Does Keratosis Pilaris Itch? (Hint: Yes it Does)




If you find yourself suffering from itchy bumps that resemble goose pimples on your skin, there’s a chance you may have a condition known as keratosis pilaris.  The name may sound rather scary, but keratosis pilaris is more common than you might think. The condition is relatively benign, but it can be annoying and cause severe itching.

Symptoms of keratosis pilaris include a rash or an irregular pattern of rashes consisting of tiny bumps. The bumps can be red or tan and form around hair follicles on the arms, thighs, buttocks, and cheeks. Because the bumps get inflamed, itching becomes a frequent symptom. Although there is no cure, treatment is possible.

The condition gets its name from keratin, a fibrous protein that makes up nails, hair, and the outer layer of skin. It forms a protective barrier from infections and environmental toxins. The abnormal buildup of keratin forms a plug that blocks the opening of a hair follicle.

A person with dry skin is more likely to have keratosis pilaris. The condition also tends to run in families, as it has a genetic component. People who suffer from other skin sensitivities like eczema (also called atopic dermatitis) may be more likely to get keratosis pilaris.

Children and adolescents are more likely to contract keratosis pilaris, although many adults are affected. Females are also more prone to have the condition than males.

Once diagnosed, one proven treatment for the itching is a steroid cream applied to the affected area daily for a week to 10 days. Less common options include carbon dioxide laser.

Because keratosis pilaris is generally a chronic condition requiring long-term treatment, most therapies require repeated or long-term use for optimum results. Besides steroids, non-prescription treatments include products that exfoliate, as well as those that contain intensive moisturizers and calming agents like green tea.

A dermatologist can determine whether you have keratosis pilaris by simply examining the affected skin.

Vujevich Dermatology Associates offers medical, surgical, and cosmetic dermatology from some of the most highly trained physicians and clinicians in the greater Pittsburgh area.  You can reach our team at 412-429-2570 or visit our contact page to see our locations in Mt. Lebanon and Washington. You can also follow us on Facebook where we’ll share more seasonal tips throughout the year.


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