Have you ever run your fingers over the back of your arms, thighs, butt cheeks, only to be met with tiny, rough bumps? Chances are that it’s a condition known as keratosis pilaris, often referred to as chicken skin or strawberry legs.
Despite the barnyard comparisons, keratosis pilaris (or KP) is totally harmless and incredibly common. In fact, up to 40% of adults will experience these pimple-like bumps at some point in their lives. While they may be benign, KP bumps can be annoying and affect your confidence in your skin, so it’s totally fair to want to find a solution.
We’re here to help you understand, manage and banish chicken skin for good.
What is keratosis pilaris?
Keratosis pilaris is caused when hair follicles get clogged with dead skin cells and extra keratin, the protein that makes up hair. While it can sometimes resemble acne, these tiny red, white or brown bumps aren’t the same as pimples. (No, you can’t pop them!)
KP is often found on the backs of the arms, thighs, calves or butt cheeks in patches that can feel dry and rough. While keratosis pilaris shouldn’t be painful, it’s possible for it to become itchy in dry or cold weather.
What causes keratosis pilaris?
While anyone can develop keratosis pilaris, it is most common in children, teenagers and those with a fair skin tone. Hormones can also have an impact, with flare ups happening during puberty or pregnancy. The good news is that it seems to clear up naturally for most people by their mid-30s!
There are also external factors that can impact the severity of KP, including cold weather, hay fever, or anything that may dry your skin out.
How to treat keratosis pilaris
So, how do you get rid of chicken skin? While there is no instant fix, this pesky skin problem can usually be managed with a targeted body care routine. The key is to keep the skin soothed, moisturized and to gently encourage the skin cells to turn over.
Keep the area moisturized
One of the reasons that KP tends to flare up in the winter months is that the air gets dry. While you can’t control the humidity, you can use body lotions to ensure your skin stays hydrated.
Look for rich moisturizers that are free of fragrances to prevent further skin irritation. And to really quench your skin, try applying lotion when your skin is still slightly damp after the shower - this will help to keep that all-important moisture in your skin.
Avoid super hot water
While hot, steamy showers may feel like an indulgence, extreme temperatures can actually dry out your skin and exacerbate KP. Hot water can disrupt the skin’s moisture barrier by washing away the natural oils found in the skin.
Instead, opt for lukewarm showers and a body wash with moisturizing properties. Bonus points if you can keep your daily showers under 10 minutes!
Be gentle with scrubbing
When your skin feels dry or rough, it can be tempting to scrub away at that texture. However, too much friction on keratosis pilaris can actually irritate the skin further and have the opposite effect!
Instead of scrubbing at your chicken skin with a harsh scrub or body brush, opt for a gentle face washing cloth or soft loofah with a nourishing body wash instead. The process of showering and drying with a towel provides enough physical exfoliation on its own, especially for those with keratosis pilaris.
Use a chemical exfoliant
While scrubbing at those KP bumps can be irritating, you still want to try and slough away those dead skin cells and proteins that are blocking the follicle. The best and most gentle way to do this is with a cleanser or cream that contains chemical exfoliants, such as glycolic acid or salicylic acid.
A gentle formula like the Get It Bright Exfoliating Body Scrub will help to dissolve the buildup that creates those KP bumps without further irritating or drying out your skin. This balanced, in-shower scrub contains glycolic acid and willow bark extract, a natural form of salicylic acid, to smooth texture and reduce bumps. Pumice provides a mild physical exfoliation, while ingredients such as aloe, niacinamide and shea butter work to nourish and soothe dry skin.
Stay consistent to beat KP
While there’s no overnight cure for keratosis pilaris, the proper body care routine can help you manage flare ups and keep your skin feeling smooth and soft. By prioritizing moisturization and gentle exfoliation, you can keep those hair follicles clear and prevent chicken skin.
Forgotten Skincare creates effective formulas with clean ingredients for all those forgotten areas on your body. So, instead of ignoring patches of keratosis pilaris or using products that are too harsh, instead opt for gentle formulas like the limited edition Get It Bright Exfoliating Body Scrub.