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.

View the Adult Skin Problems Slideshow Pictures
Keratosis pilaris looks like goose bumps on the skin.

Keratosis Pilaris Signs

Bumps on the Skin

People often describe localized swollen areas on, or under, the skin as lumps or bumps. While bumps on, or under, the skin may result from conditions that give rise to a skin rash, many other conditions can result in solitary raised lumps on the skin.

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 dry skin conditions and atopic dermatitis.
  • Keratosis pilaris is not curable, but it spontaneously improves over time.
  • Keratosis pilaris tends to be inherited.
  • Keratosis pilaris may spontaneously clear without treatment.
  • Keratosis pilaris generally requires ongoing maintenance therapy.
  • Treat keratosis pilaris with daily lubrication.

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 appears 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. 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 7/28/2016

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