Keratosis pilaris results in small bumps on the skin that feel like rough sandpaper. They are skin-colored bumps the size of a grain of sand, many of which are surrounded by a slight pink color in light skinned people and dark spots in dark skinned people. Most people with keratosis pillars do not have symptoms but the bumps in the skin can occasionally be itchy.
Though people with keratosis pilaris experience the condition year-round, the problem can become exacerbated and the bumps are likely to look and feel more pronounced in color and texture during the colder months, when moisture levels in the air are lower. The symptoms may also worsen during pregnancy after childbirth.
Keratosis pilaris occurs when the human body produces excess amounts of the skin protein keratin, resulting in the formation of small, raised bumps in the skin often with surrounding redness. The excess keratin, which is the color of the person’s natural skin tone, surrounds and entraps the hair follicles in the pore. This causes the formation of hard plugs (process known as hyperkeratinization). Many KP bumps contain an ingrown hair that has coiled. This is a result of the keratinized skin’s “capping off” the hair follicle, preventing the hair from exiting. The hair grows encapsulated inside the follicle.
Lactic acid, glycolic acid, salicylic acid, tretinoin, vitamin D, or topical retinoids and steroid creams can also be used as a treatment for KP. Improvement of the skin often takes months and the bumps are likely to return. Taking long, hot baths followed by exfoliating the affected areas with a coarse washcloth or stiff brush may help unplug pores and therefore can also be used as a treatment method.
A series of 4-6 glycolic peels spaced one week apart is what I would recommend as treatment. Proper home care before, after and during treatments is essential. Recommended home care regimen includes: Green Tea Cleanser, Glycolic Cleanser, 2% Retinol Scrub, Glycolic/Retinol Toner, Acai Berry Moisturizer, and SPF containing Zinc Oxide. Avoiding any direct sunlight is essential during treatment series.
Mild flaking 3-4 days after each treatment can be expected.