Sunday, May 11, 2008

K P'd Off!

have you ever heard of an annoying condition called Keratosis Pilaris? there's a good chance you haven't, even if you suffer from it yourself. Keratosis Pilaris, or KP, is a genetic follicular condition that affects about 40-50% of adults and is more common in women than it is in men (lucky us!). you might have heard of it referred to as 'chicken skin' because of it's bumpy appearance. it almost looks like goosebumps that don't go away, and is sometimes red and inflamed looking. it's most commonly found on the backs of your upper arms, although it can also pop up on the lower arms, legs, buttocks, and face. the only place it can't appear is on the palms of your hands or the soles of your feet. so why does this annoying condition plague so many of us? here's what Wikipedia says...
  • Keratosis pilaris occurs as excess keratin, a natural protein in the skin, accumulates within the hair follicles forming hard plugs (process known as hyperkeratinization ). Bearing only cosmetic consequence, the condition most often appears as a proliferation of tiny hard bumps that are seldom sore or itchy. Though people with keratosis pilaris experience this condition year round, it’s during the colder months when moisture levels in the air are lower that the problem can become exacerbated and the "goose bumps" are apt to look and feel more pronounced in color and texture.
  • Many KP bumps contain an ingrown hair that has coiled. This is a result of the keratinized skin "capping off" the hair follicle, preventing the hair from exiting. Instead, the hair grows inside the follicle, often encapsulated, and can be removed, much like an ingrown hair, though removal can lead to scarring.
vomitous, right?! well i happen to fall into the group of adults who got blessed with this lovely affliction, and since i had never really known what it was while growing up, i decided to post about it and help the people who are also in the dark. luckily, i only have a very mild bit of KP on my upper arms, but i know how much i hate it and how bothersome it can be. until recently, i was using Paula's Choice Weightless Body Treatment with 2% BHA and it was working wonderfully to keep my skin clear and smooth, but when i went to reorder the other day, i was met with an 'out of stock' sign and a notice telling me it wouldn't be available again until Winter of 2008! eeeeeek!!! triple eeeeeeek! wouldn't you know they would be out of it right when summer is beginning and it's time to wear tank tops and t-shirts and such! i'm still floundering for a new product to take it's place, but i wanted to give some advice on what i've found works best to keep it at bay.

Beta Hydroxy Acids work by getting inside your pores and exfoliating any blockage from the inside out, so they are perfect for dealing with KP bumps. salicylic acid in particular has helped me, and can be found in many acne medications. problem is, the pH balance of whatever product you're going to use has to be low enough to properly exfoliate, and not all of them are. i look for a pH balance of around 3, which will exfoliate both the skin's surface and the inside of the pores. other ingredients that are said to help KP are alpha hydroxy acids, urea, and lactic acids. here are some products that i've used, read about, and/or plan to try, all of which should help you if you are having KP issues.
  • Paula's Choice Weightless Body Treatment with 2% BHA (
  • AmLactin 12% Lotion (available at drugstores)
  • Glytone Keratosis Pilaris Kit: Retexturize Exfoliating Body Wash & Lotion (
  • Neutrogena Body Clear Body Scrub & Body Wash(available at drugstores)
  • DERMAdoctor KP Duty Dermatologist Moisturizing Therapy For Dry Skin (
for other treatment ideas, check here. i've been using the Neutrogena Body Clear Body Scrub and having pretty good luck with it, i like it a lot so far. what i do is wash myself with whatever soap or bodywash i'm using at the time in the shower, then after that i take some of the scrub and apply it to my upper and lower arms and massage it in, letting it sit for awhile before rinsing. not only is it good for KP, but it also works well if you're having below the neck breakouts and i like to also use it for exfoliating my legs before i self tan. after using the scrub in the shower, it's a good idea to apply a lotion containing some of the above listed ingredients nightly to keep your pores clear. i would recommend doing this EVERY SINGLE NIGHT without fail to see the best results. i'll be ordering and reviewing the Glytone Retexturize Body Lotion soon, so stay tuned!

for more information on Keratosis Pilaris, you can visit these websites: KP Help, Mayo Clinic KP, Medline Plus, and many more on Google.

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