Treating Keratosis Pilaris

Scaly Bumps often Occurring on Arms


The name for common scaly bumps that most often occur on the backs of the arms is ‘keratosis pilaris’. Keratosis pilaris typically occurs on the backs of the arms in people with an ‘atopic background’, which means those with atopic dermatitis (eczema), allergies (including hay fever), and asthma, or those with a family history of these conditions. Keratosis pilaris may occur on other areas of the body such as the legs and trunk. If one looks closely at these bumps, they occur at the location of the hair follicles. Tiny protrusions of keratin stick out from the opening of the hair follicle. Keratin is the protein that makes up the scaly surface-layer of skin. Many people try to remove these little keratinous plugs as if they are whiteheads, but they are not easily removed. Sometimes the bumps of keratosis pilaris can become irritated, red, and inflamed.


Although, people can have this condition for many years or even most of their life, it is easily controlled. Alpha-hydroxy acid lotions and creams work wonders at smoothing keratosis pilaris, just as they smooth the surface of dry, scaly skin. If they are very red and inflamed, I often add a short course of a steroid ointment to the treatment regimen, to calm the irritation. Some of the newer alpha-hydroxy acids work wonders on keratosis pilaris. I have had dramatic success with some of the newer alpha-hydroxy acids.


To answer your specific questions or schedule a consultation, call Dr. Bernstein today at 610-645-5551.


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