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Written by Dr. Ringpfeil

Keratosis Pilaris

Keratosis pilaris is a common, benign skin condition characterized by the appearance of multiple small firm skin colored bumps on the lateral aspect of the upper arms and sometimes thighs. There can be surrounding redness. The bumps can resemble goose bumps and are sometimes referred to by the lay population as "chicken skin". They can cause the skin to have a sandpapery feel when touched. These bumps can also be seen on the face along the outer cheeks in children. The asymptomatic bumps occur due to the harmless buildup of keratin in hair follicles. The condition usually improves with age and is a trait that is often seen in multiple family members. About 10% of the population carries this trait but there is an increased incidence in people with eczema (atopic dermatitis).

Diagnosis

The diagnosis of keratosis pilaris is easily made by a dermatologist based on its appearance. No biopsy is necessary. The diagnosis is further supported by obtaining a history of other family members with a similar condition.

Management

Treatment is not necessary but is often sought because of the rough feel, the bumpy appearance of the skin or the accompanying redness. The appearance and texture can be improved with the use of a topical moisturizing lotion that contains filaggrin-like peptides and ceramides (Cetaphil Restoraderm) or topical keratolytics such as moisturizing lotions that contain citric acid, alpha hydroxy acid (e.g. Eucerin plus lotion or cream), ammonium lactate (e.g. AmLactin 5% lotion or cream) or urea (e.g. Ureacin 10% lotion). These lotions are readily available over the counter without a prescription. Roughness and bumps reduce significantly after about 2 weeks with regular twice daily use. If improvement is not seen with these medicated moisturizers, a higher strength of these ingredients or prescription topical retinoids, which are commonly used for acne treatment, can be applied. Gentle physical exfoliation can also be performed for resistant lesions through in-office microdermabrasion. It is important to know that lotions need to be used regularly to keep the condition under control; if the lotions are stopped the bumps will become prominent with a delay of about 2 weeks. Redness usually reduces at the same time as the skin becomes smooth but if it persists, pulsed dye laser treatment may be pursued. Several sessions spaced 4 weeks apart are often necessary to completely remove redness. Results are long lasting.

Coping

Most people are assured by understanding the benign nature of the condition. However, when the appearance of these bumps or surrounding redness is disturbing, treatment may be started. Many will treat during the warmer months of the year when they wear short sleeves or in anticipation of an important event. In such cases, treatment should begin at least 2 weeks prior to the date. Some people will employ aggressive measures to remove the bumps of keratosis pilaris such as through use of a loofah sponge or through picking. Not only are they rarely effective, they are discouraged due to the risk of skin irritation.

Prevention

Keratosis pilaris is an inherited trait, therefore prevention is not possible at this time.

How can we help you?

SKIN

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Last updated: 07/02/2020 7:44 PM

PATIENT RATINGS

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Compare our service to other similar practices

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Overall doctor performance

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The doctor listened to you attentively

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The doctor took time to answer your questions

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The doctor explained treatment options

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The doctor explained treatment options

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Front desk performance

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Aesthetician performance

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Office comfort

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Parking

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Friendliness of the staff during appointment

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What WE DID WELL

(Answers:674)

I like the conscientious of the team. They seem to care and are capable.

#12011-10-27 14:37:41

Dr. Ringpfeil listened patiently and explained treatment and diagnosis thoroughly

#22020-03-05

I enjoyed being seen in a timely fashion...Left my last dermatologist because of hours long wait times. Thank you for valuing my time.

#32020-02-23

Bright cheerful offices.

#42011-03-28 15:28:21

The waiting room had interesting products and information. The staff were professional, kind and had a nice process.

#52010-11-10 12:28:11

The doctor and medical assistant took time to explain all of my treatment options and to answer all of my questions completely and honestly.

#62019-08-08

The promptness of waiting to see the doctor.

#72019-09-14

The fact you aren't rushed.

#82020-06-19

professional staff

#92010-12-02 11:39:52

VERY efficient.I loved that.

#102011-05-09 10:24:13

What can we do better?

(answers:373)

Everyone and everything is excellent!

#12011-03-23 10:51:26

Everything was excellent

#22019-08-02

everything was great

#32019-11-28

Service was outstanding!

#42019-09-24

I was feeling a bit thirsty the whole stay in the office, maybe making some water available during waiting time would make the stay more comfortable.

#52020-06-07

Almost too methodical - thought of one more 15 second type question after Dr. left re one spot not noted - would have waited some time to have her look at it. Told no time until lunch.

#62011-11-03 10:28:10

I was dissapointed when my appointment was cancelled because of the snow. I had to wait 6 weeks to get another appointment. I wish that I could have been worked in sooner.

#72011-03-11 14:29:03

sometimes I feel the phone staff is not as helpful as it could be, but that is not reflected in the quality of services. Front office is very professional overall.

#82010-11-04 13:29:14

Have the patient internet working

#92011-09-08 11:08:45

More upbeat music! The warm temperature and the John Mayer-esque music made me feel as if it were bedtime =)

#102011-09-16 11:42:32