Bid adieu to rough, dry and goosebump skin with these affordable, yet highly effective treatments for keratosis pilaris.
Dealing with keratosis pilaris, commonly known as “chicken skin”, can sometimes be disheartening. Rough, bumpy, and dry patches combined with uneven skin tone appearing in visible parts of our bodies can knock out our self-confidence, especially when we plan to wear that little strapless dress we have invested in for the party season.
But, not to despair. A few lifestyle changes combined with the right skin care treatments can help you manage keratosis pilaris to achieve that baby buttock skin you’ve been dreaming about.
Below is your simple survival guide to keratosis pilaris followed by the best over-the-counter skin exfoliants and moisturisers for keratosis pilaris for radiant looking skin.
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What is Keratosis Pilaris?
Keratosis pilaris is a common skin condition that presents as dry, rough patches and tiny bumps resembling goose flesh. Keratosis pilaris is typically painless and harmless, but it can be a bother if you want soft and supple skin.
People with keratosis pilaris will often notice rough, dark patches full of tiny bumps on their upper arms, thighs, cheeks, and buttocks. This skin condition worsens with the change of season, especially in low-humidity weather when there is less moisture in the air.
The leading cause of keratosis pilaris is keratin build-up that obstructs the opening of hair follicles, causing rough, dry, and bumpy patches.
Keratin is a hard protein naturally produced in our bodies to protect the skin from harmful substances and infections.
Keratin is present in our hair, nails, and skin. It helps to keep our skin healthy, but its build-up can make your skin feel dry.
While visiting a dermatologist is recommended for any skin condition, it might not always be necessary for Keratosis pilaris unless it causes debilitating itchiness or dryness.
To diagnose Keratosis pilaris, a dermatologist will examine your skin and confirm that you have Keratosis pilaris if you exhibit the following symptoms:
- Dry, rough skin
- Goosebumps slightly darker than your skin tone that may look like a rash or pimples
- Itchy skin that does not hurt
Although it is unclear what causes keratin build-up, keratosis pilaris is more common in children, teenagers, and people with certain drying skin conditions like eczema.
What Treatments Work for Keratosis Pilaris?
I have spoken to a few darling friends of mine battling keratosis pilaris daily. I also deep dived into online boutiques to curate the most in-demand clinically proven over-the-counter exfoliants and moisturisers for keratosis pilaris. Below is the shortlist.
CeraVe SA Lotion for Rough and Bumpy Skin
Key ingredients: Salicylic Acid, Ammonium Lactate, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid
A lightweight, non-greasy lotion containing salicylic acid, lactic acid, and hyaluronic acid. It is a lotion for rough skin designed to exfoliate and hydrate your skin to improve its texture.
The fragrance-free lotion has three essential ceramides that lock in your skin’s moisture and protect the skin barrier. It is formulated with the CeraVe MVE technology to ensure that the ingredients are efficiently delivered into your skin’s barrier slowly over time, so it continues working long after application.
First Aid Beauty KP Smoothing Body Lotion with 10% AHA
Key ingredients: Lactic Acid, Urea, Allantoin, Colloidal Oatmeal, Ceramide NP
© First Aid Beauty
This vegan multipurpose body lotion exfoliates skin and moisturises your skin to improve texture. Lactic acid supports skin exfoliation, whilst urea helps smooth and hydrate your skin. Another star ingredient, colloidal oatmeal, helps calm and relieve dry skin.
AMELIORATE Transforming Body Lotion (Fragrance-Free)
Key ingredients: Lactic Acid, Urea, Sodium Lactate, Serine, Allantoin, Hydrolysed Milk Protein
A lightweight body lotion formulated with lactic acid and urea to support people with keratosis pilaris regardless of skin type. It exfoliates and moisturises rough, dry, and bumpy skin, making it look and feel better.
This everyday body lotion enriched with sweet almond oil hydrates your skin and protects its natural moisture barrier.
SkinCeuticals Hydrating B5 Mask
Key ingredients: Sodium Hyaluronate, Urea, Vitamin B5, Hyaluronic Acid
This is an intensely hydrating weekly gel mask that helps replenish the skin’s moisture levels for dry, normal, oily, or combination skin.
The gel formula is enhanced with urea, a skin’s natural moisturizing factor (NMF), which helps boost skin water retention capabilities.
This, combined with hydrating hyaluronic acid, helps your skin rebalance its moisture level for a stronger protective barrier against your skin’s environmental aggressors.
Eucerin Dry Skin Intensive Lotion – 10% Urea
Key ingredients: Sodium Lactate, Urea, Lactic Acid, Hydrogenated Castor Oil
Eucerin fragrance-free lotion is formulated with a three-dimensional system that moisturises, exfoliates, and conditions dry, flaky skin.
Enriched with both urea and lactic acid, which are naturally in the skin, the paraben free lotion helps improve the appearance of dehydrated and dull skin over time.
Paula’s Choice RESIST Skin Revealing Body Lotion 10% AHA
Key ingredients: Glycolic Acid, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Camellia Oleifera (Green Tea) Leaf Extract
© Paula’s Choice
This is a creamy, lightweight leave-on exfoliant that contains 10% AHA, which gently but effectively removes dead skin cells to reveal smoother, more radiant skin. It helps to improve the appearance of rough, bumpy skin, leaving it soft and moisturised.
Glytone KP Kit
Exfoliating body wash: Glycolic acid, glycerin, imidazolidinyl urea
Exfoliating body lotion: Glycolic Acid, Glycerin, PEG-40 Stearate, Allantoin
Star ingredient glycolic acid steals the show in Glytone KP kit, courtesy of its exfoliating properties that help sweep away built-up dead skin cells from your skin.
The two-step kit contains an exfoliating body scrub, an exfoliating body lotion, and a bath pouffe that you can use for your daily bath routine. Regular use of the kit helps smoothen bumpy and textured skin to reduce the appearance of rough, scaly patches.
Sunday Riley Charcoal Smoothie Jelly Body Scrub
Key ingredients: Salicylic Acid, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Niacinamide, Lactic Acid
Scrub away bumpy, textured, flaky skin, courtesy of salicylic acid and lactic acid found in this body scrub formula.
Niacinamide together with activated charcoal help deep cleanse your skin for a smoother and more even texture. Coconut oil and avocado oil deliver much needed moisture, helping to balance and restore your skin’s natural protective barrier.
DERMAdoctor KP Duty Dermatologist Formulated Body Scrub
Key ingredients: Lactic Acid, Glycolic Acid, Gluconolactone, Lactobionic Acid, Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract
The dermatologist-formulated body scrub is an ode to AHA and PHA exfoliants contained in this formula. Together lactic acid, glycolic acid, gluconolactone, and lactobionic acid slough away dead skin cells stored up on the top layer of your skin to reveal a baby-smooth skin.
Skin-soothing borage seed oils, evening primrose, and black Currant help calm inflammation and restore skin’s natural barrier.
Necessaire The Body Exfoliator
Key ingredients: Salicylic Acid, Glycolic Acid, Lactic Acid, Niacinamide, Gluconolactone, Charcoal Powder
The fragrance-free body scrub is a weekly exfoliator that contains volcanic pumice, charcoal bamboo, AHA, BHA, PHA and niacinamide.
The Body exfoliator delivers an effective skin detox treatment to help resurface soft, healthy skin. It is hypoallergenic, non-comedogenic, and dermatologist-tested.
What is the Best Way to Get Rid of Keratosis Pilaris?
At the moment, there is no cure for keratosis pilaris. Usually, Keratosis pilaris clears up on its own over time. You can use some home remedies and make some adjustments to your lifestyle to ensure that your skin remains soft and supple.
Home remedies and changes to your skincare routine will not necessarily make keratosis pilaris go away completely, but these measures will keep your skin moisturised and improve its appearance.
Changes to your Lifestyle and Home Remedies
Use gentle skincare products and bath towels
Most people with keratosis pilaris are misled to believe that harsh soaps and washcloths will exfoliate the skin and improve its appearance.
However, harsh soaps can dry out your skin and vigorously rubbing your skin can cause irritation and worsen your skin condition.
When you have Keratosis pilaris, it is important to be gentle with your skin to ensure that it is moisturised and your skin barrier is protected.
Use warm water
Although some people prefer hot, long showers to unwind, hot water can cause more harm than good, because it strips your skin of natural oils that keep it moisturised. Using warm water cleanses your skin efficiently and helps maintain the moisture in your skin.
Take shorter showers
It is important to take your time in the shower, but limit the time you spend in water to 10 minutes or less. This is because long showers can strip your skin of essential oils that keep your skin moisturised.
Avoid wearing overly tight clothes
Friction against your skin from tight clothes may cause irritation and worsen your skin condition. Try to wear loose-fitting clothes that are made from breathable materials and laundered with gentle products.
Regulate the humidity in your home
Moisture in the air keeps your skin moisturised. Invest in a portable home humidifier to combat low humidity.
Moisturise your skin
The appearance of your skin can be improved by using high-quality moisturisers. Ensure that you use moisturising products in the shower and after the shower. Apply a moisturising cream or lotion immediately after your shower when the skin is still damp.
Over-the-counter Treatment Options
In addition to these home remedies and improvements to your lifestyle to manage keratosis pilaris, you can use topical creams and lotions that are designed to exfoliate and moisturise your skin. Look for products that contain the following ingredients:
AHAs, BHAs, and PHAs
Regularly using AHAs enhances your skin condition by smoothing out wrinkles and evening the tone and texture of your skin.
Glycolic acid helps regulate melanin synthesis, stimulate collagen synthesis in deeper layers of your skin, and make skin renewal faster. It is important to gradually introduce glycolic acid into your skin care routine as its penetrating capacity is quite high.
Lactic acid enhances ceramides production by keratinocytes and therefore prevents dryness and evens out your skin tone. Lactic acid is recommended for sensitive skin.
BHAs are chemical exfoliants that are recommended for people with oilier skin to treat acne, milia, and blackheads. As a treatment option for keratosis pilaris, BHAs eliminate dull skin without stripping your skin of its natural oils.
Willow extract, beta hydroxybutanoic acid, and tropic acid are some commonly used BHAs used in beauty products.
PHAs are chemical exfoliants that help to get rid of dead cells on the surface of your skin without penetrating the delicate layers of your skin. They are less penetrative than BHAs and AHAs, but they are very effective with skin renewal without causing irritation. PHAs are recommended for people with sensitive skin, dry skin, and people with skin conditions like eczema.
The most common PHAs are lactobionic acid, gluconolactone, and galactose.
Urea is a humectant that is effective in supporting skin moisturisation and exfoliation to help strengthen the skin’s natural protective barrier function.
Urea keeps your skin moisturised by drawing moisture from deeper layers of your skin and the air.
Moreover, like salicylic acid, urea is a keratolytic agent due to its ability to soften the protein keratin found in the top layer of our skin in order to help remove accumulated dead skin cells.
Lotions and creams with more than 10% urea are known to be effective in exfoliating dead skin cells. Urea is considered a helpful ingredient in the treatment of keratosis pilaris.
This blog post is not intended to provide diagnosis, treatment, or medical advice in any form or shape. Content provided on this platform is strictly for informational purposes only. This is based on my own research and reading of clinical studies in the beauty industry, keeping updated about new changes in the cosmetics market, and my personal journey of battling for over 25 years with severe skin disorders such as acne, eczema, and hyperpigmentation. Please, consult with a physician or other healthcare professional regarding any medical or health-related diagnosis or treatment options you might have. Information on this platform should not be considered as a substitute for advice from a healthcare professional. The statements made about specific products throughout this video are not to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.