Keratosis Pilaris - Treatment

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What was the treatment for your keratosis pilaris?

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What is the treatment for keratosis pilaris?

Many treatment options and skin-care recipes are available for controlling the symptoms of keratosis pilaris. Many patients have very good temporary improvement following a regular skin-care program of lubrication. As a general rule of thumb, treatment needs to be continuous. Since there is no available cure or universally effective treatment for keratosis pilaris, the list of potential lotions and creams is long. It is important to keep in mind that as with any condition, no therapy is uniformly effective in all people. Complete clearing may not be possible. In some cases, keratosis pilaris may also improve or clear spontaneously without any treatment.

General measures to prevent excessive skin dryness, such as using mild soapless cleansers, are recommended. Frequent skin lubrication is the mainstay of treatment for nearly all cases.

Mild cases of keratosis pilaris may be improved with basic over-the-counter moisturizers such as Cetaphil or Lubriderm lotions. Additional available therapeutic options for more difficult cases of keratosis pilaris include lactic-acid lotions (AmLactin, Lac-Hydrin), alpha-hydroxy-acid lotions (Glytone, glycolic body lotions), urea cream (Carmol 10, Carmol 20, Carmol 40, Urix 40), salicylic acid (Salex lotion), and topical steroid creams (triamcinolone 0.1%).

The affected area should be washed once or twice a day with a gentle wash like Cetaphil or Dove. Lotions should be gently massaged into the affected area two to three times a day. Irritated or abraded skin should be treated only with bland moisturizers until the inflammation resolves.

Occasionally, physicians may prescribe a short seven- to 10-day course of a medium-potency, emollient-based topical steroid cream once or twice a day for inflamed red areas.

Many treatments have been used in keratosis pilaris without consistent results. As there is no miraculous cure or universally effective treatment for keratosis pilaris, it is important to proceed with mild caution and lower expectations.

Because keratosis pilaris is generally a chronic condition requiring long-term maintenance, most therapies would require repeated or long-term use for optimum results.

Mild cleansers and lotions for sensitive skin: Wash daily, and apply lotion twice a day.

  • Cetaphil
  • Dove
  • Lubriderm
  • Purpose

Potent moisturizers for home treatment: Use once or twice a day.

  • Lactic-acid lotions (AmLactin, Lac-Hydrin)
  • Alpha-hydroxy-acid lotions (Glytone, Citrix glycolic body lotion 15%)
  • Urea creams (Carmol 10, Carmol 20, Carmol 40, Urix 40)
  • Salicylic-acid lotions (Salex 6%)
  • Compounded 3% salicylic acid in 20% urea cream
Return to Keratosis Pilaris

See what others are saying

Comment from: Vinny, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: September 09

I have some patches of red dots on my back, they may itch now and then, but my major problem is my face and scalp. My cause in flare up on my scalp is recently I was in the hot sun over the weekend. My scalp got sunburned and was tender. Next came the flare up and itching. Previously a dermatologist had identified my scalp with keratosis pilaris (KP), so I knew what is happening now. The itching is almost unbearable. I use mild shampoo and hair cream, but my best defense is scratching! Right or wrong it would be impossible not to scratch. It also keeps the dead skin from piling up. Along with it these breakouts are painful to touch, red, raised bumps. I find that holding an alcohol patch on top of them brings them down, repeating as necessary! It works! The best thing I can share is that, the sun is your worst enemy! The radiation dries the skin and causes you to over produce keratin. It is my belief that after your body has absorbed too much radiation, you are susceptible to sun poisoning and also flare ups of KP. For me a hat is a must and I will have this KP flare up for about 3 months before it settles down. I'm sure some of what I do is wrong but I keep trying my best. Remember, use sun block and a hat. Don't sunbathe. It's not like years ago, it's now dangerous!

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Comment from: Lana, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: October 30

About 5 years ago I read a tip online that Head and Shoulders shampoo works for keratosis pilaris and it totally does! First time I left it on my arms for a few minutes then rinsed it off and had an 80 percent improvement! Skin that had been red and bumpy with the hair trapped underneath lost the redness and most of the bump, and the hair was free! Now I just do a quick shampoo in the shower every 2 to 3 months; cheap and easy. One warning; I did it first time in the summer and got a sunburn right after either as a reaction to the chemicals or because it's the first time that skin saw the light of day, so use sunscreen!

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