Do you have white, clear or skin coloured bumps on your cheeks, upper arms, thighs or buttocks that feel rough and resemble chicken skin? There is a chance you may be experiencing Keratosis Pilaris, one of the most common dermatologic conditions, and one we regularly receive questions about from our Nourished community.
The good news is that Keratosis Pilaris (KP) is considered a normal variant, and other than the cosmetic appearance causing anxiety & stress, and possibly some mild skin itching, it is rare that there are any other symptoms associated with these annoying bumps.
What is Keratosis Pilaris?
Keratosis Pilaris is the medical term given for when keratinous plugs block the hair follicles on the extensor surfaces of the body, this can also be associated with varying degrees of redness in the surrounding skin.
Keratin is the major structural protein that makes up hair, skin & nails. It also helps support the strength of our internal organs, glands & other key structures of the body. Keratin is formed in the middle layer of skin and slowly makes its way to the surface to offer structure & support to the skin and hair. Keratosis Pilaris occurs when rather than dispersing across the skin and the hair, amounts of Keratin accumulate and cause a ‘plug’ or a blockage within the hair follicle, creating the characteristic bumps of KP.
What causes Keratosis Pilaris?
Keratosis Pilaris usually first appears in early childhood and progresses to its most extensive form during the 20’s. It is widely agreed that the cause of Keratosis Pilaris is multifactorial, meaning there is not one single cause. Some factors that may increase the chance of experiencing Keratosis Pilaris include:
- Friction from clothing or protective gear creating irritation to the skin and hair follicle
- Dry skin
- If you have curly hair
- Genetic predisposition
- Poor nutrition
Natural treatment options for Keratosis Pilaris
Firstly, we need to mention that the treatment of Keratosis Pilaris takes time. The nature of the skin’s metabolism and function need to be improved and this will take consistency with treatment, over time. There are two primary treatment options for Keratosis Pilaris, we suggest using both in combination with each other for best results.
Improves skin surface texture & increases moisture absorption. There are two types of exfoliation; Enzymatic exfoliation and mechanical exfoliation.
Enzymatic exfoliation is typically achieved via acids. Whilst this may sound scary, these acids are mostly derived from fruits, vegetables and other natural sources that we consume on a daily basis and are wonderful for the skin.
Physical exfoliation is a good option for those with more stubborn Keratosis Pilaris and those who do not have sensitive skin. Physicall exfoliators use a mildly course active ingredient like sand, rice and bamboo powder to slough away dead, dry skin and unblock pores and follicles.
Research shows that skin hydration is one of the key factors of Keratosis Pilaris recovery. Dry skin allows dead skin cells to build up on the surface, increasing the chance of keratin plugs being able to form in the hair follicle. Moisturising daily with a high quality moisturizer that is free from silicones and other nasties is essential for hydrated skin and less Keratosis Pilaris.
Natural products for Keratosis Pilaris
Alpha Hydroxy Acids - AHA’s :
Sans [ceuticals] - Superdose Luminosity Masque thanks to its 5% lactic acid, this masque is a wonderful option for those with KP on their face, neck and decolletage or as a spot treatment for patches on the body. Used weekly and followed with the Activator 7 Oil works wonders for restoring the skin surface and reducing rough patches.
Wildcrafted Organics - Wild Berry Honey Cleanse Mask
a delicious honey based cleanser, exfoliant & masque, abundant in nourishing nutrients, antioxidants & the purest Halloysite Clay from New Zealand. The combined action of the natural enzymes in honey & crushed Hibiscus Petals act to dissolve dead skin cells, providing gentle enymatic exfoliation.
Wildcrafted Organics - Native Hibiscus Active Enzyme Polish
Rice Powder and Clays gently draw out and sweep away dirt, grease and impurities. Secondly, the papaya enzymes and salicylic acid go to work to remove excess dead skin cells and allow optimal delivery of the skin regenerating collagen & skin brightening Vitamin C.
Beta Hydroxy Acids - BHA’s
Biologi - Bg Defence Anti -Pollution Serum is not only great at protecting the skin from environmental pollutants, it is also rich in Salicylic Acid; a relatively new player in the skincare game. Proven to calm irritated skin and provide natural & gentle exfoliation, Salicylic acid can loosen compacted skin cells and gently dissolve dead skin cells without the use of abrasive products that can cause irritation in sensitive skin types.
Edible Beauty - & Desert Lime Flawless - Micro Exfoliant is a delicate natural rice face polish which works to gently remove dead skin cells and impurities, revealing fresh, functional and flawless skin.
INIKA Organic - Phytofuse Renew Caviar Lime Exfoliator the native Australian Caviar Lime provides enzymatic exfoliation thanks to its naturally occurring AHA's and micro-fine Bamboo Stem Powder & Pumice gently and effectively provide physical exfoliation to clear away dead skin cells and improve skin function.
Sans [ceuticals] - Bio Active Exfoliant a Nourished favourite! This exfoliant is formulated using facial-grade bamboo grounds to gently, yet effectively smooth your skin along with Ginseng & Goji Extract to boost skin circulation and metabolism. This delicate exfoliant is suitable for the body and face.
Three Warriors - Tasmanian Sand Scrub formulated with pristine Tasmanian Beach Sand and finely ground Walnut Shell Powder to deliver the most gentle and effective exfoliation, along with Aloe Vera, Tasmanian Manuka Honey and Coconut Oil to leave skin beautifully soft, nourished & hydrated.
The Tasmanian Sand Scrub can be used to gently exfoliate your face and neck to smooth skin, clear pores and reveal fresh new skin and can be used over your entire body
Sans [ceuticals] - Activator 7 Body + Hair + Face Oil contains potent levels of vitamin A, Vitamin E and Pharmaceutical Grade Botanical Oils scientifically proven to stimulate skin repair, increase hydration and boost skin strength and elasticity. Its unique blend of bioavailable oils possess strong antibacterial properties and also make it excellent for dermatitis, eczema & ketosis pilaris.
Biologi - Bf Restore Face & Body Serum contains a unique combination of fruit acids that nourish and protect the whole body. Bf serum is the ideal serum for anyone with sensitive, dry and irritated skin who is looking for a boost of hydration. It is a multi-use serum that can also be used on the face & the body.
Sans [ceuticals] - Barrier Restore Butter formulated with 5% Niacinamide in combination with Oat extracts and Mãnuka Honey to accelerate natural wound healing, balance the skin's pH levels, and helps to soothe and heal irritated skin. This luxurious Butter is ideal for targeting dehydrated and inflamed skin, such as eczema, dermatitis & ketosis pilaris.
Bondi Wash - Night Balm - Buddhawood & Blackcurrant this balm beautifully rich and thick balm includes Rosella Oil to promote elasticity and soften the skin, Wattleseed to refine pores, mixed with a delicate blend of essential oils including, Buddhawood, Blackcurrant and Blue Cypress to clarify and smooth skin. Suitable for all skin types including sensitive skin & an excellent option to deeply hydrate the skin whilst sleeping.
Ere Perez - Papaya SOS Marmalade rescue your skin with this nourishing cocktail of Coconut, Hemp, Chia, Grapefruit Oil & Fermented Papaya, this emollient-like remedy helps to speed up the delivery of essential antioxidants & vitamins to the skin whilst also offering an enzymatic exfoliate thanks to the Papaya enzymes. This SOS Marmalade locking in moisture.
More extreme cases, that do not respond to first tier treatment options as listed above in this article, may benefit from other therapies including laser therapy. We recommend consulting with an integrative dermatologist to determine which treatment option is most suitable for you.
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