Also known as follicular keratosis, this is a benign, hereditary skin disorder that causes rough or spiny goosebump-like lesions on the back of the arms, thighs or buttocks. The patches of bumps tend to get dry and itchy, particularly during the winter months. Keratosis pilaris is caused by a build-up of keratin in the hair follicle openings causing plugs. The arms, legs and buttocks experience friction from clothing and thus the bumps become irritated. It is more common in those with dry skin and eczema. Keratosis pilaris typically first presents in children and young adults. Because it is hereditary, there is no method of prevention. In some cases, it resolves or improves with age. In other cases, the condition is chronic and persists into adulthood. Treatment is designed to smooth the bumps and reduce inflammation and itching.

Treatment options include:

  • Topical lotions or creams with ammonium lactate (lactic acid) or urea that soften the affected skin by breaking apart the plugs
  • Topical corticosteroids for short-term, temporary relief of inflammation
  • Combination products include both topical steroids and acid-based moisturizers
  • Topical retinoids that increase cell turnover, which reduces the plugging of hair follicles.

To help alleviate symptoms, be sure to keep the affected area moisturizers at all times and avoid harsh soaps