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What Are The Causes Of Keratosis Pilaris?

Individuals with keratosis pilaris experience outbreaks of small, hard bumps and rough patches on their skin. These bumps are often light-colored, but they may become red in severe cases or in response to inflammation. Affected areas of skin generally appear across the face, arms, thighs, and buttocks. This condition is common and primarily harmless, but it can be persistent and lead to prolonged itching or redness in some cases.

Keratosis pilaris is caused by the buildup of keratin, a protective protein found in your skin. The keratin buildup forms a scaly blockage in the opening of your hair follicles. This blockage involves tiny keratin plugs, which widen the pores and give skin a spotty appearance. Once enough of these bumps accumulate, they can create the larger trademark patches of rough, pale, bumpy skin that are associated with keratosis pilaris. The reason why keratin forms this buildup is currently unknown, but it seems to be correlated with the presence of a genetic disease or with chronically dry skin.

Winter usually worsens the effects of keratosis pilaris, but symptoms of this illness can often improve in warmer seasons because of the higher levels of humidiy. This skin disorder appears to have some genetic contribution, as it can be inherited from your parents. It is also associated with other dry-skin conditions such as eczema and ichthyosis. In some cases, keratosis pilaris may become inflamed and lead to scarring, especially when it occurs on the face. Despite its unpleasant appearance, keratosis pilaris is not contagious.

There are currently no known cures for keratosis pilaris, but moisturizing lotions can often improve the look and feel of affected skin. Your doctor can prescribe a stronger moisturizer if you find that over-the-counter options are not working sufficiently. He or she can also suggest other at-home remedies such as bathing in warm water, using soap with added oils or fats, and moisturizing the air in your home with a humidifier. If your skin does not respond well to these treatments, your doctor may also suggest prescription creams as well. Additionally, you might consider seeing a dermatologist for further assistance in treating your skin disorder and relieving any discomfort.


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