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The Different Types Of Keratosis Pilaris

Keratosis pilaris, a common and inherited skin disorder, affects many individuals worldwide. People with keratosis pilaris experience the buildup of a protective skin protein called keratin, which creates small, rough bumps along the surface of affected skin. These bumps generally resemble "chicken skin" and can linger for years. In general, keratosis pilaris affects the back of the upper arms, the front of the thighs, and the buttocks. Less frequently, the forearms, upper back, and face can be affected for some patients as well. Although most people share these general symptoms of keratosis pilaris, some variation does occur in their severity, location, and appearance. Because of their varying symptoms, several sub-types of keratosis pilaris have been identified.

Keratosis pilaris rubra (KPR) is the most common variant of this disorder. It is characterized by widespread, inflamed bumps that are red in color and are spread along the arms, head, and legs. KPR generally manifests before puberty and often persists after the onset of puberty, but it rarely involves scarring or skin damage beyond occasional hyperpigmentation. In contrast, Keratosis pilaris rubra faceii (KPRF) entails the trademark inflamed, red bumpy patches of skin that are usually associated with KPR, but in KPRF, these affected patches mainly occur on the face.

Other less-common types of keratosis pilaris can also happen. In keratosis pilaris atrophicans (KPA), scarring is often present. The presence or lack of scarring is one of the primary ways of distinguishing KPA from KPR. Keratosis follicularis spinulosa decalvans (KFSD) is similar to KPA in its effects on the body, but many patients find that its symptoms are usually more widespread. KFSD causes scarring across the eyebrows, eyelashes, and scalp in addition to the usual locations of upper arms, thighs, and buttocks. Finally, keratosis pilaris alba involves pale-colored, bumpy, rough patches of skin that does not usually create significant irritation.

These variants of keratosis pilaris are likely part of the same disease spectrum, according to recent research studies. If you think you may be suffering from the effects of keratosis pilaris, see your doctor or dermatologist to determine which form you may be experiencing and how to treat it.


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