Keratosis pilaris

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Keratosis pilaris
Classification and external resources
Keratosis pilaris rubra on a right upper arm.
ICD-9 757.39
OMIM 604093
DiseasesDB 32387
MedlinePlus 001462
eMedicine ped/1246  derm/211

Keratosis pilaris (KP, also follicular keratosis) is a very common genetic follicular condition that is manifested by the appearance of rough bumps on the skin, hence referred to as chicken skin. It most often appears on the back and outer sides of the upper arms (though the lower arms can also be affected), and can also occur on the thighs and tops of legs, flanks, buttocks, or any body part except glabrous skin (like the palms or soles of feet).[1] Less commonly, lesions appear on the face, which may be mistaken for acne.[2]


[edit] Classification

There are several different types of keratosis pilaris, including keratosis pilaris rubra (red, inflamed bumps), alba (rough, bumpy skin with no irritation), rubra faciei (reddish rash on the cheeks), and related disorders.[3]

[edit] Symptoms and signs

Keratosis pilaris occurs when the human body produces excess keratin, a natural protein in the skin. The excess keratin surrounds and entraps the hair follicles in the pore. This causes the formation of hard plugs (process known as hyperkeratinization). The painless bumps are skin-colored, although they can become red and inflamed at times. Usually many plugs form in an area, causing patches of rough, bumpy skin. This gives the skin a sandpaper or goose flesh appearance.[4] This may be more severe in the winter or times of low humidity, which causes the skin to become dry. It will eventually resolve on its own.[5]

Many KP bumps contain an ingrown hair that has coiled. This is a result of the keratinized skin's "capping off" the hair follicle, preventing the hair from exiting. The hair, then, grows inside the follicle, often encapsulated. The hair can be removed, much like an ingrown hair, though removal can lead to scarring.[6]

Keratosis pilaris may be hereditary. It is present in babies and continues into adulthood, but is uncommon in elderly people. It is most obvious during the teenage years. KP is prevalent in those who have atopic dermatitis, ichthyosis, or descend from Celtic backgrounds. Keratosis pilaris occurs in otherwise healthy people.[7]

[edit] Treatment

There is no cure for Keratosis pilaris, but treatment is available. One option is to use a loofa to remove the dead, dry skin. Another option is to use a dermatologist-prescribed cream or lotion that should be applied daily. The best lotions for this condition would contain urea, 15% alphahydroxy acids, or Retin A. Over-the-counter lotions work also and should be applied after showering, as well as several times a day.[8] These lotions are often soothing and can help improve the appearance of the skin. [9] Dermatologists also recommend mild peeling agents, or alpha hydroxy acids, that may open up the plugged follicles. Antibiotics may also help in some cases where the bumps are red and badly inflamed.[10] To temporarily reduce redness but not roughness, pulse dye laser treatment or intense pulsed light (IPL) can be performed.[11]

Although it may clear up with treatment, recurrence of KP is very likely. Therefore, treatment should be continued regularly. It may take several months to years for the condition to completely subside.

A dermatologist or physician can usually diagnose a patient for Keratosis pilaris by visually inspecting the patient's skin. Some dermatologists will prescribe Lac-Hydrin, which has shown positive results.[12]

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^ Alai, Nili. "Keratosis Pilaris (KP)". MedicineNet. Retrieved on 2008-10-06. 
  2. ^ Berman, Kevin. "Keratosis pilaris". MedlinePlus. Retrieved on 2008-19-06. 
  3. ^ Oakley, Amanda (2008-04-08). "Keratosis pilaris". Dept of Dermatology Health Waikato. 
  4. ^ Gibson, Lawrence (2006-08-02). "Keratosis pilaris". Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. Retrieved on 2008-07-11. 
  5. ^ Sams, Peter (2008-06-11). "Keratosis Pilaris – Symptoms, Causes and Treatment". California Chronicle. Retrieved on 2008-11-15. 
  6. ^ Alai, Nili; Arash Michael Saemi, Raul Del Rosario (2008-09-17). "Keratosis Pilaris". eMedicine. Retrieved on 2008-11-17. 
  7. ^ Gibson, Lawrence (2008-06-11). "Keratosis pilaris". Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. Retrieved on 2008-11-15. 
  8. ^ McFarlane-Parrott, Sally (2006-08-14). "Keratosis pilaris". Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine (Gale Group). Retrieved on 2008-11-18. 
  9. ^ Lehrer, Michael (2006-05-03). "Keratosis pilaris". A.D.A.M. (University of Pennsylvania Medical Center). Retrieved on 2008-11-18. 
  10. ^ Luchetti, Mary (2006-12-20). "Keratosis Pilaris". iVillage Inc. Retrieved on 2008-11-18. 
  11. ^ Oakley, Amanda (2008-04-08). "Keratosis pilaris". DermNet. Retrieved on 2008-11-18. 
  12. ^ Luchetti, Mary (2006-12-20). "Keratosis Pilaris". iVillage Inc. Retrieved on 2008-11-18. 

[edit] External links

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