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What is Keratosis Pilaris aka Chicken Skin

By Edited Jun 24, 2015 0 0

Keratosis pilaris affects millions of people including children, teens and adults. Most people with keratosis pilaris are unaware of it and according to HelpforKP.com nearly half of all people have the condition somewhere on their body at some time.  This condition causes discomfort, itching and dryness. One of the most significant side effects of keratosis pilaris is the embarrassment associated with red raised bumps on your arms, legs, cheeks and buttocks.

What is Keratosis Pilaris?

Keratosis pilaris (KP) is a skin condition where the keratin inside the skin forms hard plugs in your hair follicles. These blockages are most common on the outside of the arms. Only a doctor can diagnose KP, so if you think you may have it check with your physician.

Symptoms of Keratosis Pilaris

Once you know the answer to the question, “what is Keratosis Pilaris,” you need to know how to spot the symptoms. The most common symptom is bumpy skin that is dry and sensitive. The bumps come in clusters or patches and the texture of the skin resembles that of a chicken. This is why the condition is also known as chicken skin. Other nicknames for the condition are goose skin and goose pimple skin.

Keratosis Pilaris Treatments

Keratosis pilaris treatments include salicylic acid, commonly used as an acne treatment, is one of the main ways to address keratosis pilaris. Salicylic acid goes down into the pore or follicle and helps clean it out and kill any bacteria.  Skin plagued with KP is usually dry, so moisturizer is also necessary. Two products on the market, AmLactin and DERMAdoctor provide both the moisture and the salicylic acid. Another way to treat this condition is to use a body wash with salicylic acid and then moisturize after drying off the skin.

Is There a Cure?

While there are effective treatments that will help improve KP, there is no cure. According to the National Institutes of Health, most people out grow KP by the time they reach their 30s. Some people, however, have KP their entire life. If you are lucky, you will forget when you had to ask, “what is keratosis pilaris,” because you will be free of the condition.

How Do I Know if I Will Get KP?

If you have eczema or atopic dermatitis, you are at greater risk for KP. Those with skin allergies are also more likely to experience KP. Like many similar conditions, there is a genetic link and your chance of experiencing KP is greater if you have multiple family members who have it.

In summary: what is keratosis pilaris? It’s a skin condition similar to acne with treatment options but no cure. 



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  1. "Keratosis Pilaris." National Institute of Health. 26/09/2011 <Web >
  2. "Help for KP." Help for KP. 28/09/2077 <Web >

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