Keratois Pilaris from Gluten or Dairy

A common question that we see from lots of people who have keratosis pilaris is “Can eating certain foods trigger my KP, cause an outbreak or make my KP worse?”. The answer yes and no, while it is not yet proven that eliminating certain foods from your diet will reduce you keratosis pilaris outbreaks or lessen your KP symptoms, there are some people who swear that this is the case because it worked for them as individuals.

keratosis pilaris and gluten

The reasons for this are normally if someone has an undiagnosed for allergy or food sensitivity, or if the person has celiac disease. People who have both keratosis pilaris as well as celiac disease may indeed have their KP get worse by eating foods that contain gluten (mainly wheat based foods). If you are diagnosed with celiac disease, then you will most likely be instructed by your doctor to go on a gluten free diet permanently.

Another group of people who may see their KP symptoms improve by restricting themselves to a certain diet are those people who have both KP and either a dairy allergy or are lactose intolerant. When someone has both of these conditions, consuming milk or other dairy products may actually trigger outbreaks or make their keratosis pilaris become more frequent and / or worse.

However, if you don’t have either of the above two conditions, than your KP symptoms / outbreaks will most likely not improve just by avoiding these food groups. Just be sure to check with your doctor and be sure if your have either of these conditions before starting any type of specialized diet to treat your keratosis pilaris.

dairy and keratosis pilaris

Gluten Intolerance and Skin Rash

Keratosis pilaris is often confused with or misdiagnosed as celiac disease. Although they both share some of the same symptoms, they are both commonly thought to have different causes. While celiac disease is inherited from your genetics, the jury’s still out on exactly what causes keratosis pilaris.

One main difference between the two is that celiac disease affects the entire body (and especially the digestive system) – not just the surface of the skin. All gluten intolerance (whether it’s from celiac disease or not) is primarily caused by wheat, barley and rye.

Besides the two, there are many other disorders and conditions of gluten intolerance that are neither KP or celiac disease. In fact, it’s still a mystery just exactly what some of those conditions really are.

Pimples and bumps on arms caused by celiac disease are classed as ‘queratosis pilaris‘, a deficiency of both vitamin A and essential fatty acids.

Some of the most common symptoms if gluten intolerance are:



Stomach Discomfort

Heightened Anxiety

Women may experience more painful periods and other menstrual symptoms

inflammation in the joints

If you’re suffering from the above symptoms AND have keratosis pilaris like bumps on your arms, you may have some type of gluten intolerance.

Gluten Bumps on Arms

Bumps and pimples on the arms are quite common in youth, as somewhere between fifty to eighty percent of those who suffer from them are under 18. While it’s estimated that about forty to fifty percent of adults report having to deal with them.

So, what’s the most recommended treatment to see if they’ll improve?

Try taking both vitamin A and essential fatty acids.

Currently, there are no solid studies to either prove, nor disprove whether people have keratosis pilaris, celiac disease or another type of gluten intolerance condition that causes bumps.

The latest research showed that in the US alone, approximately eighteen million people have a gluten intolerance.

Long Story Short:

You’re way more likely to have a gluten sensitivity, rather than celiac disease. Plus, there are so many different types of gluten sensitivity disorders, which also ups the odds of you having one if gluten is giving you bumps and / or rashes on your arms (or anywhere on the body for that matter).

You can pretty much be sure that you have some type of gluten sensitivity when your bumps and other irritations go away when you cut all gluten out of your diet, and especially when they return once you start eating gluten again.

If you want to be doubly sure, try the above and have your doctor test you for celiac disease. If you’re not diagnosed with celiac disease, you’ve got some form of gluten sensitivity.

Is Keratosis Pilaris an Autoimmune Disease?

For those of you dealing with bumps and rashes, you might have keratosis pilaris, gluten sensitivity or an autoimmune disease. In fact, it’s estimated that around fifty million people either have, or at one time had, autoimmune diseases in the US alone.

It’s thought that about twenty five percent of those cases were caused by genetics and inherited conditions, while the remaining seventy five percent were more than likely caused by environmental factors.

So what’s going on in those with an autoimmune disease?

Basically, an autoimmune disease arises when your body’s defenses against disease (the immune system) confuses it’s own healthy cells with foreign, possibly threatening cells. Then, your own immune system starts to attack its own healthy cells. It’s currently estimated that there are eighty different types of autoimmune diseases, and the list is growing.

Currently, it is believed that upwards of fifteen percent of people living in the US are gluten intolerant (whether they’re aware of it or not). Gluten intolerance is said to affect about one in a hundred people worldwide. When undiagnosed and left untreated, celiac disease could an autoimmune disease, like osteoporosis, other autoimmune diseases or even thyroid disease.

Is Coconut Oil Good for Keratosis Pilaris?

Yes, and in more ways than one…

Not only can coconut oil be very beneficial to people with kp when applied topically, it actually helps with keratosis pilaris and celiac disease when included regularly in your diet.

Coconut oil contains lauric acid, which helps to break up keratin. Keratin is the substance that clogs up the pores and hair follicles on the first few layers of the skin.

It gets better:

Coconut oil is also not only anti-bacterial, but it’s also anti-inflammatory as well. You can apply it directly to the affected areas of the body a few times a day and watch for improvement after the first three to five days.

For a more thorough and possibly much more effective routine, you can do as follows:

1 – Get Rid of Dead Skin Cells: In order to more effectively treat the layers of skin that are problematic, you need to be able to directly treat those areas efficiently. To do so, first exfoliate the affected area with either a gentle (and preferably chemical free) exfoliating scrub, or by using an exfoliating brush or tool.

2 – Clean the Skin Thoroughly: Preferably take a shower, wash and rinse the skin with a gentle, cleansing soap (I personally like Dove bar soap for this). Wash your entire body as you normally would, then take care to gently re-wash and rinse the affected area well.

3 – Time for Some Coconut Oil: Dry the area well (being careful to be as gentle as you possibly can, so as not to irritate the skin). Apply a light coating of coconut oil. You can fan it a little if you want to try to help it be absorbed into the skin faster.

BONUS TIP: Use Some Apple Cider Vinegar Too!

You may have heard about the many weight loss and healing benefits of taking apple cider vinegar. Well guess what, it can work wonders on the skin as well. For a little extra healing power, after you’ve rinsed of the soap in the shower stage, apply some ACV directly to the affected area and leave it on the skin for the remainder of the shower. Then simply rinse off before you’re done in the shower.

You can use the above steps once or twice a week – Not Everyday! Remember you have to be as gentle with your skin as possible, as it’s already irritated from the inside, so let’s not irritate it from the outside too!

The above technique normally starts working in under a week, and on average you should start seeing the full results in about three to four weeks. Be patient and remember that it takes time for your skin to fully heal after it’s been that irritated.

The Keratosis Pilaris Diet Plan

If you have KP, it’s important to understand that your diet may play a big part in not only the amounts of your outbreaks, but their severity as well. While it’s not been completely proven, some people think that food can affect keratosis pilaris in many different ways.

Changing up your diet in hopes of lessening your symptoms while improving your skin overall tends to work better for some people, and not so much for others. But remember:

Don’t knock it until you try it.

Foods That You Should Be Eating

Start by eating foods that are rich in Vitamin A and essential fatty acids (There are many different types of fish that are perfect for this).

While your at it, if your not taking a fish oil supplement (Hint: you should be!), consider adding one to your daily routine. Not only could they help clear up your KP, but they’re great sources of omega 3, heart health and have many other benefits.

Personal Tip: Look for Burp-less Fish Oil (My favorite brand – Amazon Link). If you’ve never taken fish oil capsules before, some of them that aren’t specifically marked “Burp-less” or “Odorless” can cause so called “fish burps” – which taste gross. You’ve been warned.

Take at least 700 to 900 mcg daily. And if you do start taking fish oil, you should stay on it for at least two to three months (as it can take natural treatments a while to ‘kick in’).

Other great sources of real, naturally occurring vitamin A are egg yolks, full fat milk and (if you can stomach it) liver. Add a handful of walnuts a day into the mix while you’re at it. Protein and dairy are your friends when it comes to fighting off keratosis pilaris with your diet!

But Remember: The better quality the sources of protein are is important. Mass produced meats from large companies does not have nearly the same benefit as locally raised, organic meat.

Foods rich in zinc are also important when it comes to combating KP with your diet. Animal based foods are the best, naturally occurring sources of zinc, but plant based sources are good and can be used fill out your list of good foods.

Some great sources of zinc are beef, lamb, pork, chicken, oysters, pumpkin seeds (raw or toasted), spinach, nuts, wheat germ, mushrooms, beans (almost all varieties) and here’s a fun one – dark chocolate.

Coconut Oil: Again, coconut oil is a great addition to your diet as well as being a topical treatment for keratosis pilaris. It’s great to cook with (it doesn’t make your food taste weird or like coconuts). Just use it instead of your normal oil of choice the next time you make a stir fry, pasta dish or otherwise.

You can also take it directly by itself. Be warned however, while it doesn’t bother some people it can cause diarrhea taking a tablespoon of it alone, on an empty stomach. Some people do enjoy it in hot beverages like coffee or hot chocolate. Start with 1 teaspoon a day and work up to 1 tablespoon a day for optimum results.

And finally, if you don’t already, start taking a high quality probiotic! Not only can it help fight keratosis pilaris, but probiotics can help your entire body in many, many ways. Most people haven’t been properly taught just how important probiotics and prebiotics are to so many aspects of their overall health.

Not All Probiotics Are Created Equal. If you see so called “proboitic supplements” in your local store that aren’t stored in a refrigerator, and / or in cheap plastic bottles, be warned. No matter how many live organisms they’re said to contain, very few of those could be left by the time you buy them.

Here’s the brand I personally take. (Amazon Link) In my opinion these are the real deal, and you may even be able to find them locally (Just make sure they’re refrigerated if you find them in a store near you!).

Keratosis Pilaris is an Inflammatory Condition

It’s important to remember that KP is an inflammatory condition, meaning certain things irritate and cause it to flare up more at some times, rather then others. Just like the weather and other external conditions can cause it to either get worse or improve, diet affects it the same way too.

If you’re serious about trying the keratosis pilaris diet plan, if you first see successful results after a month or two, try going off the diet for a few weeks. If your KP comes right back and starts flaring up, you can be pretty sure that changing your diet was the thing that got rid of your symptoms. Then, simply start back on the diet and enjoy your clear, bump free skin!

Recently, an all natural treatment for keratosis pilaris has been getting a lot of national media attention. Many people are attributing their being KP free to this new system, which uses commonly available ingredients that can be bought at any grocery store. You can learn more about it here.