The Mayo Clinic states that keratin buildup on the skin, a condition known as keratosis pilaris, does not have a confirmed cause. Medical professionals suspect that genetic and skin-related diseases may play a role in keratin buildup, although the condition also appears in people with no obvious underlying medical issues.
The Mayo Clinic reports that keratosis pilaris is most common in young children, but the condition affects people of all ages. The condition is a result of overproduction of keratin and its subsequent accumulation on the skin's surface. Excess keratin blocks pores and hair follicles, resulting in blotches of sandpaper-like skin. Affected skin may also become itchy, dry and reddened. Keratosis pilaris frequently occurs on the upper arms, buttocks, legs and face.
According to the Mayo Clinic, there are several effective treatments for keratosis pilaris. Sufferers can utilize topical exfoliants that soften keratin and include mild abrasives to scrub it from the skin's surface. Topical retinoids prevent skin pores from becoming plugged by excess keratin. Severe cases of keratosis pilaris have been successfully treated with laser therapy. The Mayo Clinic reports that home remedies, such as regular moisturizing, over-the-counter topical creams, gentle skin care regimens and humidifiers, are effective ways to improve the skin's appearance and control symptoms.