Many people have never heard of Keratosis Pilaris (KP) (aka "Chicken Skin"), but most of you know what it is. KP are those little red bumps that appear on the back of some peoples arms and the tops of their thighs (starting to sound familiar?). It is a condition that develops due to the over production of Keratin (you know the fancy stuff that is all the rage in hair care right now, well your body produces it) which in turn clogs the hair follicles (If you want to know more about it through the scary source of WebMD click here).
This so called "chicken skin" effects about 50% of the worlds population, most common in kids and adolescents, you can grow out of it (I haven't yet), but it also effects 4 out of every 10 adults (its more common in women then men, oh joy). It is pretty common, so if you don't have it, I am sure you know someone who does. It is a hereditary condition, so you won't catch it from someone else, but it is manageable and harmless. Mine get's worse in the winter when my skin gets dry, or when I am slacking on treating it (but seriously, it's easy, its probably things you already do, I'm just a bum sometimes).
You can go to the dermatologist and get some fancy cream that costs a ton of money,yea I've had it, it works, but you can get the same results from drugstore products as well.
Step 1. Exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate (ok don't scrub too hard or too much, you don't want raw skin). Exfoliating, whether it is with a scrub like the Tree Hut Coconut Lime Scrub (my favorite, which I always have it my shower, plus its only $6!) or just simple using a loofah, will help remove the bumps and keep the follicles clean of the excess keratin proteins. I exfoliate lightly every time to every other time I shower, on the back of my arms and down the front of my legs where I have the bumps. Exfoliating doesn't get rid of the redness but it does help the texture of your skin.
After my shower I like to follow up with a moisturizer that contains either salicylic acid, like CeraVe SA, or contains alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs), like Amlactin. These chemicals help smooth out the appearance of your skin, leaving it touchable and soft. They are expensive as far as lotions go, but I am fine with 1 pump on the back of each arm (I don't do my legs because they are far less bumpy). Plus the over the counter stuff is way cheaper than any prescription you get from the doctor (with health insurance I have paid $50 - $100 for a similar cream, no thanks).
I also like to use a rich, unscented moisturizer, such as Cetaphil moisturizing cream at night to keep my skin super soft after all that drying and exfoliating. I go for unscented because I am afraid the fragrance might irritate and therefore counteract everything I just did.
Since Keratosis Pilaris is hereditary and ongoing, letting up on this routine will only cause it to come back (to be fair it never really left, I just battle against it enough to make it less noticeable). Having KP can be embarrassing at times, but don't forget you aren't the only one that has it.
If you suffer from "chicken skin" what do you use to help combat it?