There is no cure for keratosis pilaris, but topical retinoids and exfoliants can be used to treat keratosis pilaris, according to WebMD. Most of these creams and lotions are available without a prescription. However, a prescription is needed for stronger versions of these products.
Topical exfoliants used to treat keratosis pilaris include alpha-hydroxy acid, salicylic acid and lactic acid. Topical retinoids, including tretinoin and tazarotene, should be avoided by pregnant or nursing women, according to WebMD.
Keeping the skin moist also helps relieve keratosis pilaris. Using a humidifier or a soap that has added fat adds moisture to the skin. To prevent skin from drying out, patients should use warm water for bathing instead of hot and limit the amount of time spent in the water, according to WebMD. Patients should also avoid scratching the bumps. In some cases, laser treatment helps the symptoms of keratosis pilaris.
Keratosis pilaris is caused by a buildup of keratin that blocks the hair follicles. As of 2015, the cause of the keratin buildup is unknown, although it may be linked to dry skin, according to WebMD. Small, hard and light-colored bumps on the arms and thighs are the primary symptoms of keratosis pilaris.