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Keratosis pilaris (ker-uh-TO-sis pil-AIR-is) is a common skin condition that causes rough patches and small, acne-like bumps, usually on the arms and thighs. Though you may not like the sandpaper-like appearance of your skin, keratosis pilaris isn't serious and doesn't have long-term health implications. Keratosis pilaris can be frustrating because it's difficult to treat. Prescription medications and self-care measures can improve the appearance of your skin.
Causes of Keratosis Pilaris
Signs & Symptoms of Keratosis Pilaris
Signs and symptoms of keratosis pilaris include:
Keratosis pilaris usually appears on the upper arms, legs or buttocks. But it can also appear on the face, where it closely resembles acne. The small size of the bumps and its association with dry, chapped skin distinguish keratosis pilaris from pustular acne. Unlike elsewhere on the body, keratosis pilaris on the face may leave small scars. Though quite common with young children, keratosis pilaris can occur at any age. It may improve, especially during the summer months, only to later worsen. Gradually, keratosis pilaris resolves on its own.
Diagnosis of Keratosis Pilaris
There is no laboratory test or skin test to diagnose keratosis pilaris. Instead, it's typically diagnosed based on an examination of your skin and a review of your medical history. Your doctor will ask questions about your signs and symptoms.
Treatments of Keratosis Pilaris
No single treatment universally improves keratosis pilaris. But most options, including self-care measures and medicated creams, focus on softening the keratin deposits in the skin.
Treatment of keratosis pilaris can include the following prescription medications:
Using a medication regularly may improve the appearance of your skin. But if you stop, the condition returns. And even with medical treatment, keratosis pilaris tends to persist for years.
Prevention of Keratosis Pilaris
Although there's no way to prevent keratosis pilaris, you can take steps to keep your skin moist and healthy:
When to seek Medical Advice
Keratosis pilaris isn't a serious medical condition, and treatment usually isn't necessary. However, if you're concerned about the appearance of your skin, consult your family doctor or a specialist in skin diseases (dermatologist). He or she can often make a diagnosis by examining your skin and the characteristic scaly plugs.
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This site does not provide medical or any other health care advice, diagnosis or treatment. The site and its services, including the information above, are for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for professional medical advice, examination, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before starting any new treatment or making any changes to existing treatment. Do not delay seeking or disregard medical advice based on information on this site.