Keratosis Pilaris - Cause

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What was the cause of your keratosis pilaris?

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What causes keratosis pilaris?

The exact cause of keratosis pilaris is unknown. There seems to be a problem with overproduction of the keratin part of the skin called hyperkeratinization. Keratosis pilaris is thought to be partly inherited (genetic) in origin. About 50%-70% of patients with keratosis pilaris have a known genetic predisposition and a high rate of affected family members. Many individuals have a strong family history of keratosis pilaris or "chicken skin." Keratosis pilaris can be present with ichthyosis vulgaris, dry skin seasonal inhalant allergies, rhinitis, asthma, eczema, and atopic dermatitis.

The bumps in keratosis pilaris seem to arise from the excessive accumulation of keratin (very small, dry skin particles) at the opening of individual hair follicles. The skin as examined under the microscope demonstrates mild thickening, hyperkeratosis, and plugging of the hair follicle. The upper skin layers may have some dilation of the small superficial blood vessels, thereby giving the skin a red or flushed appearance.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: Hildismommy, Female (Patient) Published: April 27

I had KP when I was in elementary school. My Grandmother took me to our GP and she didn't know what it was called my father had it as well when he was younger. I took my daughter to her pediatrician for a checkup and we had noticed the bumps on her face, arms, and legs. The doctor said let's check on my daughters Keratosis I was floored this is the first time I ever found out what it was that we all had. Plus side she said that we will never have a problem with acne due to the fact that our face does not produce oil like people without KP.

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Comment from: Gretchen, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: August 17

I, too, have discovered the cause of my keratosis pilaris: bovine casein, the main protein in cow's milk. There is no doubt it's bovine casein. As long as I stay away from bovine casein, I don't get the rash. When I eat hard cheeses made from bovine milk, in about 3 days, the rash appears. Happens the same way every time I eat cheese made from cow's milk. I don't drink milk now as an adult, but I sure drank a lot of it when I was a child, and I had very obvious KP lesions on my jawline, back of the upper arms, and on the forearms, buttocks, and thighs. Goat's milk, and cheese from goat's milk, or sheep milk cheese doesn't cause this to happen. So, I really encourage anyone with KP to eliminate all cow milk products from their diet for a month, and see if the PK disappears. Then re-introduce bovine milk products again, and see if the lesions reappear.

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