Keratosis Pilaris (KP)

  • Medical Author:
    Gary W. Cole, MD, FAAD

    Dr. Cole is board certified in dermatology. He obtained his BA degree in bacteriology, his MA degree in microbiology, and his MD at the University of California, Los Angeles. He trained in dermatology at the University of Oregon, where he completed his residency.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

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Keratosis pilaris (KP) facts

  • Keratosis pilaris is a very common, benign skin disorder that affects adolescents and adults.
  • Keratosis pilaris causes numerous small, rough, tan or red little bumps around hair follicles on the upper arms, thighs, buttocks, and cheeks.
  • Keratosis pilaris creates the appearance of gooseflesh, goose bumps, or chicken skin.
  • Keratosis pilaris is seen in patients with other dry skin conditions and atopic dermatitis.
  • Keratosis pilaris is not curable, but it may become less noticeable with time.
  • Keratosis pilaris tends to be inherited through families (genetic association).
  • Keratosis pilaris may spontaneously clear without treatment.
  • Keratosis pilaris generally requires ongoing maintenance therapy.
  • Treat keratosis pilaris with daily lubrication, gentle exfoliation, and glycolic or lactic acids.
  • Consider helpful options for keratosis pilaris like chemical peels, microdermabrasion, and facials.

What is keratosis pilaris?

Keratosis pilaris is a very common skin disorder affecting many people of all ages. Keratosis pilaris is a benign condition that presents as numerous small, rough, red, or tan bumps primarily around hair follicles on the upper arms, legs, buttocks, and sometimes cheeks. Keratosis pilaris creates a "goose bumps," "gooseflesh," or "chicken skin" appearance on the skin. A majority of people with keratosis pilaris may be unaware that the skin condition has a designated medical term or that it is treatable. Keratosis pilaris may be cosmetically displeasing but it is medically completely harmless. Keratosis pilaris is common in otherwise healthy people.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/23/2015

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