That bumpy, rough-textured skin that tends to crop up all rash-like on your arms? It probably isn't an allergic reaction to your new washing powder.
Totally harmless but sometimes uncomfortable and often unsightly, Keratosis Pilaris is the dermatological name for what most of us refer to as 'chicken skin' - skin that looks bobbly and red and feels slightly prickly to the touch.
The good news? You don't have to suffer with it.
Sometimes the most common skin conditions are the least talked about, which means sufferers can't always get the information that they need. Keratosis Pilaris is one of these conditions and affects 1 in 3 people in the UK - Including myself!
What Causes it?
A common inherited disorder - Pilaris occurs when there is a buildup of keratin under the skin. Keratin is a necessary, hard protein that protects your skin from infection and harmful substances. This buildup of Keratin can cause a plug to form which blocks the opening of the hair follicle causing a hard bump to form at the surface of the skin. What causes the build up of keratin is still unknown. Often times dry skin can make the symptoms worse but dry skin is not a proven cause of Keratosis Pilaris.
So, why do we get it?
KP usually becomes apparent during childhood and is most likely to affect the upper arms, front of the thighs and sides of the cheeks.The size of the bumps is said to increase and decrease over a period of months and can fluctuate in different hormonal states, such as pregnancy.
How To Minimise The Appearance Of Keratosis Pilaris
Even without therapy, the condition tends to become less prominent with age, although this is not always the case. In light of the genetic predisposition there is unfortunately no cure for KP. And while there is no miracle remedy to clear it up entirely, there are a number of different things sufferers can do to improve how Keratosis Pilaris looks and feels.
1) Avoid Harsh Soaps And Body Washes
When it comes to shower gel, we want them to lather up a treat, smell gorgeous and look pretty by the side of the tub, but if you suffer with Keratosis Pilaris, it might be a good idea to swap your current body wash out for something gentler.
According to dermatologists, using bland, fragrance-free cream or emollient cleansers will reduce dryness and make Keratosis Pilaris feel a little less rough, so you can forget the shudder-worthy feeling that comes with catching the skin on your arms when you pull on a jumper - ugh.
2) Choose The Right Body Lotion
While there's nothing like slathering on a luxurious, skin-quenching body oil after a shower, it might be a good idea to swap your current hydrator for something packed with exfoliators and humectants.
We're talking alpha hydroxy acids (e.g. lactic and glycolic acid to exfoliate the top layer of skin), beta hydroxy acids (like salicylic acid which penetrates pores and breaks down the keratin that leads to clogging), as well as urea, an ingredient which keeps moisture under lock and key in the skin. But whatever you choose, there's a clever knack to it applying it. After showering, a moisturising cream or lotion should be applied to damp skin in a downward direction - the same direction as the hair growth.
I love this one - AMELIORATE Fragrance Free Transforming Body Lotion
3) Incorporate A Physical Exfoliator Into Your Shower Routine
Acids aren't the only route to super-soft skin. Gentle manual exfoliation with a loofah or sponge will also help.
But how often should you be doing it?
A couple of times a week in the bath or shower has been shown in dermatological studies to improve results But remember - Vigorous scouring, however, is likely to cause irritation and should be discouraged. Ouch!
4) Try A Retinol Treatment
There's no denying retinol is the gold-standard when it comes to skincare. I love it - i would literally bathe in the stuff if i could! Not only does regular use have the ability to minimise the appearance of acne, fine lines and hyper-pigmentation but it works a treat to smooth Keratosis Pilaris, too.
This one is a firm fav - Paula's Choice Resist Retinol Skin Smoothing Body Treatment
So what are you waiting for? Its time to smooth out those bumps and enjoy smoother skin this summer! Buh-Bye Bumps!