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

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