Keratosis Pilaris: Itchy Bumpy Red Skin

Episode #161 / Feb 24, 2010
Do you have itchy and bumpy red skin on your upper arms and legs? Then you might have keratosis pilaris, also known as chicken skin. Dr. Schultz explains why chicken skin occurs and how to easily treat it.
cheasty on February 25, 2010 at 12:26am

i've got a scar from an infected hair follicle on my leg. it's dark and raised, and i always cut it while shaving. how can i take care of this problem? can i get rid of it?

Neal Schultz, M.D. on February 25, 2010 at 11:15pm

@Cheasty: It sounds like a growth called a dermatofibroma which results from the infected hair follicle. If that's what it is, the only way to fix it is to have it excised (surgically removed) by a dermatologist or a surgeon.

crista on June 7, 2010 at 2:05pm

it has been years and years since I have keratosis pilaris and nobody ever suggesting exfoliating it (not even a dermatologist w/c my bro and I went to) bec. it's a hereditary condition, w/c means it can't be cured or taken out. I have the exact description of what my skin looks like in your video and I was wondering also if you could explain how much my bumps will decrease if i apply an exfoliant twice a day. thank you.

Neal Schultz, M.D. on June 10, 2010 at 4:28am

@Crista: In most of my patients they go away completely. If one understands the histopathology of KP, then gentle exfoliation is the logical (and in fact effective) solution. When exfoliation works, if one completely discontinues exfoliation, it may return.

MATILDA on June 28, 2010 at 8:28pm

my chicken skin is flat and black now how to get rid of it?? plz help!!

Neal Schultz, M.D. on June 29, 2010 at 2:18pm

@Matilda: Is the color really black or is it just brown and what is the normal color of your skin?

monika on July 9, 2010 at 8:51am

I've had this problem on my legs ever since I got pregnant. Now I am breastfeeding and my legs looks worse. My dermatologist advised me to exfoliate my skin using a sponge or gloves and moisturize after using urea lotion. I cant see any improvement...even maybe its now worse. What else can I do??

Neal Schultz, M.D. on August 2, 2010 at 9:38pm

@Monika: From your question I am not sure if your dermatologist believes you have keratosis pilaris. If in fact you do, I believe gentle chemical exfoliants like glycolic or lactic acid (lachydrin lotion) work better at removing the bumps than do physical exfoliants like sponges and gloves. If there is any redness left , over the counter cortisone creams can help the redness.