Lifestyle and home remedies

Self-help measures won't prevent keratosis pilaris or make it go away. But they may improve the appearance of the affected skin.

  • Use warm water and limit bath time. Hot water and long showers or baths remove oils from the skin. Limit bath or shower time to about 10 minutes or less. Use warm, not hot, water.
  • Be gentle to the skin. Avoid harsh, drying soaps. Gently remove dead skin (exfoliate) with a washcloth or loofah. Vigorous scrubbing or removal of hair follicle plugs may irritate the skin and aggravate the condition. After washing or bathing, gently pat or blot the skin with a towel so that some moisture remains.
  • Try medicated creams. Apply an over-the-counter cream that contains urea (Nutraplus, Eucerin), lactic acid (AmLactin, Lac-Hydrin), alpha hydroxy acid or salicylic acid. These creams help loosen and remove dead skin cells. They also moisturize and soften dry skin. Put on this product before moisturizer.
  • Moisturize. While the skin is still moist from bathing, apply a moisturizer that contains lanolin (Lansinoh, Medela), petroleum jelly (Vaseline) or glycerin (Glysolid). These ingredients soothe dry skin and help trap moisture. Thicker moisturizers work best, such as Eucerin and Cetaphil. Reapply the product to the affected skin several times a day.
  • Use a humidifier. Low humidity dries out the skin. A portable home humidifier or one attached to your furnace will add moisture to the air inside your home.
  • Avoid friction from tight clothes. Protect affected skin from the friction caused by wearing tight clothes.