May 29, 2016
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Keratosis Pilaris (cont.)

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Who gets keratosis pilaris?

Anyone can have keratosis pilaris. Although it is commonly a skin condition of children and adolescents, it is also seen in many 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 is 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 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 back, thighs, 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.

What does keratosis pilaris look like?
What does keratosis pilaris look like?

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.

Picture of keratosis pilaris
Keratosis pilaris may cause bumps on the backs of the upper arms, as seen here.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/23/2015


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