Those little red bumps (keratosis pilaris) on my arms and legs – does anything help?

Hi. I'm 18 years old, and have been bothered with keratosis pilaris. It is making me very self conscious, and it has gotten to the point where I avoid wearing short-sleaved shirts, shorts and short skirts. I know that this skin condition is improved by warm humid weather, but that kind is very rare here in Norway. it's pretty much always cold. I have tried all kinds of lotions, scrubbing and heating, but nothing ever seem to really help. Do you have ideas to recommend? I'll try pretty much any thing. -Lily

There is good news and bad new on this.  The bad news is that this really is genetic and you will always have the tendency toward it.  Make sure your Vitamin D intake and blood levels are normal. 

The good news is that there are things that help.  Over-scrubbing can make this worse.  Exfoliate or use a loofah just once a week.  Also avoid clothing that is tight and rubs. Unfortunately tight jeans will usually make it worse.

Try to find something like the Carmol 40 here in the US –  it is a 40% urea lotion which is very safe and helps to dissolve the little plugs.  Use it nightly on the areas.  If the area is now softer and smoother but still a little red, you can use the nonprescription hydrocortisome 0.5% 5 days a week.  Take 2 days off a week or it will stop working.   For redness, another helpful and very safe cream is Biafine,  which is a prescription in the U.S.      Hope this helps, Dr. I

Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

Ask me your skincare question!

Hi, I’m Dr. Irwin. I believe that consumers deserve a medically trained and unbiased skincare advocate.

  • All our content is written and researched by myself.
  • My medical office in Seattle has treated thousands of patients for 15+ years.
  • This site is not affiliated or financially tied to any product, treatment or device.
Ask Me Something
SkinTour Skincare
One of the best investments in your skin is your daily skincare. Why? Because you can prevent many problems with blotchy skin color, lack of glow, texture, some types of acne, and fine lines with good skincare products. You can also correct some of these problems with effective skincare products. Great skincare is often more expensive because quality ingredients are expensive. Some companies spend on research/development which benefits all of us and adds to the cost. Are they worth it? In general - yes! I have handpicked some of what I consider to be the best skin care products, and offer them for sale on SkinTour's shop. This is based on my team and I's testing and research at our clinic. Many of the products are in my own regimen. What could be better than using skin care products a dermatologist uses?!