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Keratosis Pilaris

What is keratosis pilaris?

Keratosis pilaris is a common skin disorder. It is characterized by small, scaly pointed bumps on the skin. The bumps usually appear on the upper arms, thighs, and buttocks. The condition worsens in the winter and usually clears up in the summer. Keratosis pilaris has no known cause, but tends to run in families.

This disorder does not get worse over time. It is harmless, and often disappears as the person ages. 

Treatment for keratosis pilaris

Usually no treatment is necessary for keratosis pilaris. Treatment may include:

  • Using petroleum jelly with water, cold cream, urea cream, or salicylic acid (removes the top layer of skin) to flatten the pimples

  • Using a tretinoin cream (a medicine that is chemically related to vitamin A) 

Contact your healthcare provider if the condition does not respond to over-the-counter moisturizing lotions. Since this is a common, harmless skin condition, you can also discuss it with your healthcare provider during a routine office visit. 

Online Medical Reviewer: Goode, Paula, RN, BSN, MSN
Online Medical Reviewer: Lehrer, Michael Stephen, MD
Date Last Reviewed: 8/1/2016
© 2000-2017 The StayWell Company, LLC. 800 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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