How to Eradicate Keratosis Pilaris

how to get rid of keratosis pilaris

By Laura Dolgy

I’ll never forget the days I used to watch my dad pick away at his arms incessantly in our home bathroom. I was always so fascinated as to what he was doing. It wouldn’t be until a few years later when I started seeing those same pinkish/white dots on my arms that I would figure it out. And what a relief that was!

How to Get Rid of Keratosis Pilaris

Ever since I was 18, I’ve suffered from Keratosis Pilaris (KP). Many know it is as “chicken skin,” those small red bumps that appear most commonly on arms, thighs and legs. Although they are completely harmless, many sufferers are often left self-conscious due to their obvious, red or dark appearance.

Keratosis Pilaris is the result of built up keratin – a hard substance that protects the skin from infection. With KP, keratin ends up building up at the surface of the skin. This creates a plug that blocks the opening to the hair follicle, which results in a rough, bumpy texture. It seems like no one really understands why keratin builds up, yet some believe that it is genetic or associated with other skin conditions like eczema.

A quick search of the condition on Google will show you that there is no cure, but there is tons of discussion and research on how to get rid of keratosis pilaris. In fact, there are so many people living with the condition (seriously – who doesn’t have it these days?) that the product recommendations, suggestions and tips on the Web are endless. So endless that perhaps you don’t even know where to start. Well, the good news is you came to the right place! Although I’m in no way a medical professional, I’d like to tell you what worked for my skin and hopefully help you too!

  • Coconut Oil – I use coconut oil for absolutely everything. It’s extremely versatile and can be used in cooking, baking, beauty products, treatments and more. Coconut oil contains lauric acid, which helps break down the buildup of keratin! The oil is quite popular and can be found at several retailers. However, it’s important to opt for the organic extra virgin coconut oil, as you want the least amount of preservatives or additives as possible. Grab a spoonful (or handful) and gently rub in. It’s always best to lather it on either in the shower or right after, so that your pores are open. This Coconut Aloe Moisturizing Serum is amazing!
  • Exfoliate – I can’t tell you how important exfoliating is to get rid of keratosis pilaris! This is going to help improve the roughness and dryness of those little red bumps. There are several different ingredients and products you can use as exfoliants. Nutmeg has both moisturizing and exfoliating properties and can be mixed up with coconut oil for an even better remedy. Also if you tend to pick at your keratosis like I do, nutmeg is known to have curative properties that heal scars. You can also opt in for a pumice stone or exfoliating sponge/cloth to take in the shower with you.
  • Moisturize – Another important tip is to always moisturize. The keratin plug leaves skin very dry and often its buildup can give the look of inflamed skin. However, even with milder KP, it’s important to always apply a moisturizer after treatment, shower or before bed. Similar to the coconut oil, you want to opt for a product that has as little preservatives or additives as possible. Two natural products that work wonderfully are Manuka Honey Skin Cream and Grass Fed Tallow Balm. Manuka Honey Skin Cream is a great choice, as it is slowly absorbed by the skin, but not as greasy as coconut oil. Also Tallow offers fat-soluble vitamins that alleviate redness, inflammation and can help with scarring to.
  • Sun exposure – Although winter is known to be worse for KP, summer is the season where everyone starts noticing these little red bumps. Chlorine and salt water can cause dryness, but sun exposure also leads to peeling that temporarily exfoliates and somewhat camouflages KP. However, if you’re more olive or dark skinned, the bumps tend to darken in the sun and can remain even after the tan fades. Keep in mind that with summer comes lots of dryness, so make sure to constantly moisturize after sun exposure. A natural sunscreen made for sensitive skin like Badger Balm Unsented Sunblock will protect your skin from sun exposure, while keeping it moisturized. This is something I still struggle with every summer, but sticking to a proper and successful skin regimen is important and definitely helps! Read More: Best All Natural Sunscreens for Eczema
  • Diet – Lastly, know that what we eat, affects everything – especially your skin. It’s important to continue to eat properly and eat foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids such as fish, nuts, healthy oils and more. It’s also important to drink plenty of water to keep your skin nourished and hydrated. Many believe food sensitivities may trigger KP. Jennifer Roberge, The Eczema Company founder and owner of this blog, swears that her KP diminished greatly when she cut down on dairy years ago – but there’s no scientific proof on record about this. Curious about keratosis pilaris and diet? Try an elimination diet.

I should point out that overtime, I’ve managed to keep my KP and picking under control and my skin is both smooth and less spotty. I still have moments (like before writing this article coincidentally) that I pick at it, but I’ve cut down drastically.

These suggestions are definitely known to improve the look of KP, but it’s important to note that they might not work for everyone. Also, an improvement won’t happen overnight, so it’s important to continue a regimen that’s appropriate for your lifestyle and budget.

How do you get rid of Keratosis Pilaris? Leave your suggestions and tips below!

FROM: Eczema


  1. Danielle LeBaron on August 9, 2016 at 10:44 am

    Hi Laura,

    Thank you for the post. I’m so glad to hear someone caring about the tough, and often embarrassing skin conditions that I, and others I know, suffer from.

    I have always had extremely dry and itchy skin. I have gone through so many lotions, and while they help, it’s only temporarily. So, I tried the coconut oil and I am impressed. I just rubbed it in my skin and didn’t even have to wash it off, and now my skin feels great and isn’t itchy.

    I have some friends who add a little sugar to their coconut oil and use it as an exfoliant. Have you tried this? You mentioned nutmeg, I wonder if I could add some nutmeg to a sugar coconut oil mixture and get the same results?

    • Jennifer Roberge on August 9, 2016 at 2:07 pm

      I’m sure it wouldn’t hurt – might be worth a try!

  2. AllergyEasy on August 29, 2016 at 12:17 am

    For a health enthusiast person like me, it’s very important to me to know any kind of allergies that can possibly happen to me. This is to make sure that just in case it will happen, I know what to do and how to cure it. Thanks for explaining to us about this kind of allergy. It really makes a lot of sense.

  3. MAP on December 3, 2017 at 12:57 am

    I have had this condition since I was about 10 years old. I am now 20. I went to my dermatologist at the age of 10 over it because I kept having extremely itching to the point where I would scratch my skin raw and make it bleed. I have these bumps all over my body still to this day but I can easily manage the itching now. My doctor told me to start taking Zyrtec every single day. He said any kind of antihistamine would work to stop the uncontrollable itch. He also told me that with taking the Zyrtec, my body will not become immune to it so I will be able to take it forever. I have taken 1 Zyrtec (even use the generic brand) every day since I was 10. Still to this day, if I miss one dose of it I’m back with a huge flare up again. My doctor saved my life with this advice! Please do yourself a favor and talk to your doctor about doing this and try it for yourself. It was life changing because I was completely miserable. I still have the bumps but they are manageable now. I’ve tried everything and this is the only thing that works and it’s fast, simple, and has a longer lasting effect than topical treatments.

  4. Michelle on April 2, 2019 at 8:48 pm

    This is great, thanks.

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