/SiteAssets/Images/FMOLHSBlankBanner.png

Health Information

Keratosis pilaris
Bookmarks

Keratosis pilaris

Print-Friendly  

Keratosis pilaris is a common skin condition in which a protein in the skin called keratin forms hard plugs within hair follicles.

Keratosis pilaris is harmless (benign). It seems to run in families.  It is more common in people who have very dry skin, or who have atopic dermatitis (eczema).

The condition is generally worse in winter and often clears in the summer.

I Would Like to Learn About:

  • Causes

    Keratosis pilaris is harmless (benign). It seems to run in families.  It is more common in people who have very dry skin, or who have atopic dermatitis (eczema).

    The condition is generally worse in winter and often clears in the summer.

  • Symptoms

    Symptoms include:

    • Small bumps that look like "goose bumps" on the back of the upper arms and thighs
    • Bumps feel like very rough sandpaper
    • Skin-colored bumps are the size of a grain of sand
    • Slight pinkness may be seen around some bumps
    • Bumps may appear on the face and be mistaken for acne
  • Exams and Tests

    Your doctor or nurse can usually diagnose this condition by looking at your skin. Tests are usually not needed.

  • Treatment

    Treatment may include:

    • Moisturizing lotions to soothe the skin and help it look better
    • Skin creams that contain urea, lactic acid, glycolic acid, salicylic acid, tretinoin, or vitamin D
    • Steroid creams to reduce redness

    Improvement often takes months and the bumps are likely to come back.

  • Outlook (Prognosis)

    Keratosis pilaris may fade slowly with age.

  • When to Contact a Medical Professional

    Call your doctor or nurse if the bumps are bothersome and do not get better with lotions you buy without a prescription.

Related Information

  BenignAtopic dermatitis...Papule    

BACK TO TOP 

Review Date: 10/29/2013  

Reviewed By: Richard J. Moskowitz, MD, Dermatologist in Private Practice, Mineola, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

adam.com

 
A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Fire Fox and Google Chrome browser.