Eczema is a common skin condition that affects roughly 10-20% of the population. But have you heard of keratosis pilaris? Sometimes called “chicken skin,” this is also a common skin condition characterized by rough patches with bumps that appear on the skin. Read on to discover the difference between eczema vs keratosis pilaris, as well as how to treat both.
Please keep in mind that although what we discuss in this post can relieve eczema, we are in no way medical professionals. If you’re experiencing severe eczema symptoms like an infection, it is best to seek medical advice immediately.
Eczema is an inflammatory skin condition that results in red, dry and extremely itchy skin. It develops as a result of a damaged skin barrier that has trouble retaining moisture, hence the excessively dry skin.
Although eczema typically appears during childhood, it can occur in adults as well. There is no known cause for eczema, but researchers believe it develops because of a combination of genetic and environmental factors, including sweat, extreme temperatures, certain fabrics like wool or polyester, pet fur, pollen, and even different foods.
Understanding Keratosis Pilaris
As mentioned earlier, Keratosis Pilaris (KP) is sometimes referred to as ‘chicken skin’ because of its goose-bump like appearance. Unlike eczema which can often be very painful and itchy, KP is painless and benign. The bumps appear around the hair follicles, often making it difficult to differentiate between follicular eczema and keratosis pilaris, and may be red, white, or brown in color.
While the condition normally appear on the upper arms, you may also find it on your legs, cheeks, or buttocks. Those with pre-existing conditions of eczema, allergies, or asthma are more likely to develop KP. It’s also more likely to affect young people, worsening around puberty. Those with lighter skin tones or who have a higher body weight are also at a higher risk.
Similarities: Eczema vs Keratosis Pilaris
Contrary to popular belief, neither eczema nor keratosis pilaris is contagious. Neither condition has a cure, however, there are ways to manage symptoms and improve the skin’s appearance. Like eczema, KP tends to worsen during the winter months when the air is dryer. It may also worsen during pregnancy.
Natural Treatments for Your Skin
Apply a Moisturizing Cream: When dealing with dry skin, applying a moisturizer regularly is an important part of keeping the skin hydrated. We love this Organic Manuka Skin Soothing Cream because it’s gentle enough to use anywhere on the body for all ages – including babies. This creamy, oil-based balm is made with just six, all-natural ingredients that were handpicked for their known soothing abilities. Keeping the skin properly hydrated will help combat the itchiness caused by dryness.
Gently Exfoliate: It might seem counterintuitive to exfoliate irritated skin, but doing so is actually helpful for improving the appearance of the skin. This is because exfoliating can help remove dry and dead skin cells. The build-up of these dead skin cells can exacerbate eczema symptoms or contribute to blocking the opening of hair follicles.
Shower Smart: When dealing with sensitive skin, hot water can actually do more harm than good. That’s why it’s important to think about your current washing technique. We recommend taking shorter showers and baths, as well as using warm water instead of hot. This will help unclog and loosen pores without stripping the skin of its natural, protective oils. Be sure to wash with natural soap to avoid further irritating your skin with harmful toxins or chemicals. We recommend this Grass Fed Tallow Soap. It’s moisturizing, nourishing, and perfect for allergy-prone or sensitive skin. When drying your body, make sure to pat dry with a towel to avoid unnecessary rubbing.
Stop Scratching: While it can be tempting to scratch or pick at your skin, it’s important to resist to avoid further exacerbating symptoms. Unfortunately, this is often easier said than done. That’s why we love these protective Remedywear™ gloves for adults and kids. Made with breathable, moisture-wicking fabric, they’re perfect for wearing throughout the day or during the night when you have less control over your actions. Featuring the perfect amount of latex-free elastane, there’s no need to worry about the gloves sliding out of place.
Laura is a contributor and content developer for It’s An Itchy Little World. She is in no way a medical professional. Her comments, suggestions, and reflections are not intended to replace any medical advice. Always seek the help of a medical professional before undertaking any diet or lifestyle changes. Please see It’s An Itchy Little World’s disclaimer for information about affiliate links and more.