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"Chicken skin" – Why keratosis pilaris can get worse in the winter

Photo of Keratosis Pilaris: (Source: American Academy of Dermatology)

Skin that has little raised, red or skin-colored pimply bumps (some say it looks like the skin of a plucked chicken) may have a condition called keratosis pilaris (KP). KP may be confused with body acne, and it most commonly appears on the upper arms, torso, and legs.

KP is a fairly common and benign skin condition that affects nearly 50-80% of adolescents and about 40% of adults, and it's found in people of all races and both genders. Dry, wintery conditions may make KP worse for some. Exact causes of KP are unknown.

Although there is no cure for KP, treatment plans from a board-certified dermatologist may provide reduction in the appearance of the 'bumps' and redness. Such treatments often include doctor-prescribed moisturizes that contain active ingredients (lactic acid) that specifically target the inflammation and excess keratin that comprise the condition. For some patients, they may need to try a few different options before finding one that is most helpful, and best results come from continued use of the product(s).

During the winter, increasing the humidity in your home and at work during dry winter months can also help. Sun exposure (with sunscreen) may also quiet KP, which is why for some, it can be less of a cosmetic nuisance in the summer. (Note: Indoor tanning is NEVER advised.)

The good news is that KP is pretty easy for a dermatologist to diagnose with just a visual exam – making it an ideal condition for convenient online dermatology visits, so that appointment waiting times and travel can be avoided.

Think you may have KP or need a doctor-prescribed treatment solution?

Start an online visit with a board-certified dermatologist now at: