Layers of clothing are coming off now that we are heading out of winter and into warmer weather, and arms and legs are coming out of hibernation, with skin more visible to our own keen eyes. Is skin appearing bumpy and looking like chicken skin? Are scattered, patchy rashes of very small bumps or pimples appearing on the skin leaving it looking and feeling dry and rough? It can look like permanent goosebumps which may be white, reddish/pinkish, skin-toned or darker than your skin. Sometimes they may feel itchy.
This is a very common skin condition called Keratosis Pilaris, which affects adolescents and adults, typically appearing on the upper arms, front of thighs, back and the bottom. Although it may cause some embarrassment/anxiety, knocking your confidence, and can be stubborn, it is harmless, pain-free (although it sometimes may feel itchy) and not infectious. Unfortunately, there is no real cure for it but today we’re uncovering some of the causes of Keratosis Pilaris which may help you to prevent it plus some top tips for taking care of your skin if and when you experience this.
WHAT CAUSES KERATOSIS PILARIS?
Keratin is an important component of our skin; responsible for holding our skin cells together to help create the skin’s barrier to protect against infections and environmental aggressors. It also helps our skin to be supple and is found in our hair and nails. We have keratinocyte cells in the middle layer of the skin’s epidermis which produce this protein naturally. Keratosis Pilaris happens as a result of keratin build-up in the hair follicles of our skin.
It isn’t completely clear why the body may overproduce keratin, however, it is thought that inflammation, poor circulation and genetics/genetic skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis can all play a part. Women seem to get this more than men and those who have dry sensitive skin or suffer from eczema, or are experiencing hormonal changes during pregnancy or menopause are also more prone to it. This condition also tends to be better in the summer than in the winter months which could be because we hydrate ourselves more, move more and wear looser clothing.
Our Founder has this to say about her experience of keratosis pilaris
“I have Keratosis Pilaris on the backs of my arms, legs, and bottom, and they come and go seemingly without rhyme nor reason. But, when I stop and observe when they have made an appearance and link it to what is happening in my life, it becomes clear it is because my routine has changed somewhat. For example, if I’ve been moving less and sitting more, haven’t been exfoliating regularly, have been scratching my skin absentmindedly making it worse or if my shower/body care product has perfume in it. I have also come to accept that this is a part of my life, and I don’t get as embarrassed about it as I used to.”
HOW TO GET RID OF KERATOSIS PILARIS
Persistence is key when it comes to improving Keratosis Pilaris. Discover some of our favourite natural solutions below which work over time if used consistently…
- Only have cool or lukewarm showers/baths. Limit the time you take so that you don’t remove the body’s natural oils. Then pat your skin dry rather than rubbing it.
- Exfoliate with a natural scrub and a shower mitt, but be gentle. It is important to remove those dead skin cells and unclog those hair follicles. Exfoliating will also help the skin to maintain moisture levels.
- Use a dry body brush using a natural bristle brush, focusing on your bottom, legs and backs of arms where the bumps appear. Again be gentle so as to not irritate the skin.
- Moisturise your skin daily using natural products (mild and un-perfumed) and one that will let your skin breathe. Our Founder recommends following with body oil like ours a few times a week to nourish skin whilst letting it breathe, to seal in moisture, and to help with the following step.
- Massage the skin to boost circulation and to help unclog pores.
- Avoid wearing tight clothing as this may cause friction and further irritation.
- Use a home humidifier. Adding moisture to the air in a room will help you maintain moisture in your skin and prevent any itchy flare-ups.
- Accept that this is your skin – it is normal for skin to have bumps, lumps, stretch marks et al, and no one notices it more than you. Be kind to yourself, your skin is beautiful.
DO YOU GET KERATOSIS PILARIS SKIN?
We’d love for you to tell us your top tips for getting rid of or embracing it in a comment below!