As a host beauty editor for On Magazine, Dr. Fiona Wright has published a series of Q & A articles in response to emailed questions, sometimes with collaborations by other medical colleagues in her network. She would now like to share the information with everyone!
Q: I have been told that I have Keratosis Pilaris (small red bumps) on the back of my arms. I am getting married and would like to know how to get rid of them.
-S. Trussell, Allen, TX
A: Keratosis Pilaris is a common skin condition. Although it isn’t serious, it can be frustrating because it is difficult to treat. It is particularly common on the upper arms of teenagers. It may remain for years, but generally it will gradually disappear before age 30. The cause is an accumulation of dead skin (keratin) that plugs the hair follicle. These appear as small pimples that have a dry, “sandpaper” feeling.
Treatment is directed at softening and removing the keratin deposits. Initial treatment should be intensive moisturizing. It is best to use a moisturizer with a medicated cream containing urea (Curel, Carmol-20). Glycolic (Aqua Glycolic) or lactic acid (Lacticare). Soaking in a hot bath and rubbing the area with a washcloth or loofah-type scrub will also help unplug the pores.
In persistent cases, you may want to consult your doctor to get a more concentrated cream (Glytone-KP Kit, Lachydrin). Tazorac cream can also be prescribed for more severe conditions.
Remember, some unsightly skin conditions only require a little attention to get great looking skin.
-Fiona Wright M.D.