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Chicken Skin Arms: What is Keratosis Pilaris?

Read This If You Have Eczema or Sensitive Skin!

· skin care,health,beauty

If you’re ever noticed tiny inflamed bumps on your upper arms, thighs, or buttocks, it’s not because of acne. These rough little “goosebumps” are actually more common than you think. Keep reading to learn more about Keratosis pilaris.

What is Keratosis Pilaris?

Resembling the plucked skin of a chicken, Keratosis pilaris, a harmless skin condition, is actually plugs of dead skin cells. Keratosis pilaris bumps can appear in different colors depending on your skin tone (flesh-colored, white, red, pink, brown, or black). Dry skin is the main culprit due to a buildup of keratin protein, forming a plug that blocks the opening of a hair follicle. It typically goes hand in hand with related skin conditions, such as eczema (also called atopic dermatitis) – a chronic rash that causes skin to appear red, itchy, and scaly.

Symptoms are mild and may include redness, rough skin, swelling, and itching. Symptoms get worse during drier winter months, as well as during fluctuations in hormone levels, such as during puberty or pregnancy. Most often, children and teens (and some others) experience Keratosis pilaris, but it usually disappears by age 30.

Keratosis Pilaris is Associated With:


Children or Teenagers

Dry Skin



Hay Fever



Celtic Ancestry


Keratosis pilaris can't be cured or prevented, but you can reduce flare-ups with some simple steps.

How to Reduce Symptoms of Keratosis Pilaris

  • Don’t scratch the bumps directly.
  • Exfoliate to gently remove dead skin using a loofah brush or a pumice stone.
  • Use warm (not hot) water in the shower.
  • Use natural, fragrance-free moisturizers on your skin. (Coconut oil also helps!)
  • Use a humidifier to add moisture to the air.
  • Avoid wearing tight clothes.

How to Shop for Sensitive Skin-Friendly Products

A regular skin care and beauty routine is important for everyone, including people with Keratosis pilaris. Since many people with eczema also tend to have Keratosis pilaris, selecting all-natural, gentle, certified organic, and fragrance-free personal care and skin care products may help prevent skin irritation. Look for products labeled for “sensitive skin” and “hypoallergenic.” Drugstore brands such as Cetaphil, Eucerin, CeraVe, Neutrogena, and Vaseline are safe to use for most people with sensitive skin.

People with skin sensitivities are prone to infections, so using natural options such as coconut oil or tea tree oil may help provide anti-inflammatory and antibacterial support to disinfect the skin.

If you think you may have Keratosis pilaris, talk to your health care provider or a dermatologist to find the best treatment options for you.


Photo by Karol D from Pexels

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