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Keratosis Pilaris Skin: The What, Why, and How to Treat It

Written by: Mimi Kone



Time to read 3 min

When it comes to our skin, we all desire a smooth, radiant glow. But sometimes, nature has other plans. One such skin condition that many face, but few discuss, is Keratosis Pilaris. Often referred to as 'chicken skin', this condition is more common than you might think. Today, we delve into the science behind Keratosis Pilaris, its impact on those who have it, and the treatments available.


Understanding Keratosis Pilaris

Keratosis Pilaris (KP) is a benign skin condition that manifests as tiny, rough bumps on the skin, often resembling goosebumps or small pimples. These bumps are actually small plugs of dead skin cells, which form around individual hair follicles.

Our skin is in a constant state of renewal. Old skin cells make way for new ones, and this cycle ensures our skin remains healthy and vibrant. However, in individuals with KP, this process is somewhat disrupted. Instead of exfoliating naturally, the dead skin cells around hair follicles accumulate, leading to the characteristic rough patches and bumps.


While the exact cause of KP remains unknown, it's believed to be linked with an overproduction of keratin – a protein that protects our skin from harmful substances and infections. When there's too much keratin, it can block the hair follicles, leading to the appearance of KP.


How Common is KP


You're not alone if you've noticed these tiny bumps on your arms, thighs, or cheeks. It's estimated that up to 40% of adults and 50-80% of adolescents experience KP at some point in their lives. While it's more prevalent in people with dry skin or eczema, KP doesn't discriminate and can affect individuals of all skin types.


For many, KP is more than just a skin condition. Sarah, a regular at our salon, once shared, "I used to avoid wearing short-sleeved tops because I was so self-conscious about my arms. It felt like everyone was staring." While KP is harmless and isn't painful, it can be a source of distress, impacting one's self-esteem and confidence.

""Keratosis pilaris is a build-up of keratin — a hair protein — in the pores that clogs up and blocks the opening of growing hair follicles. As a result, small bumps form over where the hair should be." Dermatologist Doris Day.


Speaking of Sarah, her story didn't end with her hiding her skin. One summer day, she decided she'd had enough. "I wanted to wear what I liked, not what KP dictated," she said. This determination led her to explore treatments, a journey many with KP embark upon.


While there's no 'cure' for KP, several treatments can help reduce its appearance:

Exfoliation: Gentle exfoliation can help remove the accumulated keratin and dead skin cells. Opt for a body scrub or a loofah, but remember, always be gentle to avoid irritation.

Moisturizing: Keeping the skin hydrated can reduce the dryness associated with KP. Look for creams with urea or lactic acid, which can help break down the excess keratin.

Topical Retinoids: These vitamin A derivatives can help promote cell turnover and prevent hair follicles from getting plugged.

Laser Treatments: For those looking for more advanced treatments, certain laser therapies can help reduce the redness and inflammation associated with KP.




Keratosis Pilaris, while common, can be a source of distress for many. But with understanding and the right treatments, it doesn't have to dictate how you feel about your skin. At our London salon, we believe in embracing and celebrating all skin types. If you're struggling with KP, we encourage you to try out different treatments and discover what works best for you. After all, every journey to radiant skin is unique, and we're here to support you every step of the way.

Until next time,



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