Hyperkeratosis Pilaris

KP, also follicular keratosis or chicken skin is a common, genetic follicular condition that is manifested by the appearance of rough, slightly red, bumps on the skin (resembles goose bumps). It most often appears on the back and outer sides of the arm, and can also occur on the thighs, hands, and tops of legs, sides, buttocks (or any body part except the palms or soles of feet). Lesions may also appear on the face, which may be mistaken for acne. There are several different types of keratosis pilaris, including keratosis pilaris rubra (red, inflamed bumps which can be on arms, head, legs), keratosis pilaris alba (rough, bumpy skin with no irritation), keratosis pilaris rubra faceii (reddish rash on the cheeks).  Keratosis pilaris occurs when the human body produces excess keratin, a natural protein in the skin. The excess keratin, which is cream colored, surrounds and entraps the hair follicles in the pore. This causes the formation of hard plugs. The hard bumps that are seldom sore or itchy. Though people with keratosis pilaris experience this condition year-round, it is during the colder months, when moisture levels in the air are lower, that the problem can become exacerbated. The keratin my trap the hair on itself in the follicle called "capping off" the hair follicle, preventing the hair from exiting. Treatments options are limited, but moisturizing or keratolytic treatments including urea is worth a trial.