What is Keratosis Pilaris?
According to skin care expert, René Serbon, Keratosis Pilaris (commonly referred to as KP) is a keratolytic skin disorder.
Most often seen on the outer upper arms, but can occur on the thighs and cheeks, and less frequently on the forearms and upper back. The condition presents as numerous rough follicular spots that can be skin colored, red, or brown.
The bumps generally don’t hurt or itch. The transition of vellus hair to terminal hair may be an aggravating factor to why this condition often develops in teenage year indicative of a hormonal trigger such as androgen.
Vellus hair, twisted into a spiky keratolytic plug, emerge from the dilated opening of the pilosebaceous duct, can become discolored with pigment or inflammation or both.
In layman's terms - KP is that red, bumpy skin that is annoying at best and is often referred to as, "chicken skin."
At What Age Does KP Appear?
KP is also most evident during teenage years, however; it can be present in babies and persist into adulthood usually disappearing by age 30. It can be particularly prevalent in those who are overweight.
My youngest son has had KP on his arms since birth. Anyone who has ever touched his arms, always remarks on the bumps.
Is KP Genetic?
When I was in my teens and first realized that my skin was not like my friends, I began to notice my mom's skin was exactly the same. And some of her siblings also had this bumpy skin.
Now a mom myself, I have come to understand that KP is familial. My son's have it, as well as atopic dermatitis and eczema.
Serbon explained to me, "There is a genetic predisposition. In individuals with a history of eczema, atopic dermatitis or ichthyosis a genetic filaggrin gene deficiency might be present."
She also told me, "People with a very fair skin and red hair, e.g. Celtic background are also prone." And this makes sense. While we don't have red hair, both their father and myself are Irish (my mom's side of the family is Irish as well.)
Can You Get Keratosis Pilaris on Your Face?
While the bumps are commonly on your upper arms, thighs, and buttocks, it can also present on your face, although it is not as common.
What Are the Symptoms of KP?
As described above, the symptoms largely surround the presentation of numerous small rough bumps on the skin, is typically dry, and can occur in patches. The biggest complaint of those who have KP is the appearance of their skin.
Although, the majority of the medical literature describe sufferers of KP as symptom-free, others support that itching can occur and, less commonly, redness and swelling can be a potential problem. Especially if you are not proactively exfoliating and moisturizing your skin regularly.
Note, that there are times of the year or certain climates that can cause KP to worsen (ie: in weather that promotes dryness it can worsen, in weather that promotes moisture it tends to subdue). KP is not associated with pain or progression of symptoms (ref: Keratosis pilaris, 2).
Should one suspect that they have KP, but see an uncomfortable worsening or progression of symptoms, be sure to consult your physician to determine if there is a need to see a dermatologist or if the doctor feels that any of the associated skin conditions that may co-occur with KP are present.
“Keratosis pilaris is often described in association with other dry skin conditions such as ichthyosis vulgaris, xerosis, and, less commonly, with atopic dermatitis, including conditions of asthma and allergies” (ref: Alai, 1).
Are There Times of the Year When KP is More Prominent?
In the winter months or times of low humidity there is fast trans epidermal water loss (TEWL), Keratosis pilaris tends to be more severe.
Does KP Ever Go Away?
Dr. Hannah Sivak, PhD Founder of Skin Actives Scientifis, says yes. "As we age, the skin gets thinner and KP goes away." Serbon agrees, stating that it persists into adulthood and usually disappears by age 30.
At 45, my KP has yet to disappear, although it is not nearly as bad as it was in my teens and twenties.
But what can those of us do until it actually resolves itself decades from when it started?
Keratosis Pilaris Treatment
First and foremost, Serbon recommends reducing sun exposure to reduce keratinization.
Enzyme treatments, lotions that contain lactic acid or ammonium lactate and daily use of vitamin A in creams or lotions help to reduce KP, according to Serbon.
For those who have KP on their face, Dr. Sivak recommends products with ingredients such as alpha hydroxy acids, salicylic acid (also called "beta hydroxy"), and vitamin A.
There are surgical treatments that can be done to treat KP, although it's not something I will address in this article.
At home therapies are not a cure, however they can help to reduce KP flare ups and will help to minimize the appearance of it. These are otherwise known as home remedies or over the counter treatments.
Physical and Chemical Exfoliation
To smoothe out skin and help to "unplug" the keratin build up in the hair follicle, you need to exfoliate a few times per week.
For Face: Skin Actives Alpha-Beta Exfoliant Solution: Chemical is not a bad word here, as alpha and beta hydroxy acids exfoliate skin. This is a great way to to keep follicles (and pores) on your face, exfoliated of build up. I don't have KP on my face personally, but I use this exfoliant to keep blackheads on my nose and chin at bay.
For Body: A Girl's Gotta Spa! Energizing Citrus Salt Scrub: Manually exfoliate and smoothe your arms and legs by massaging affected areas with Dead Sea Salt. You also get the added bonus of hydration from sunflower and safflower seed oils.
Creams to Exfoliate
Creams containing alpha hydroxy acid, lactic acid, salicylic acid or urea help loosen and remove dead skin cells.
For Face: Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 8% AHA Lotion Exfoliant: With 8% glycolic acid mixed with plant-soothing botanicals, skin is exfoliated without scrubbing and nourished at the same time.
For Body: AmLactin Lotion: This lotion has lactic acid in it, so it both exfoliates and hydrates skin.
Lotions to Keep Skin Hydrated
After removing the build-up of dead skin cells from the hair follicles, it's important to keep skin moisturized at all times, as it is the lack of moisture that creates the dry skin that lends to the cycle of build up.
It's especially important to be dilligent with this two-step process if you live in a dry climate and during seasonal dryness (like Fall and Winter.)
For Face: heritage & terre Prickly Pear Seed Oil: While not a lotion, this serum nourishes like a dream. 2-3 drops of this cold-pressed Moroccan cactus oil is all it takes to keep skin hydrated because it is very high in linoleic acid.
For Body: A Girl's Gotta Spa! Energizing Citrus Body Lotion: Olive oil, shea butter and cocoa butter create a trifecta of hydration (and pairs perfectly with the body scrub.) Olive oil is an emollient and has fatty acids (oleic, palmitic, and linoleic) that work wonderfully on the skin. Shea and Cocoa Butter are both humectants and emollients. Your skin will never be left feeling dry.
Sylveco Birch Moisturizing Body Balm - This lotion contains grapeseed oil (an emollient), aloe, Vitamin E and betulin from the bark of birch trees. It's both soothing and hydrating.
Sidenote: I used this lotion from Sylveco on my teen son, who has atopic dermatitis on his elbows, with amazing results - stay tuned for that review!
kosmatology Goody-Goody Grapefruit Lotion Bar: If you've been reading this blog since its inception in 2005, it all began with a lotion bar. This one from kosmatology comes in a handy twist-up tube with ingredients like shea butter, coconut oil, and olive oil in Candelilla wax.
All of the above won't prevent or make this skin condition go away. It will only improve the appearance and help you to manage it better.
If moisturizing and other self-care measures don't help, your doctor may prescribe medicated creams.
Things to Avoid if You Have KP
- Hot water, whether via a long bath or shower. Warm water is best.
- Exfoliants that are rough on the skin, like body scrubs that contain walnut shells or apricot kernels.
- Completely drying skin when getting out of the shower. Leaving skin slightly damp and then applying your lotion works best.
- Tight clothes - the friction can make things worse.
- Prolonged sun exposure - and always wear broad spectrum sunscreen regardless.
This article is in no way meant to diagnose and treat a skin condition. Speak to your dr., who will know your whole health history.
- Alai A., MD, FAAD. “Keratosis Pilaris Treatment and Management.” emedicine.
- “Keratosis pilaris.” WebMD.
- René Serbon, Skin Expert.
- Dr. Hannah Sivak, PhD Founder of Skin Actives Scientifis.
Co-written with Courtney Smith, BSN.
Disclosure: This post is Sponsored by Trophy Skin. Oily skin is my own with a lifetime of experience to provide the advice.I've had oily skin my whole life. When I was in my teens and 20's I thought the best I could do was to always have blotting papers handy or to keep reapplying mattifying power. Sometimes keeping your skin routine simple is the best way to start improving your skin. Follow these tips, and you're on your way to diminishing the oil, keeping your pores clear and cutting down on the break-outs.
1. Take Your Makeup Off Each NightThis is a no-brainer, but also the lazy girl in me doesn't always abide by this very obvious skin care rule. Sometimes we're out late with friends and just want to crash in bed once home regardless of the full face of makeup and other times the wing on your cat eye is so on point that you want to try to keep it intact for a refresh the next day. (Trust me, I've been there.) Layers of makeup being rubbed into your skin while tossing and turning is just putting yourself in the fast lane to a breakout. Take the time to remove the makeup, it'll pay off.
2. Wash Your Face DailyWashing your face, even if you weren't wearing makeup, is important for clearing away all of the environmental elements that can wreak havoc on our skin. Use a cell phone? You're rubbing dirt on the side of your face. Touch your face during the day? You're putting bacteria on your skin. Only washed your sheets last week? You're rolling around in dead skin. (Gross.) You get the point. A foaming face wash is best for oily skin as it'll cleanse away the excess sebum without stripping your face of the oils it needs to stay hydrated.
3. Exfoliate Twice Per WeekOily skin is more than just a greasy face. It means clogged pores, being prone to breakouts and blackheads in what seems like an endless cycle. While cleansing your face is key to preventing breakouts, exfoliation is the best friend you never knew you needed. Unclogging your pores helps prevent larger pores in the future (and no, you cannot turn back time on your pores - once they're large, there is no magic method to shrink them.) If you're looking for a simple but effective way to do this, check out my review of Trophy Skin's LaBelle Ultrasonic Skin Spatula (and the promo code for 15% off.)
4. Wear a Gel-Based MoisturizerCreams tend to be too heavy for oily skin and gels seem to provide the perfect amount of moisture. I love the light texture of a gel moisturizer and how quickly it absorbs into skin. Gels also give skin a bit of a mattifying effect instead of contributing to that highly coveted oil slick look. (Complete, and utter sarcasm.)
5. Wash Your Pillowcase Twice Per WeekSure, we all know we should be washing our sheets at least once per week, but that pillowcase becomes a petri dish pretty quickly if not washed more frequently. Oils, not only from your face but your hair, blend in with shedding skin, bacteria and makeup (if you forgo tip #1) to create an environment ripe for pore clogging. While most skin experts say it's best to sleep on your back and avoid your face touching the pillow altogether, let's be real - those of us who sleep on our sides and bellies cannot change our ways (nor do we really want to.) Prevention is key and unfortunately having oily skin means we have to put in a little more effort to keep our skin clear and blemish free - something our future selves will be grateful for. Subscribe to A Girl’s Gotta Spa! beauty blog. Watch our reviews on YouTube, see our pins on Pinterest and check us out on Instagram.
If you have landed on this article, chances are you are 40+, like myself. This is when we begin to notice crepe skin and worry what can be done about it. As a sun worshipper in my youth, now in my late-forties, I am paying with dark spots and crepey skin.
What is Crepey Skin?Crepe skin is the thin, loose, wrinkled skin that we tend to find on our hands, arms, legs, face and neck as we age. Different from the deepset kind of wrinkles we find on our face, the wrinkles found in crepe skin tend to cover larger parts of our body and give the appearance of thin, fragile skin.
What Causes Crepey Skin?
Just as dark spots begin to emerge in our 40's due to sun damage, crepe skin is more prominent in our 40's and beyond due to sun damage as well. It's why you mainly see this skin thinning on the areas of our bodies that have had the most sun exposure. Skin that was unprotected from UVA rays - the "aging" part of sun exposure - will see more of a break down of collagen and elastin.
Collagen is what makes your skin look full and youthful, and elastin is what makes your skin look firm and lifted. Over time as you lose that collagen and the elastin breaks down, your skin begins to look sullen and sag. While sun damage is most often the cause, there are other reasons as well, such as rapid weight loss, long term use of tanning beds, and medications.
Can You Reverse Crepe Skin?
As with most issues with the skin, short of plastic surgery and in-office cosmetic treatments, there are temporary things we can do to reduce the appearance of crepe skin. We cannot permanently turn back time, although today is as good a day as any to make sure you are always protecting skin exposed to the sun with sunscreen to prevent other areas of your skin from becoming crepey.
Hydration plays a major role in re-plumping the wrinkles of crepe skin and it is one way to see an immediate difference in the appearance of your skin. This is a no-brainer when it comes to our face, but we often forget the rest of our body until we begin to itch, scratch and see flaky skin.
A good example of this was when my mom, who is in her 70's, was at my house one day and complaining about the look of her skin on her arms. Crepey skin covered the top part of her bicep and forearm. I handed her A Girl's Gotta Spa! Energizing Citrus Body Lotion, which is incredibly hydrating with whipped cocoa and shea butter, and olive oil. Her face immediately lit up as she applied it and it seemed to erase the look of her crepey skin. (We also have an unscented body lotion and lavender body lotion.)
It's not magic or a cure, but because our body lotion is deeply hydrating, it helped to plump her wrinkled skin, giving it a smoother look. Hydration will not reverse sagging skin, but it can help to make it look a bit more firm.
In the drier months, depending on where you live (desert year-round, living in the higher elevations, or fall/winter for other regions), you need to take extra care, as skin will be naturally more depleted of moisture than usual exascerbating the look of crepey skin.
Additionally, as we age and enter that "mature skin" category, our skin naturally loses oils due to hormones, leaving it drier than our youth. I highly recommend applying body lotion twice per day (during your morning and evening beauty routine to make it easier) for it to be most effective.
In summary, sunscreen and lotion are our biggest assets to treating crepe skin, as well as preventing it in the future.
Cold weather is known to be harsh to our skin. If there is any truth to the combination of things to make the "perfect storm," the colder months seem to know how to brew that recipe perfectly.
Freezing temps, gusty winds, and dry air can do damage to our skin in an instant. All that hard work that you've done throughout the warmer months can easily go right out the window once colder weather hits.
The good news? There are things you can be proactive with in order to help prevent dry, chapped skin.
How to Prevent Dry, Chapped Skin
Any type of lotion with the word "butter" in its name has to be good, right? Shea butter has some amazing benefits, such as restoring skin's elasticity and being a fnatastic emollient. Not only does it help to moisturize already dry skin, but it can also be used to help create a nice barrier for your already chapped skin (in case you are reading this after the fact!)
Many people tend to use shea butter at night and lather up the areas of their body that need a bit of extra care. This is mainly because shea butter alone tends to be greasy. But any A Girl's Gotta Spa! reader knows, our body lotion with shea butter (and cocoa butter) is non-greasy and can be used day or night without worry.
Cocoa butter is known as a healthy fat since the main component of it is coconut oil. Since it's high in fat, it can help to create a barrier for your skin, much like shea butter, that can keep it feeling baby smooth all winter long.
One cocoa butter tip? If the heels of your feet are dry and cracking, exfoliate them first (we make a great body scrub) and then apply lotion. Sloughing off the dead skin preps the affected area to better absorb the nourishing ingredients from the lotion.
After just a few times of doing this, your heels will be totally transformed! While there may be many cocoa butter lotions available to help bring back the moisture and glow to your skin, don't forget that there are things that you can also do in your everyday life that can also help to prevent your skin from becoming dry and chapped as well.
What Can You Do In Your Daily Life To Help Keep Your Skin Moisturized?Believe it or not, there are some things within your control to keeping your skin happy and healthy! Take a step back and implement some of these suggestions on how you can treat your skin and your body better during the harsh, colder months.
- Turn down the temperature when taking a shower.
- Try to limit lotions and body washes that have a million "fillers."
When reading the label on your lotion, do you need a PhD and magnifying glass to read the extensive list of ingredients? Keep it simple and look for a lotion and body wash with ingredients you understand. Always look at those first two lines of ingredients - that's what your product contains the most of.
I hope these tips will help you with your dry skin woes this season!
Best Oils for Anti-Aging:Argan Oil is full of antioxidants which is great for repairing damaged skin. It also helps improve elasticity which helps to erase the appearance of wrinkles. The fatty acids in argan oil can help restore your skin and keep you looking flawless. Try: DermOrganic Pure Argan Oil Marula Oil is a soothing oil. It’s a great moisturizer and it helps the skin create collagen which helps to remove wrinkles. Marula oil battles signs of aging by curing and preventing damage to your skin. It keeps your skin tone even and leaves you with healthy, glowing skin. Try: Travertine Spa Marula Night Serum Rosehip Seed Oil is known for its concentration of vitamins A and E. In fact, it has a higher concentration of vitamin A than any other botanical oil of its kind. It smooths your skin and helps to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and blemishes. It is absorbed quickly, so it is perfect for anyone with naturally oily skin. Rosehip Seed Oil leaves your skin feeling light and flawless. Try: Rosehip Seed Oil by Kate Blanc Apricot Kernel Oil rejuvenates your skin and aids in the healing process as it repairs wrinkles, sun damage, and blemishes. It is also known to improve skin elasticity because it helps with skin cell regeneration and collagen production. This anti-aging oil is great for people with all skin types because it is not very greasy. If you have dry skin, then this is a good option because of its hydrating nature. Try: Plant Therapy Apricot Kernel Oil All of these oils are carrier oils. A carrier oil is used to carry other oils to your skin. You can use them alone or mix them with other essential oils, such as grapefruit essential oil, to create a product that is just right for you. They can be used to create creams, lotions, or serums. I prefer to use a serum because it uses a higher concentration of quality ingredients which means that delivers nutrients deeper into your skin. A little serum goes a long way so your ingredients will last longer. For younger looking skin you should apply face oils each evening. It’s best to cleanse your face first. Then, dab a few drops on your fingertips and apply to your face. Once the oil is rubbed in you are good to go. There is no need to wash the oils off. You may not notice a difference overnight, but over time you will see the benefit of using face oils every day. And if you have oily or combination skin, you can still use a face oil. It's a myth that you cannot or that it will make your face greasier. It may just help to balance your skin and you will find that your skin produces less/just the right amount of sebum. Have you ever used face oils? Which combination works best for you to keep your skin looking youthful? Subscribe to A Girl’s Gotta Spa! beauty blog. Watch our reviews on YouTube, see our pins on Pinterest and check us out on Instagram. Got a Kindle? We’re on Kindle too! Or check out our natural bath and body line!
Five simple tips to help you take anti-aging matters into your own hands:Wear broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30+, 365 days per year. (Yes, even in the winter!) Think of it this way: UVB=burning rays and UVA=aging rays. Make sunscreen a priority in your beauty arsenal not only as a preventative measure against skin cancer, but to prevent age spots and wrinkles. Two places people often forget but show signs of aging the fastest? Your hands and your neck. Favorite: MDSolarSciences Wear sunglasses with UV protectant lenses. If crow’s feet are the bain of your existence, think about all of the squinting you’ve been doing. Whether you are enjoying the outdoors with your children or simply driving to the store, the delicate skin around your eyes takes a beating each time you squint thus deepening the creases and making those fine lines more apparent. Favorite: PolarSpex Schedule a monthly facial. There is nothing like escaping to the spa for a little down time to relax and be pampered, but the most important part of this is seeing a professional esthetician who can address the needs of your skin and give it a deep cleaning on a monthly basis. Your skin will have a more youthful glow, I promise you. Favorite: The Lodge at Woodloch Brightening Facial Use products suitable for your skin type. Think there are only three categories for skincare: normal, oily and combination? Wrong. And chances are, what your friend tells you works great for her, isn’t always best to meet your skin’s unique needs. By using the right products for your skin type, you’ll have a more effective skin care routine that will have people asking you for ID. Favorite: Renée Rouleau Skin Care Get your beauty sleep. 7-8 hours of sleep per night will not only help your overall health, it will also keep your skin radiant (e.g. you won’t look so tired!) Bonus tip: Sleep with your head elevated on two pillows in order to prevent dark circles and under eye puffiness. This helps fluids to properly drain from around the eye area. Another great way to ensure a good night’s sleep? Blocking out all light with a sleep mask. Favorite: Alaska Bear Sleep Mask It’s never too late to put these tips into practice or to share them with your best girlfriends…unless you want to keep the secret to your new younger appearance classified of course! Subscribe to A Girl’s Gotta Spa! beauty blog. Watch our reviews on YouTube, see our pins on Pinterest and check us out on Instagram. Got a Kindle? We’re on Kindle too! Or check out our natural bath and body line!
Hydrate Skin with Cold Pressed Oils: At the new Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach, Spa & Recreation Manager Allie Arguelles recommends massaging Aromatherapy Associates Hydrating Nourishing Face Oil or cold-pressed apricot or coconut oil in small circles from forehead to chin.
Humidify Your Way to Brighter Skin: At Windsor Court Spa, Spa Director Sharla Martin recommends investing in a good humidifier to keep skin hydrated especially during bitter-cold winter days. To get rid of unwanted dry, flaky skin, she recommends exfoliating with a sugar and oil-based exfoliant.
Coffee Scrub for a Bright Complexion: At Well & Being at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princes, Whitney Mullins, a dual massage therapist and esthetician, recommends guests sip on a cup of coffee to keep skin merry and bright. Coffee has many natural skin benefits, including reducing inflammation, reducing cellulite, gently exfoliating while brightening the skin and reducing puffiness, as well as packing the skin with antioxidants.
Use Oxygen to Revive Tired Winter Skin: At The Spa at Red Rock by Well & Being, intentional living specialist Emily Heim recommends travelers revive dull winter skin with Dr. Lancer’s 3-Step “Method,” which includes, The Method: Polish, The Method: Cleanse and The Method: Nourish.
Get a Glow with an Overnight Mask: At Guerlain Spa at The Plaza Hotel, lead esthetician Alina Cimpoeru recommends sleeping with the Guerlain Orchidée Impériale Mask, which leaves skin hydrated, plump and bright.
Use IntraCeuticals to Heal Winter-Ravaged Skin: At Well & Being at The Four Seasons Resort & Club Dallas at Las Colinas, lead esthetician Melissa Miller advises guests to purchase IntraCeuticals Oxygen Therapy products formulated for home use to maintain stunning skin throughout the snowy season.
Call on Mother Nature: At Jewel Grande Montego Bay Resort & Spa’s Group Spa and Wellness Director Sienna Creasy recommends an exfoliating treatment to get rid of dry skin. Beginning with a triple threat combination of Blue Mountain Coffee to tone, sea salt that detoxifies and golden-brown sugar to soften. Shea butter and local annatto oil provide a warm glow naturally from the color of the seed’s skin which is an orange-red.
Ban Dry Skin with Avocado Honey Mask: At Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino Michelle Arce, marketing director for Zen Spa Retreat, says that avocado and honey have powerful antioxidant and moisturizing properties to ban tricky rough patches and keep skin healthy and smooth during winter. Apply the following mask 2-3 times a week: mash 1/2 avocado and add 2 tablespoons of honey and apply generously on your face and neck. Let it dry for 10-15 minutes and then rinse with water.
Brighten Complexion with Coconut Oil: At Los Sueños Marriott Ocean & Golf Resort at Sibö Rainforest, Spa & Retreat, Nicole Courrau, spa manager says that a good body scrub eliminates the accumulation of dead skin cells and brings back that healthy glow in the winter. To maximize results, scrub with a body brush in circular movements then apply coconut oil which provides deep hydration and promotes the removal of dead cells to brighten a dull complexion.
Refresh Lips with Sugar and Honey Treatment: At Costa Rica Marriott Hotel San Jose César Sánchez, spa manager for Kuö Spa, deals with chapped lips by mixing sugar with honey is a great moisturizer that helps heal them quickly. Mix two teaspoons of sugar with one teaspoon of honey and rub the paste gently on the face to loosen the dead skin cells. Let it sit for a few minutes and then wash off with lukewarm water.
Light Therapy to Sooth and Rejuvenate: At JW Marriott Grand Rapids, guests cure the winter blues with Light Therapy treatments. During the session, lay with the Light Therapy lamp over the face with a soothing eye mask and massage. According to spa manager Caitlin McClelland, using an illuminating palette can provide a summer-inspired, dewy look.Subscribe to A Girl’s Gotta Spa! beauty blog. Watch our reviews on YouTube, see our pins on Pinterest and check us out on Instagram. Got a Kindle? We’re on Kindle too! Or check out our natural bath and body line!