Like many women, I deal with keratosis pilaris on my arms and legs. I never knew what this was until about 4 years ago. Many doctors and dermatologists are still unaware. I was always told your skin is just dry, put some cream. Keratosis pilaris is a condition that causes small, raised bumps on the surface of the skin. This causes the skin to have a sandpaper-like texture. While it’s ultimately not harmful or painful in any way, it is unattractive and therefore frustrating. I’ve tried many methods to get rid of my keratosis pilaris; some have been more successful than others.
Keratosis pilaris is caused by a buildup of keratin, which is a protein that protects the skin, around hair follicles. The built-up keratin creates a kind of plug that blocks the opening of the follicle of hair, creating a small bump on the skin. Doctors don’t know for sure what triggers this buildup of keratin, although there seem to be a genetic component to the condition. Keratosis cannot ultimately be cured, but it can be managed. I’ve dealt with mine and found a routine that works for me. I want to share my routine with you, in hopes of helping others to manage the condition.
What Can be Done To Improve Keratosis Pilaris?
There are several things that have helped me manage the condition and reduce the occurrence and appearance of the bumps on my skin:
-Laser hair removal
-A moisturizing routine.
Laser Hair Removal
Laser hair removal has improved my condition by at least 80%. Laser hair removal works by using a laser to effectively damage or destroy the hair follicle. It only makes sense that this damage to the follicle will mean there is less opportunity for keratin buildup to occur. Results can vary from person to person, but the effects of laser hair removal can last from several months to several years.
I have had six laser hair removal sessions so far with a professional at a local clinic. Not only does the process remove unwanted body hair, but I have seen a significant decrease in the bumps on my skin caused by keratosis pilaris. This is a huge improvement! I do notice that when my hair starts growing back, I experience more symptoms of keratosis pilaris. This simply means that I need to return for another treatment, but it’s well worth the time any money if I can remove hair and improve my skin’s appearance at the same time. I come from a South-Asian culture, so my hair is thicker than people’s of some other ethnicities, and laser hair removal has been a life saver!
I also use Tria Hair Removal Laser 4X at home. Although it’s a slower process over time than a session with a professional, Tria works just as well at removing hair and reducing the appearance of keratosis pilaris on my skin. Tria is quite affordable and convenient, so it’s a good option for busy women who can’t make time for numerous appointments at the salon. You can do small sessions on yourself at home, when convenient. Tria is FDA approved and is as safe as it is convenient. I highly recommend it to anyone dealing with keratosis pilaris or even anyone who wants to remove unwanted body hair.
In addition to professional at at-home treatments with the Tria, I find that if I exfoliate with a scrub two to three times a week, the appearance of bumps on my arms and legs is greatly reduced. Exfoliating scrubs work by removing any dead cells at the surface of the skin, leaving the skin soft and smooth. Scrubs also polish away the keratin buildup typical of keratosis pilaris.
I have tried a number of scrubs, but the two that work the best for me are the Ruchy Skincare Sugar Scrub and the Miracle 10 Body Polish Exfoliating Scrub. Although I like both, if I had to recommend just one, I would pick Ruchy Skincare simply because it is an all-natural product, and with keratosis pilaris, it’s helpful to expose your skin to as few chemicals as possible, as chemicals tend to irritate the skin. Also, I love that Ruchy Skincare is super affordable and is a small, independent business. I like to support entrepreneurs when I can! Ruchy sugar scrub is available in four scents, all of them amazing:
-Citrus / Mint
-Rosemary / Mint
-Vanilla / Lavendar
-Ylang Ylang / Orange
Keratosis pilaris flare ups tend to happen more in the winter months. It’s an extra problem for me because I live in a relatively cold climate. It’s helpful in managing my condition to make sure that I moisturize my skin as part of my regular routine. I like to use both coconut oil and Gold Bond Rough and Bumpy Skin Cream.
I’ve used coconut oil for quite a long time. After I exfoliate and before I get out of the shower, I simply take a chunk of coconut oil, apply it all over my body and rinse. Coconut oil is great—it’s leaves my skin feeling so soft and nourished and has significantly helped reduce the rough and dry texture of my skin, especially in Toronto winters. Coconut oil is also a safe, natural antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal; these properties can only help with skin conditions.
I also like the Gold Bond Rough and Bumpy Skin Cream. It absorbs quickly and leaves my skin feeling silky and smooth. I only use it on my legs and hands, but the results are good.
Sometimes, I eliminate these in the summer months and opt for sunscreen instead. It’s important to protect the skin from the damage of the sun’s UV rays, and most sunscreens work to moisturize the skin.
Although hair removal, exfoliating scrubs and moisturizers may seems to be like a lot to add to your routine, consider the benefits. Many women routinely remove hair anyway. We can all benefit from exfoliation. And we should all be moisturizing. The investment of time is totally worth it if it gets rid of the unsightly bumps caused by keratosis pilaris. Once this all becomes part of your regular routine, it becomes easy and you do it without even thinking. I wish there was a cure for this sometimes-embarrassing condition. Until medicine gives us a cure, we can only manage the condition, and these steps of hair removal, exfoliation and moisturizing are the best way I’ve found to manage my keratosis pilaris.