Up until he was about 2 years old, my son had no skin problems. Then, suddenly, he developed this odd rash that looked like goose bumps all over his chest, back and arms. It wasn’t red or itchy, but we assumed it must be a contact rash of some sort. We tried moisturizers, changing soaps, and changing laundry detergent among other things. Nothing seemed to work. It turns out my toddler had what’s called keratosis pilaris, sometimes referred to as chicken skin.
What the heck is keratosis pilaris?
That’s certainly the question I asked. Keratosis pilaris is a skin disorder characterized by raised bumps that resemble goose bumps or chicken skin. It is most commonly seen on the arms and back. These rough bumps are caused by a buildup of keratin in the skin which blocks the hair follicle. Keratin is a naturally occurring protein in the body that forms the structural layer of the outer surface of the skin. Your fingernails and hair are also made up of keratin. Keratosis pilaris is believed to be genetic, and is seen more often in families with a history of skin conditions such as eczema. While unsightly, it’s also harmless and very common. It’s estimated up to 80 percent of the population suffers from chicken skin at some point to some degree.
How can you get rid of chicken skin?
Naturally, as a mom, that was my second question. It may not bother him at all, but his skin felt rough and looked awful. There is no cure for keratosis pilaris, as it’s genetic, it can’t be prevented. It does commonly resolve itself by age 30 and fades over time though.
-We first purchased an exfoliating glove. Our toddler disliked the roughness off loufas, so this was a nice alternative. Exfoliation in the bath seemed to help tremendously.
-Dryness also seemed to make the bumps worse, so avoiding habits that typically dry the skin out helps. This means warm rather than hot baths, moisturizing regularly, using mild soaps, using a humidifier, and avoiding cold weather as much as possible.
-A good exfoliating lotion used after baths nearly wiped the bumps out entirely. Lotions that contain urea, lactic acid, glycolic acid, vitamin D, salicylic acid and/or tretinion are recommended. We choose AmLactin, a lotion containing 12 percent lactic acid and started giving him vitamin D supplements. The lotion is a bit spendy at $18.99 a bottle, but its effect was impressive. We saw the skin clear up almost entirely after one application.
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