Keratosis Pilaris aka Strawberry Legs
Keratosis Pilaris (KP) also known as “strawberry legs”, “chicken skin,” “bumpy skin”, is a very common but harmless skin condition. Although some people experience discomfort or itching as a result of KP, most people are just annoyed by the look and rough skin texture. KP usually occurs on the upper arms, thighs, and buttocks, although sometimes it can affect the face too.
Keratosis pilaris can occur at any age and affect anyone. It can worsen during pregnancy and after childbirth. It generally affects women more often than men. Keratosis pilaris may disappear or improve with age.
What causes Keratosis Pilaris?
KP is caused by a keratin buildup in hair follicles. The cause of this keratin build-up is unknown, however people with dry skin are more likely to develop KP. It occurs more often during the winter months when the air is dry.
You are more likely to develop keratosis pilaris if you have:
- A family history
- Dry skin
- Excess body weight
- Hay fever/seasonal allergies
While there is no cure for KP, certain treatments and skincare products can help improve and even temporary eliminate KP.
- AHA exfoliation – use gentle AHA cleansers (ie glycolic, lactic acids) to remove dead skin cells.
- Use a rich oil-free moisturiser to hydrate your skin and prevent keratin buildup.
- Try urea-based creams (eczema creams and moisturises can be very effective)
- Be patient – it can take a while to see results. If your bumps go away, it is important to continue with the treatment, as KP often returns when treatment is stopped.
- Use a humidifier to increase the humidity of your environment.
- Use harsh scrubs. Scrubbing won’t remove bumps and rough texture, it will only irritate the skin and will make it worse.
- Avoid hot showers. Long and hot showers can strip your skin of natural oils and make it dryer – a big no no if you suffer from KP.
- Pat dry (don’t rub) your skin after showering or bathing.
Many of our clients suffering from keratosis pilaris on their legs have noticed a significant improvement after laser hair removal. It makes sense, as laser destroys hair follicles – the primary place of keratin blockage. Without hair follicles, keratin cannot build up, therefore no bump/irritation occurs.
While the laser is not a guaranteed cure for keratosis pilaris, it has been shown to be a very effective treatment for decreasing the rough texture and uneven look of the skin.