Keratosis Pilaris (cont.)
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.
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.
In this Article
- Keratosis pilaris (KP) facts
- What is keratosis pilaris?
- Who gets keratosis pilaris?
- What is the prognosis of patients with keratosis pilaris?
- Does keratosis pilaris affect the entire body?
- What does keratosis pilaris look like?
- What causes keratosis pilaris?
- How is keratosis pilaris diagnosed?
- Is keratosis pilaris curable?
- Is keratosis pilaris contagious?
- What are possible complications of keratosis pilaris?
- Does diet have anything to do with keratosis pilaris?
- What is the treatment for keratosis pilaris?
- Keratosis pilaris "do's"
- Keratosis pilaris "don'ts"
- Find a local Dermatologist in your town
Who gets keratosis pilaris?
Anyone can get keratosis pilaris. Although it is commonly a skin condition of children and adolescents, it is also seen in many adults. Keratosis pilaris is estimated to affect between 50% of all adolescents and approximately 40% of adults. Females may be more frequently affected than males. Age of onset is often within the first 10 years of life and may worsen during puberty. However, keratosis pilaris may begin at any age. A large percentage of patients have other people in their family with the same condition. It has been commonly been seen in twins. Keratosis pilaris is also seen in atopic dermatitis patients and patients with very dry skin.
What is the prognosis of patients with keratosis pilaris?
Overall, keratosis pilaris tends to be a chronic skin condition periodically becoming worse or better. Keratosis pilaris is a benign, noncontagious, self-limited skin condition that tends to be mild. Keratosis pilaris frequently improves with age in many patients. Many patients note improvement of their symptoms in the summer months and seasonal flares in colder winter months. More widespread, atypical cases of keratosis pilaris may be cosmetically distressing.
Will I eventually outgrow keratosis pilaris?
Keratosis pilaris usually improves with increasing age. Keratosis pilaris may even spontaneously clear completely after puberty. However, more frequently the condition is chronic with periodic exacerbations and improvements. Many adults still have the skin condition into their 40s and 50s.
Does keratosis pilaris affect the entire body?
Although possible, it is fairly rare to have keratosis pilaris all over the body. The lesions in keratosis pilaris most characteristically involve the back of the upper arms. Other common locations include the thighs and buttocks and occasionally the face. It does not affect the eyes, mouth, palms, or soles.
What does keratosis pilaris look like?
Typically, keratosis pilaris patients present with a scattered, patchy rash made of very small red or tan bumps. Often, anywhere from 10 to hundreds of very small slightly rough bumps are scattered in an area. The affected area may have a fine, sandpaper-like texture. Some of the bumps may be slightly red or have an accompanying light-red halo indicating inflammation.
Sometimes, a small, coiled hair is trapped beneath the rough bump. Patients may complain of a rough texture and an irregular cosmetic appearance of the skin. The cheeks may appear pink, red, flushed, and be studded with very small (pinpoint) bumps.
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