Merck Manual

Please confirm that you are not located inside the Russian Federation

honeypot link
Quick Facts

Keratosis Pilaris

By

The Manual's Editorial Staff

Last full review/revision Jan 2021| Content last modified Jan 2021
CLICK HERE FOR THE PROFESSONAL VERSION
Get the full details
Topic Resources

What is keratosis pilaris?

"Keratosis" means a rough, scaly patch of skin due to overgrowth of the upper layer of skin. "Pilaris" is related to hair.

Keratosis pilaris is a skin problem in which dead skin cells from the upper layer of your skin plug up the hair follicles in your skin, causing little bumps.

  • Keratosis pilaris is common and harmless

  • It usually happens in cold weather and gets better in summer

  • Your skin may feel rough because of the bumps

  • Doctors can treat the itching or redness of keratosis pilaris using skin lotions or laser treatments

What causes keratosis pilaris?

Doctors aren't sure what causes keratosis pilaris, but heredity may play a role. It doesn't seem to be an allergic or immune system disorder.

What are the symptoms of keratosis pilaris?

Symptoms of keratosis pilaris include:

  • Small bumps that are skin-colored or red, usually on the upper arms, thighs, and bottom, sometimes on your face

  • Sometimes, plugs in the middle of the bumps that look like pimples

  • Redness and itching of your skin

How can doctors tell if I have keratosis pilaris?

Doctors can tell you have keratosis pilaris by examining your skin.

How do doctors treat keratosis pilaris?

Most of the time, keratosis pilaris doesn't need treatment. If itching or redness bothers you, doctors can treat it using:

  • Skin moisturizers with glycolic or lactic acid

  • Sometimes, laser treatments to lessen the redness

NOTE: This is the Consumer Version. DOCTORS: CLICK HERE FOR THE PROFESSONAL VERSION
CLICK HERE FOR THE PROFESSONAL VERSION
Others also read
Test your knowledge
Separation Anxiety and Stranger Anxiety
An important part of normal development is an infant’s growing attachment to its parents. As this bond strengthens, the infant may express fear or anxiety when the parents leave. This “separation anxiety” typically begins at around 8 months of age and resolves at around 24 months of age. Which of the following is the normal and expected infant behavior in reaction to a parent leaving the room during the time period of separation anxiety?
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID

Also of Interest

Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
TOP