Keratosis Pilaris

What is Keratosis Pilaris?

Also called follicular keratosis, this common skin condition is characterized by small spots that resemble goose bumps. It usually develops on the thighs, backs of the arms, or the buttocks. Follicular keratosis is not harmful, and it can affect people of all ages.

Causes and symptoms of follicular keratosis

Keratin, a hard protein, is a protective substance in the skin, which helps prevent infection or harmful substances from entering deep layers. When this protein builds up at excess levels, it can form scaly plugs in the hair follicles. In most cases, a large number of plugs will form, creating a patch of rough, bumpy skin.

The common symptoms of follicular keratosis include:
  • Small bumps, usually white in color.
  • In some instances, the bumps may be red or resemble acne.
  • Dry, rough patches of skin.
  • Inflammation and redness of the skin in the affected area.
  • In some cases there is itchiness.

Follicular keratosis diagnosis and treatment

There is no specific test for this skin condition. It is diagnosed with a thorough examination by an experienced dermatologist or other skin care expert.

In many cases, follicular keratosis will resolve naturally. It is most common in children, who typically outgrow it by adulthood. You can help control the condition by avoiding harsh cleansers, and keeping the area moist. Your doctor may also make recommendations such as:
  • Topical medications containing ammonium lactate at a concentration of 12 percent in a moisturizing base can help soften the affected area of skin.
  • Formulas containing urea can help the skin naturally release and shed dead cells.
  • Symptoms such as itching or discomfort can be temporarily lessened with corticosteroid medication.
  • Topical retinoids can be used to stimulate healthy skin cell rejuvenation, which reduces the likelihood of follicles becoming plugged.
If you are battling follicular keratosis or any other skin condition that is causing you discomfort or embarrassment, the team of professionals at Dr. W Dermatology is here to help. Call 281 771-0494 and schedule an appointment today. We will be happy to see you at our Katy or Houston office.