Keratosis Pilaris - Western SummaryWestern Medicine Summary

Western Medicine

Western Summary

Keratosis pilaris (KP) is a common skin condition and more common in those who have eczema and dry skin. KP becomes more rough and bumpy in dry climates. 


Keratosis pilaris presents as numerous pin-point sized rough bumps, giving the skin a goose-bump texture. KP is most common on the outer arms, but can also affect the thighs, buttocks, back, abdomen, and sides of the cheeks. It can also become inflamed and itchy, especially when a person’s eczema is also flaring.

Keratosis pilaris atrophicans is a rare type of KP, with hair loss and crater-like scars forming around the hair follicle openings. It can occur on the face or an the lateral parts of the eyebrows and is known as ulerythema ophryogenes. 


KP forms when skin cells build up and plug the upper portion of hair follicles, instead of shedding from the skin surface. KP tends to be genetic and can be seen in multiple family members.



Frequent use of moisturizers can help treat dry skin and improve KP.

  • Topical lactic acid, alpha hydroxy acids, salicylic acid, retinoids and urea formulations can help make the KP bumps smoother.
  • Topical steroids and calcineurin inhibitors may help to treat inflamed KP.
  • Severe cases of KP may need to be treated with oral isotretinoin.