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Keratosis Pilaris in Austin, TX

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What is Keratosis Pilaris?

Keratosis pilaris is a harmless rash of the skin that manifests as tiny discolored bumps around the hair follicles on the cheeks, upper arms, thighs and/or buttocks. Typically, these bumps resemble small pimples and can create a rough feel to the affected area. Some say this skin condition also resembles the look of goose bumps. Although there is no direct cure for keratosis pilaris, there is treatment available to reduce its appearance. Usually those with dry skin, those who live in a dry climate or swim often, commonly suffer from this skin condition. People of all ages can suffer from keratosis pilaris, but it is common in children and young adults. Keratosis pilaris is also common with those who also suffer from eczema. At Snyder Dermatology in Austin, TX, our board-certified dermatologists can assist with diagnosing this condition and helping to minimize the symptoms and its appearance.

What Causes Keratosis Pilaris

The cause of keratosis pilaris is due to the build up of fibrous proteins, called keratin, which protects the skin from infection. Keratin is produced near the hair shaft, just under the skin. The bumps formulated on the skin are irritated hair follicles. This irritation of the swollen hair glands results in a production of small numerous bumps on the surface of the skin.  Keratosis pilaris is not contagious and is thought to be an inherited skin condition. It is commonly seen among those who also suffer from eczema, dry skin, hay fever or asthma.

How to Treat Keratosis Pilaris

Occasionally, our physicians can prescribe a 7- to 10-day course of a medium potency, emollient-based topical steroid cream to be applied once or twice a day for the red bumps in the area. Once the inflammation has ceased, rough bumps may be treated with a routine of a preparation of either 2-3% salicylic acid or 20-40% urea cream.  Intermittent dosing of topical retinoids (eg, weekly or biweekly) seems to be quite effective and well tolerated, but usually the response is only partial. After initial clearing with stronger medications, patients may then be placed on a milder maintenance program.  There are several practical home remedies that can assist in improving keratosis pilaris. Such practices include daily moisturizing of the affected area or gentle exfoliation.

Additional Info

Although there’s no cure for keratosis pilaris, doctors can perform a screening by looking at the skin in order to determine whether a patient has this specific condition so that the proper treatment can be recommended. There are a variety of over-the-counter creams available for treatment, as well as medicated lotions that can provide a stronger result. For patients with severe cases of keratosis pilaris, our dermatologists can prescribe stronger medications to help improve the symptoms. Creams and lotions recommended may include the following ingredients: urea, salicylic acid, glycolic acid, and lactic acid. Our dermatology office also offers laser and light treatments that can help reduce areas due to the coiled hairs that are trapped in the skin where the condition is more severe and visible. These in-office treatments can help improve the skin and create a softer, healthier skin appearance.

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Even though keratosis pilaris is not painful, the appearance of it on the skin can be embarrassing. Don’t allow this condition to control your self-confidence, there are many treatments available to help improve and lessen its appearance. Our exceptionally skilled staff can help diagnosis keratosis pilaris and lead you on the road to smoother skin.

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*Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary from person to person. Images may contain models.