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What is keratosis pilaris?

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Quick Answer

Keratosis pilaris is a skin disorder that causes rough patches and small, acne-like bumps on the skin, according to Mayo Clinic. It affects the skin especially on the thighs, cheeks, arms and buttocks, but this condition rarely causes itching or pain. Although common in young children, it can also attack adults.

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Full Answer

Keratosis pilaris is caused by keratin buildup in the body, claims WebMD. Keratin is a protein that is found in the outer layer of the skin. When it builds up in the body, it forms a plug that blocks the hair follicle openings, leading to keratosis pilaris. This condition is worse in the winter when the air contains less moisture than usual.

People with dry skin are more susceptible to keratosis pilaris, claims WebMD. Although not preventable, the effects of keratosis pilaris can be reduced by moisturizing the skin. This is done by taking a warm shower rather than a hot shower, using oiled soap, using thick skin moisturizers and installing a home humidifier.

Although keratosis pilaris has no cure, a patient with the disease can restore the skin's appearance by applying moisturizing lotions or creams to the affected areas, advises WebMD. For better results, patients should use these products daily for several weeks.

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