Keratosis Pilaris. "Don't take hot showers with harsh soaps and scrubs, which can aggravate the skin," advises Dr. Graf. "Instead, take quick and tepid showers using gentle exfoliants and moisturizing body washes to gently treat your KP."
Keratosis Pilaris Treatments
For stronger treatment, Beautylish and Dr. Graf recommend Glytone KP Kit, a body wash and lotion with potent levels of glycolic acid, Lac-Hydrin Lotion (12% lactic acid), or Carmol-40 (40% urea). If treatment is too harsh, balance out application by slathering problem areas with Alba Botanica Very Emollient Body Lotion. This incredibly rich and hydrating body lotion has a featherweight cream texture for moisturized, not sticky skin.