What is Keratosis Pilaris?

So, many of you may have a friend with keratosis pilaris (commonly known as ‘KP’), or maybe you’ve seen a recent episode of Dr. Drew or the Dr. Oz show and are wondering: What is keratosis pilaris?

Simply put, KP is a genetically inherited skin condition that affects lots of people of all ages. However, it’s most commonly found in women and teenagers, but does affect around 40% of the population. It’s normally more severe in both teens and pregnant women, with a few rare cases that would clinically be considered “severe”. Clinically severe cases are noticeable by large discolored (typically red) areas of skin with larger bumps.

More commonly, keratosis pilaris produces lots of small (goose bump like) bumps, with the skin in the affected area being red (but sometimes other colors like tan or brown, although this is more rare). It’s most commonly found on the upper arms, but does also frequently show up on the cheeks, legs, lower arms and buttocks.

Keratosis pilaris is not lethal or life threatening in any way, and does not cause any other medical conditions or complications. It is also not contagious in any way. Another common nickname for KP is “chicken skin”.

Although the most common affected areas (listed above) are typical, KP can potentially show up on any part of the body except for what are called the ‘glabrous skin regions’ (the palms of the hands and the balls of the feet). On the cheeks or face, it’s quite often mistaken for acne.

Basically, when someone’s body starts producing too much of the protein keratin, it will clot around the hair follicles in the skin, causing the redness, rough skin and irritation.

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.