Keratosis pilaris is a common condition where the skin becomes rough and bumpy, most commonly affecting the back of the upper arms, sometimes the buttocks and front of the thighs. Less often, other areas like the back and face may be affected. It can occur at any age, but is more common in younger children. It is generally a harmless condition, and concerns are usually for cosmetic reasons. It usually improves with age and may disappear completely in adulthood.

  • Painless tiny bumps, typically on the upper arms, thighs, cheeks or buttocks
  • Dry, rough skin in the areas with bumps
  • Worsening when seasonal changes cause low humidity and skin tends to be drier
  • Sandpaper-like bumps resembling goose fles


History and Physical Exam

  • Your doctor may ask you about:
    • When you first noticed the skin disorder
    • Do you have them all the time or do they come and go?
    • What seems to relieve your symptoms?
    • What seems to make them worse?
    • Does anyone in your family have a similar problem?



  • Topical exfoliants– remove dead skin cells from the surface of your skin. These include creams that contain lactic acid, salicyclic acid, or urea.The acids may cause redness or a slight burning and are not recommended for child use.
  • Topical retinoids– help prevent hair follicles from getting plugged. These include products with the ingredients tretinoin and tazarotene. Topical retinoids may irritate your skin or cause redness or peeling. Pregnant or nursing women should see their doctor before using topical retinoids.
  • Laser treatment – aims a laser onto the patient’s skin. It burns off the old skin and induces

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