Keratosis Pilaris (Bumps on Skin)

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Keratosis pilaris (or also called follicular keratosis or sometimes “chicken skin”) is very common among people. Keratosis pilaris is those bumps you get on your skin. They are small, hard bumps. The color can be white, red, skin tone…colors can vary. It is harmless and non-irritating so far as symptoms go. It is usually on your thighs, upper arms, cheeks, and bum.


What Is It?

I have had people who have this tell me that this was eczema–it isn’t. Anyone who has had (or had a child whose had) real eczema can quickly see the two are very different. 


I have keratosis pilaris. So do Kaitlyn and Brinley. If you read up on this condition, you will read things like that it will eventually go away–typically by 30. I have not found this to be true in my case. 


It really isn’t more than a cosmetic issue. I haven’t worried much about it. Kaitlyn has it on her forearms, and she has grown into an age where she is concerned about things like that. The forearms are definitely more noticeable than the upper arms or thighs. Because she wasn’t liking it, I did some consulting with her doctor and some reading up on it. 


Keratosis pilaris is basically when your body has a build-up of kertin. This keratin blocks a hair follicle so it plugs up. Dry skin seems to make the problem worse. 


How Do You Fix It?

You can’t fix it, but you can improve it. There are prescription creams your doctor can prescribe to you. I have opted to just do what we can to mitigate the problem with over-the-counter solutions.


I figured since it is worsened by dry skin, a good effort would be to alleviate the dry skin. Our pediatrician agreed. You can do that with (this post contains affiliate links. This does not increase your cost):

An essential step I have found is some form of exfoliation. I like to use a Pouf Bath Sponge. I use it with Dove body wash (again, I am sure exact brand varies from skin type to skin type. I love Dove for my dry skin). You wash well using those two items. You then lotion up well afterward. Once I revisited this method (used it years ago, but let’s be honest. A pouf (loofah) just takes a longer time to rinse out than you want to spend as a mom), I quickly saw that it worked well. Santa brought a loofa and some Dove body wash to each of my girls. Since then, they have been using this and their keratosis pilaris is noticeably improved.  



Keratosis pilaris is something you have to accept in life, but there are a few simple things you can do to help minimize the symptoms. Give it a try and I am sure you will see improvement!


Of course, always consult with your doctor on medical conditions. This is not a substitute for a doctor. 


Do you have any tricks to help with keratosis pilaris?

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Valerie, also known as The Babywise Mom, is the mother to four children. She has been blogging on Babywise and general parenting since 2007. She has a degree in technical writing and loves using those skills to help parents be the best parents they can be! Read her book, The Babywise Mom Nap Guide, to get help on sleep from birth through the preschool years. You can also find her writing at, Today Parenting, and Her View From Home. Read more about Valerie and her family on the About page. Follow her on FacebookPinterest, and Instagram for more tips and helps.

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  1. Jessie
    January 7, 2016 / 3:03 AM

    As a teenager I had it on my jaw line and the backs of my upper arms. What worked was using apricot scrub! It has since left my face (thankfully!) but will faithfully reappear on my arms and legs every winter. I pull out the apricot scrub and it doesn't go away completely, but it's definitely improved.

  2. Boris
    January 4, 2017 / 4:28 AM

    My daughter has had this on her upper arms. It started to get really bad when she was a little over a year. Took her in for an allergy test, came back with a mild egg allergy. We've cut them out of her diet and this has practically disappeared. Occasionally she gets slight flares, but maybe someone messed up on the egg along the way. Her ear infections cleared up too.

  3. Unknown
    February 23, 2017 / 11:24 PM

    I believe you should research celiac disease as well as any information you can find on the harms of gluten.

  4. Unknown
    February 23, 2017 / 11:24 PM

    I believe you should research celiac disease as well as any information you can find on the harms of gluten.

  5. nadia Pickens
    June 2, 2017 / 6:05 AM

    Retin-A cream, salicylic acid scrub, and salicylic cleanser(I use Mary Kay Clear Proof for my entire body) has helped me tremendously!I exfoliate with a salicylic acid scrub in the shower then right after I dry off I use the cream. I do this every other day. On the off days, I wash just with the Mary Kay Clear Proof cleanser as my body wash. On a scale from 1-10. Mine was an 8. Now it is a 2 out of 10!

  6. Carey
    September 2, 2018 / 1:16 PM

    1 tablespoon of Udo’s Oil cleared up mine completely, for as long as I was taking it. Eventually I quit taking it, because I hate drinking oil, but it did work. I’ve tried other omega oil formulas, but nothing else seemed to do anything. BTW, I have no interest in the company. Just wanted to share something that worked for me.

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