You know, those weird little white or red bumps that usually appear on the back of the tops of your arms, often referred to as chicken skin – like a not so cute pink polka dot pattern. Chances are you’ve had or have chicken skin (or if you want to be technical, keratosis pilaris); if not on your arms, you have them on your hips, cheeks, thighs, bum, or maybe your friend complains about it all the time. 50% of people will notice these bumps; it’s common in kids, teenagers, women, and people with dry skin – so that’s most of us at some point! Though chicken skin is only tiny little bumps on your skin, sometimes they can be red or itchy too, they’re pretty frustrating when you want to feel smooth and sexy for the weekend or a night out! The good news is, the little bumps won’t stick around forever and there are some really simple ways you can improve the appearance of KP. Keep reading for our top tips:
What is Keratosis Pilaris (Aka Chicken Skin):
Small bumps appear when your skin produces too much keratin, causing the hair follicles to become clogged and hairs to become trapped under the surface. Sometimes the bumps are just white, but they can also be red or brown, depending on whether hairs become trapped, or the skin is inflamed. The bumps are genetic, but most importantly they’re completely harmless.
3 Things You Can Do to Improve the Appearance of Keratosis Pilaris:
So far, there’s no prescription or ‘cure,’ it’s often one of those things that you grow out of, like overly plucked brows. However, there are things you can do to treat, dramatically reduce, and help the appearance of the pesky bumps:
Cleanse and Moisturize: Chicken skin can appear worse in winter or when your skin is dry, so keeping your skin hydrated will reduce the look and feel of the bumps. Use non-soap cleansers or soaps for sensitive skin, like Bioderma, Cetaphil, or Sanex, which will prevent the area from being irritated by chemicals and fragrances that can dry the skin. Exfoliating will also help to smooth the skin and keep the skin healthy, but avoid scrubbing too hard; unfortunately, it’s not possible to exfoliate them away, and the harder you scrub, the more you can aggravate the skin. Always moisturize the area to smooth the skin and help prevent further damage; you can also use coconut oil as a natural alternative.
AHAs and BHAs: Chemical exfoliators like glycolic acid, salicylic acid, and lactic acid can penetrate deep into the upper layers of your skin and are amazing to rid your skin of clogged hair follicles. Look for cleansers with 10% or more glycolic acid and use regularly on problem areas.
Retinol: Retin is a form of vitamin A, and retin-based skincare products are used to reduce wrinkles, fight acne, increase skin cell turnover, boost collagen, and even skin tone – they’re pretty awesome. Retinol is a type of retinoid that naturally occurs in the skin. Because retinoids increase cell turnover, they work amazingly to help get rid of keratosis pilaris as they allow younger skin to appear more quickly, preventing bumps from forming, and effectively flattening out the bumps. Retinoids can also unclog pores by preventing dead skin cells from building up. If hydroxy acids don’t work, using a retinoid or retinol cream is the next step. You can find over-the-counter retinol creams with 0.5%-2% concentration, which are less likely to cause irritation, redness or peeling, but they do take longer to work than stronger prescription formulas. Start using retinol creams every other day, to give your skin time to adjust and get used to the cream, and when your skin settles down, apply it nightly. Your body can tolerate a more intense retinoid formula than your face, so you can discuss with your doctor using a higher percentage for your arms and other areas of your body.
Bear in mind that you won’t notice results overnight, and it could take months for you to see a real difference, but with consistent care, and by combining the methods above, you’ll definitely improve the situation of the bumps. Check out skincare brand Ameliorate, whose entire range of skincare is dedicated to improving the appearance of keratosis pilaris with AHA exfoliators and super hydrating body wash and moisturizer.