Reader Question: How To Get Rid of Keratosis Pilaris (KP)


Hey Jamie,

I have these awful little red bumps on my arms that feel rough and look AWFUL.  I’ve tried moisturizing but nothing works.  What’s going on and how do I fix it?! (photos attached)



Hi T!

I’m not a dermatologist but it looks like you have Keratosis Pilaris, otherwise known as KP, which is actually VERY common.  Essentially your body is producing excess Keratin and it’s getting trapped inside hair follicles, forming hard “plugs” that become raised, red and rough to the touch. It sucks, but there are a few things you can do to help:

1. Take shorter, lukewarm showers: Hot water will dry out your skin (causing KP to flare up).

2. Use products for sensitive skin and stay moisturized: You want to go easy on the areas that are flaring up. Use moisturizers specifically designed for sensitive skin, and contain soothing ingredients like aloe vera, glycerin, etc. to play it safe. A few good products: Avene Skin Recovery Cream and DERMAdoctor actually sells a few products in their KP line; I like the Intensive Priming Serum.

3. Don’t scrub the inflamed area: Scrubbing will only make it worse! When washing, only use your hands.

4. Try salicylic acid: Since KP is essentially severely clogged pores, using a product with acne-fighting ingredients (also to fight clogged pores) should help.  Salicylic acid is a proven acne-fighter since it’s a natural exfoliator.  Rub (not scrub!) the acne body wash into your skin gently while you shower.  I like Murad Acne Body Wash, just as one example.

5. See a derm: And, if all else fails, visit a dermatologist near you and see what they say!

– Jamie


image via BeautyLish.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *