The Best Products for Keratosis Pilaris Treatment, According to Dermatologists
Dealing with keratosis pilaris (also popularly known as KP) on your arms can be incredibly frustrating — especially if you don't know how to make the rough and bumpy patches go away and stay away.
If you're unfamiliar with the common skin condition, keratosis pilaris "is caused by a buildup of keratin in the pores, which can clog the opening of the hair follicles," explains Melanie Palm, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist at Art of Skin MD in Solana Beach, California.
Keratosis pilaris bumps on your arm are "a dry skin marker," according to Corey L. Hartman, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist in Alabama. The skin condition has to do with "the lack of moisturization and effective exfoliation in areas that don't have adequate oil supply," says Dr. Hartman. (More: How to Decode Skin Conditions, Rashes, and Bumps On Your Vagina)
The upper arms are one such area without a lot of oil supply, but keratosis pilaris can also occur on the thighs and on the back according to Dr. Hartman. Children can sometimes experience it on their faces, he adds.
As mentioned above, some of the hallmark symptoms of KP include rough and bumpy skin. "That's what people complain about," says Dr. Hartman. "Sometimes [the skin will] itch. It might get inflamed from time to time, especially if the weather's really dry, but generally, it's more like a feeling that people don't like and their skin just doesn't look smooth."
While there's no cure for KP on the arms, the good news is that it can be treated and managed, according to Dr. Hartman. Keratosis pilaris should be treated by a dermatologist, but the correct skin-care formulas can make "a big difference" in reducing the appearance of the bumps, adds Dr. Palm. When considering what keratosis pilaris treatment products to use (in tandem with your doc) hydration, moisturization, and exfoliation are key, according to Dr. Hartman.
What to Look for In a Keratosis Pilaris Arms Treatment
When it comes to moisturizers to help treat keratosis pilaris, the most effective formulas contain humectants, emollients, and occlusive ingredients, says Blair Murphy-Rose M.D., a board-certified cosmetic and medical dermatologist at Laser & Skin Surgery Center of New York. "Look for ingredients such as ceramides, shea butter, petrolatum, dimethicone, glycerin, and hyaluronic acid. For my KP patients, I typically recommend moisturizers that contain exfoliators for a 2-in-1," says Dr. Murphy-Rose.
Skin-care products that help restore the skin barrier and those that contain hydroxy-acid-containing to encourage exfoliation can be helpful too, says Dr. Hartman.
Consistency, in terms of how frequently you use these products for keratosis pilaris treatment, is also key when it comes to effectively treating KP, notes Dr. Murphy-Rose.
"I tell all of my patients with keratosis pilaris that the most important thing is to be religious about your KP regimen," says Dr. Murphy-Rose. "Keratosis pilaris is stubborn and can be difficult to treat. If you moisturize twice a day every day and adhere to a solid exfoliation routine, you should see a significant improvement."
Need some help actually selecting products to use for keratosis pilaris treatment on your arms? Keep scrolling to check out six dermatologist-approved products to treat those pesky bumps on your arms.