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Differentiating Keratosis Pilaris From Similar Skin Conditions

Keratosis pilaris occurs when plugs form in hair follicles as the result of the buildup of keratin, a protective skin protein. These blocked follicles prevent hairs from pushing through to the skin's surface, which creates tiny, rough bumps. Body surfaces that have fine-hair growth are the most commonly affected areas, such as the upper arms, thighs, and sometimes buttocks or face.

Sometimes keratosis pilaris can be confused with other skin conditions, such as symptoms of an unhealthy diet. For example, some children are mistakenly diagnosed with keratosis pilaris, when in fact they are experiencing a rash as the result of poor fat consumption. Once they maintain healthy levels of fats from nuts, olive oil, and fish, their skin irritation and bumpy patches disappear. Other skin conditions that may resemble the "chicken skin" of keratosis pilaris include acne, eczema, xerosis, eruptive vellus hair cysts, folliculitis, and milia, among others. These skin problems generally involve inflammation of the hair follicles or superficial redness from irritants.

Additionally, the symptoms involved in skin issues like Darier disease, Kyrle disease, pityriasis rubra pilaris, lichen nitidus, lichen spinulosus, and trichostasis spinulosa are all associated with the body's keratin production or superficial inflammation, or they are attributed to unknown causes. Dry skin also makes these problems more likely, so doctors recommend exfoliating skin regularly with a gentle cleanser and moisturizing twice a day to treat and prevent these types of skin conditions.

Although this skin condition is common and usually harmless, you should be sure that you receive an accurate diagnose. Otherwise, treatments may not be effective and your symptoms may worsen. Because of this, it is important that you avoid making any self-diagnoses of skin conditions; instead, speak with your family doctor or with a dermatologist to ensure that you receive a thorough medical evaluation. Healthcare professionals usually diagnose keratosis pilaris by examining your skin and looking for the characteristic scaly plugs associated with this condition. Once you have received an accurate diagnosis, follow your personal treatment plan consistently to ensure maximum effectiveness in reducing your symptoms. The most effective symptom reduction is associated with patients who closely follow a healthy skin routine.


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