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Keratosis pilaris: Overview


What is keratosis pilaris?

Keratosis pilaris is a common skin condition, which appears as tiny bumps on the skin. Some people say these bumps look like goosebumps or the skin of a plucked chicken. Others mistake the bumps for small pimples.

These rough-feeling bumps are actually plugs of dead skin cells. The plugs appear most often on the upper arms and thighs (front). Children may have these bumps on their cheeks.

Keratosis pilaris

This harmless skin condition causes tiny, rough-feeling bumps on the skin.

Because keratosis pilaris is harmless, you don't need to treat it. If the itch, dryness, or the appearance of these bumps bothers you, treatment can help. Treatment can ease the symptoms and help you see clearer skin.

Treating dry skin often helps. Dry skin can make these bumps more noticeable. In fact, many people say the bumps clear during the summer only to return in the winter. If you decide not to treat these bumps and live in a dry climate or frequently swim in a pool, you may see these bumps year round.


Image
Image used with permission of the American Academy of Dermatology National Library of Dermatologic Teaching Slides.

References
Schmitt JV, Lima BZ. “Keratosis pilaris and prevalence of acne vulgaris: a cross-sectional study.” An Bras Dermatol. 2014 Jan-Feb; 89(1):91–5.

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