Do you see rough patches on your skin that look like small acne bumps? If yes, you should know about Keratosis pilaris and how to get rid of it.
What is Keratosis Pilaris?
As you might make out now that Keratosis pilaris is a skin disease which leaves rough patches and acne-like bumps on your skin. These skin patches can be generally seen on the arms, thighs, cheeks and buttocks. Certain rare variants of keratosis pilaris can also be seen on eyebrows, face and scalp, or whole of the body. So, what do they look like apart from small bumps and how do they feel? They are generally white in color but can sometimes be red too. While you do not feel any discomfort like itching or pain, you may not like the very appearance of these bumps on your skin that are a little difficult to treat. In certain cases though, the Keratosis pilaris bumps may become swollen and cause scarring, particularly on face. They might become worse in winters, when there is less humidity and the skin is prone to get drier. Most often, keratosis pilaris disappears on its own or with the help of certain prescription drugs and home remedies.
What Causes Keratosis Pilaris?
There is a hard protein called keratin on our skin which protects the skin from external substances and infections. When this keratin builds up in an unusual way, it results into keratosis pilaris. The keratin buildup forms many scaly plugs on the skin that block the hair follicle openings. These scaly plugs over the skin looks like patches of rough, bumpy skin. The cause for keratin buildup is not known yet. However, it might be linked to certain genetic disorders or other skin conditions like atopic dermatitis.
Children and adolescents, women, patients having eczema or ichthyosis (thick, dry scaly skin) and
people of Celtic origin suffer more from keratosis pilaris. It is more common in childhood and adolescence. It usually gets cured on its own as the person reaches the age of 30 or so.
How to Manage Keratosis Pilaris?
As keratosis pilaris doesn’t need specific treatment in most of the cases, certain self care measures are enough to improve the condition of your skin.
- Use a skin product that doesn’t dry out your skin. For example, instead of soaps, use a cleanser that doesn’t contain soapy chemicals. Dry skin worsens the condition of keratosis pilaris.
- Keep your skin moisturized. As dry skin worsens the condition of keratosis pilaris, use moisturizers and emollients to keep your skin hydrated.
- Gently exfoliate your skin. This helps in eliminating the keratin buildup. However, don’t be too harsh. Do this gently with the help of exfoliating foam or pumice stone when you take bath. When skin is wet, it is easy to exfoliate gently.
- Avoid hot baths. Hot water makes your skin drier and thus you may experience the worst form of keratosis pilaris after such hot bath. If needed, like in winters, use lukewarm water for bath.
- Never spend too much of time under shower. The less you remain in water, better it is for your skin condition. Water always makes skin drier.
- Use humidifier at home so that the air remains moist and thus prevent your skin from getting drier.
What are the Treatments for Keratosis Pilaris?
As keratosis pilaris has become too common, you can find a variety of exfoliants, creams etc. that claim to treat keratosis pilaris. You may select some of them, though wisely. Here’s what you need to have.
We have already seen that exfoliating skin can help manage keratosis pilaris better as it effectively removes dead skin cells from the skin. If you consider using commercially available exfoliants, go for creams having the following ingredients:
- Alpha-hydroxy acid
- Lactic acid
- Salicylic acid
As they are all acids, they might lead to redness or a slight burning of skin. Therefore, if you have sensitive skin, avoid using them. Do not use them on the skin of young children as well. In such cases, you can depend on home remedies for keratosis pilaris.
Vitamin A is known to prevent forming of skin plugs that might close down the hair follicles. Retinoids are a category of chemical compounds that are vitamers of vitamin A or are chemically related to vitamin A. Therefore, topical retinoid creams can help cure keratosis pilaris.
However, topical retinoids, as its side effect, may irritate your skin or lead to redness or peeling of skin. If so, discontinue using such products. Pregnant or nursing women, in any case, should avoid using topical retinoids. At least, they should talk to their doctor before considering using them.
When creams and lotions and even the management of keratosis pilaris don’t seem to work, you can think of laser treatment. But it is only for treating severe redness and inflammation due to keratosis pilaris.
In fact, home remedies are better when it comes to deal with keratosis pilaris. Natural ingredients are almost harmless without any side effects (only when you don’t apply anything that doesn’t suit your skin).
Home Remedies for Keratosis Pilaris
Here is the natural ways to get rid of keratosis pilaris- the home remedies!
Baking Soda Exfoliant for Keratosis Pilaris
As we have seen earlier, exfoliating your skin helps manage keratosis pilaris effectively. So, why not use the all natural baking soda to exfoliate your skin and get rid of keratin buildup! It will remove all your dead skin cells and unplug the clogged skin to help you get rid of keratosis pilaris.
- Baking soda- 2-3 tbsp
- Water- enough to make paste
- Add water to baking soda to get a paste like consistency.
- Apply this to your affected skin.
- Rub gently for few minutes, 4-5 minutes, to be precise.
- Wash off with water.
- Repeat daily or 2-3 times a week, depending upon the severity of your skin condition.
- Don’t forget to moisturize your skin after exfoliating it with baking soda because this ingredient also tends to dry your skin.
Coconut Oil for Keratosis Pilaris
Coconut oil is one of the best remedies for keratosis pilaris. Lauric acid present in coconut oil helps break down the keratin build up. Not only this, because coconut oil has anti bacterial and anti inflammatory properties, you find relief from redness as well get protected against any infection. What more, coconut oil is an excellent moisturizing agent too and thus keeps your skin hydrated.
- Coconut oil
- Apple cider vinegar or ACV (optional)- 2-3 tbsp
- Water (only when using ACV)- half a cup
- Exfoliate your affected skin area using an exfoliating agent (you can use baking soda as mentioned in the previous remedy).
- After exfoliating the skin, pat it dry.
- Take some coconut oil and apply this to your affected area of skin.
- Rub it gently but thoroughly for few minutes until it gets absorbed into the skin.
- That’s all.
- You can apply coconut oil as many times as you like.
- If you want to make this remedy a little more effective, use apple cider vinegar as well.
- Take the ACV and dilute it with water.
- Wash your keratosis pilaris affected skin with this solution.
- You may also like to soak a cotton in this solution and rub the skin with this cotton.
- Now apply coconut oil and rub it gently.
Coconut Oil- Sugar Scrub for Keratosis Pilaris
If exfoliating first and then applying coconut oil seems to be too much work for you, you can even cut down the steps by making a scrub using the oil and sugar. This way, you will get all the benefits of coconut oil in treating keratosis pilaris while you scrub away the dead skin cells.
- Granulated white sugar- 1 part
- Brown sugar- 1 part
- Extra virgin coconut oil- 2 parts
- Mix all the ingredients well to get your scrub
- Apply this mixture to the affected area
- Rub it gently over the area for about 2-5 minutes.
- Wash off with water.
- If you feel too oily and sticky, you may even use lukewarm water to wash it off.
Aloe Vera for Keratosis Pilaris
If you have keratosis pilaris and also eczema, you can consider using aloe vera. It is seen that people with eczema are prone to have other skin conditions like keratosis pilaris. This miraculous herb called aloe vera has soothing gel in its leaves that contain vitamins and minerals. These nutrients can ease eczema and psoriasis flare-ups effectively. However, do not use those aloe vera gels that come loaded with fragrances and dyes. Go for pure aloe vera gel, if possible, get it directly from aloe leaf by scraping the inside of the leaf.
- Aloe vera gel
- Wash your skin affected with keratosis pilaris.
- If needed, exfoliate the skin and again wash off and pat it dry.
- Take the aloe vera gel and apply it generously all over your skin.
- Let it sit there for about 5-10 minutes.
- Now gently rub the gel over your skin for another couple of minutes.
- Wipe off the excessive gel with a cotton ball or a clean cloth.
- Don’t try to wipe off all the gel. Let some of it remain there on the skin.
- You can use aloe vera gel on your skin as many times as you wish to.
Yogurt for Keratosis Pilaris
Yogurt has two fold benefits when it comes to keratosis pilaris treatment. It reduces the inflammation and it also helps break down the keratin buildup, thanks to lactic acid present in plain yogurt. It is also a good moisturizing agent and therefore helps remove the excessive dryness of the skin.
- Take the plain yogurt (never use flavored or sweetened yogurt) and rub it all over the skin which is affected by keratosis pilaris.
- Let it sit on your skin for about 10-15 minutes.
- Now, take a shower with cold or lukewarm water (never with hot water)
Apple Cider Vinegar for Keratosis Pilaris
Apple cider vinegar has anti-bacterial properties and is well known for its anti-inflammatory properties too. It contains good amounts of calcium, magnesium and iron that nourishes skin from within. Therefore, its a good idea to have 1-2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar daily, mixed in 1 glass of water. If you can’t do so, apply it topically to your keratosis pilaris affected skin. Here’s how
- Apple cider vinegar (ACV)- 2-3 tbsp
- Water (optional)- 1/2 cup
- Cotton ball
- Soak the cotton ball in apple cider vinegar
- Apply this to your affected skin.
- If you have a sensitive skin or your skin burns a little when you apply pure apple cider vinegar, dilute it with water.
- After diluting, apply the solution in the same manner with the help of cotton ball.
Oatmeal for Keratosis Pilaris
Oatmeal is not only a healthy food for your body, it also soothes the dry itchy skin perfectly. In fact oatmeal scrub is often described as one of the best remedies for dry skin as well as skin related conditions such as keratosis pilaris.
- Oatmeal- 1-2 tbsp
- Warm water
- If it is not a powder, grind the oats to get fine oatmeal powder.
- Add water to this oatmeal and form a paste.
- Apply this paste over the skin affected by keratosis pilaris
- Let it sit there for 15-20 minutes.
- Wash it off with lukewarm water.
- Moisturize your skin.
If you have red bumpy patches all over your body or on major parts of your body, you can consider having bath with oatmeal water. For this take 1-2 cups of ground oatmeal powder. Add this to your lukewarm bath water. Soak in this water for 10-15 minutes. Pat dry and moisturize your body properly.
Epsom Salt for Keratosis Pilaris
Rich in minerals, Epsom salt has been a beauty treatment for ages. In case of skin conditions like keratosis pilaris where hard skin clogs the skin pores, Epsom salt becomes even more beneficial. It works to soften the hard skin as well as reduces redness and inflammation to give you smooth skin. Not only this, Epsom salt has this property of drawing out the toxins from within the skin. So, you can detoxify your skin while you treat keratosis pilaris at home with Epsom salt.
- Epsom salt- 1-2 tbsp
- Olive oil- 1-2 tbsp
- Combine Epsom salt and olive oil to make a paste.
- Apply this to your affected skin.
- Rub it gently to scrub away the dead skin cells.
- Keep on scrubbing for few minutes, 4-5 minutes, at least.
- Wash off with water.
- Moisturize properly. You can even use coconut oil for this purpose.
- Repeat this 1-2 times a week.
Alternatively, you can take Epsom salt bath, especially if keratosis pilaris has affected large areas of your body. For this, add 1 cup of Epsom salt to your bath water and soak in this for 15-20 minutes. Pat dry and moisturize properly.
Vitamin E Oil for Keratosis Pilaris
Vitamin E oil has been, undoubtedly, accepted as one of the best oils for skin. It not only helps retain moisture in your skin but also helps repair the skin. It actually makes your skin smooth and soft by providing proper nourishment to the skin.
- Vitamin E oil – few drops OR Vitamin E capsule
- If using the capsule, puncture it to get the vitamin E oil trapped in it.
- Apply the oil to your skin and rub gently till it gets fully absorbed into the skin.
- That’s all you need to do.
- Repeat this multiple times a day.
- You can even add vitamin E oil to your bath water and soak in it for 15-20 minutes.
- Have more foods that are rich in vitamin E such as nuts.
Sour Cream or Milk for Keratosis Pilaris
Sour cream and milk both contain lactic acid. This acid helps exfoliate your skin and thus removes the keratin buildup. You can mix the cream with sugar to get an excellent scrub for exfoliating your skin in order to get rid of keratosis pilaris.
- Sour cream- 2-3 tsp
- White or brown sugar (granulated)- 1-2 tsp
- Combine both the ingredients.
- Apply this to your affected skin.
- Rub gently for few minutes
- Leave for about 2-3 minutes.
- Wash off with lukewarm water.
- Repeat 2-3 times a week.
If you intend to use milk, add 2-4 cups of milk to your bath water and soak in it for 10-15 minutes.
Wattle Bark for Keratosis Pilaris
Inner bark and gums of wattles have therapeutic effects due to the presence of tannin. These barks are traditionally used for treating diarrhea and they also soothe inflamed skin. Sometimes, these barks are also used for skin conditions like keratosis Pilaris, not only because they soothe inflammation but also because they can make the skin smooth. These barks also contain Gallic acid that has antioxidant properties. Its melanogenesis inhibitory action can treat Keratosis Pilaris effectively.
Wattle Bark liquor
- Apply wattle bark liquor on your affected skin topically.
Lavender Oil for Keratosis Pilaris
There are many essential oils that can treat keratosis pilaris effectively. One of such oils is lavender oil. It not only softens the skin by moisturizing it but also soothes the inflammation. Always use essential oils after diluting them in carrier oils. In fact, you must conduct a patch test on your skin to find out the suitability of essential oils for your skin.
- Lavender essential oil- 1-2 drops
- Carrier oil (coconut/olive/almond oil)- 1 -2 tbsp
- Add the lavender oil to your choice of carrier oil and mix well.
- Apply this oil mixture to the affected area
- Leave it for 10-15 minutes
- Wipe it off with cotton ball, if needed.
- Repeat 1-2 times a day
Tea Tree Oil for Keratosis Pilaris
Tea tree oil has been known for its anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties. As such, it can be effectively used to treat keratosis pilaris as well. However, because tea tree oil is a very strong oil, you need to use only a drop or two of it along with some carrier oil and other ingredients good for relieving the symptoms of keratosis pilaris.
- Tea tree oil- 1-2 drops
- Carrier oil (coconut/olive/avocado oil)- 1-2 tbsp
- Aloe vera gel (optional)- 1 tsp
- Mix all the ingredients well
- Apply the mixture to affected area.
- Massage the area gently and thoroughly for a good 10-15 minutes. If needed, take some more mixture.
- Wipe off the residue on your skin, if any, using a cotton ball or a clean cloth.
- Repeat it daily or 2-3 times a week.
Take Sunshine to Get rid of Keratosis Pilaris
This is perhaps the easiest remedy for keratosis pilaris. Sunshine will help in synthesis of vitamin D, one of the invaluable nutrients for skin. This vitamin D, in turn, will help slough away the keratin buildup that shows up in form of hard patchy skin plugs.
- Take sunshine for about half an hour daily.
- You may like to be in sun in the morning or evening hours. Avoiding the harsh sun rays from 11 AM to 4PM seems to be the wisest thing to do.
These were some of the home remedies to get rid of keratosis pilaris. If you are lucky enough, you would soon find the remedy that suits you best. Be well, be healthy!