Keratosis pilaris can occur at any age, although it's particularly common in young children. Signs and symptoms include:
- Small white or red bumps, typically on the upper arms, legs, buttocks or cheeks
- Dry, rough and sometimes itchy skin in the areas with bumps
- Worsening in winter, when humidity is low and skin tends to be drier
Keratosis pilaris may be limited to individual, sandpaper-like bumps resembling goose flesh. In some cases, the bumps may become inflamed and cause scarring, especially on the face.
Gradually, keratosis pilaris usually resolves on its own.
When to see a doctor
Keratosis pilaris isn't often a serious medical condition, and treatment usually isn't necessary. However, if you're concerned about the appearance of your skin, consult your family doctor or a specialist in skin diseases (dermatologist). He or she can often make a diagnosis by examining your skin and the characteristic scaly plugs.
Jan. 08, 2013
- Kliegman RM, et al. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2011. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/208746819-6/0/1608/0.html. Accessed Nov.10, 2012.
- Keratosis pilaris. American Osteopathic College of Dermatology. http://www.aocd.org/skin/dermatologic_diseases/keratosis_pilaris.html. Accessed Nov. 10, 2012.
- Keratosis pilaris. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/print/dermatologic_disorders/cornification_disorders/keratosis_pilaris.html. Accessed Nov. 10, 2012.
- Castela E, et al. Papular, profuse, and precocious keratosis pilaris. Pediatric Dermatology. 2012;29:285.
- Wolff K, et al. Fitzpatrick's Color Atlas and Synopsis of Clinical Dermatology.6th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2009. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=45. Accessed Nov. 11, 2012.
- Gonzalez JA, et al. Keratosis pilaris rubra and keratosis pilaris atrophicans faciei treated with pulsed dye laser: Report of 10 cases. Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology. 2011;25:710.
- Dermatologists' top 10 tips for relieving dry skin. American Academy of Dermatology. http://www.skincarephysicians.com/agingskinnet/winter_skin.html. Accessed Nov.12, 2012.
- Gibson LE (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Nov. 26, 2012.
- Tretinoin. Micromedex Healthcare Series. http://www.micromedex.com. Accessed Nov. 27, 2012.
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