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Keratosis Pilaris

AMBULATORY CARE:

Keratosis pilaris

is a skin condition that causes bumps to form on your skin. The bumps may look like goose bumps or like raised red spots. They usually form on the arms or thighs, but they can also form on the face. The bumps develop because of clogged hair follicles on the skin. Keratosis pilaris can happen at any age but usually affects children. It is common in adolescents because of skin changes that happen during puberty.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have new or worsening bumps on your skin.
  • You continue to have bumps on your skin, even after treatment.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Treatment

is usually not needed. Medicines may help improve how your skin looks, and prevent the bumps from coming back. The medicines come in creams or lotions you apply to your skin. You may need a prescription for some medicines. Your healthcare provider will tell you which cream or lotion to use. Keep applying the medicine for as long as directed, even if your skin clears up sooner. The bumps may return if you stop the treatment. You may also be given steroid medicine to apply to your skin to relieve itching.

Manage your symptoms:

The bumps might look like acne, but it is not acne. Do not use acne medicine on your skin. Some acne medicine may irritate your skin and make the bumps worse. The following can help you manage your symptoms until the bumps go away:

  • Be gentle when you wash your skin. Do not scrub the bumps. Gently wash with mild soap and warm water. Do not use hot water. Use soap that does not contain a scent. Pat your skin dry after you bathe.
  • Put a gentle moisturizer on your skin. This will help soften your skin. Use the moisturizer 2 times each day, or as directed. Choose a moisturizer that is made for sensitive skin and does not contain a scent.
  • Use a humidifier in your home. Dry air can worsen the bumps on your skin.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Keratosis Pilaris (Ambulatory Care)

Micromedex® Care Notes

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Mayo Clinic Reference

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