Illustrated by Sydney Hass.
While summer is the time to bare more skin than during any other time of year, doing so can highlight those pesky skin bumps that tend to show up in a variety of unwelcome places. Frequently, these bumps, called Keratosis pilaris, appear as tiny red or white bumps and patches most often found on the backs of arms and legs. This happens because dead skin cells and a protein in the skin called keratin form and build up in the hair follicles. It’s a fairly common and harmless thing, and will disappear for most people in their mid-30s, but it can be frustrating nonetheless. If you have it, you know just what I’m talking about.
The most effective way to treat keratois pilaris is through exfoliation. Combining physical exfoliants and chemical exfoliants will soften and smooth away even the driest, roughest, bumpiest skin.
First, start by using a mild sulfate-free, low-foaming, non-drying cleansing gel along with a loofah or body cloth while showering. Scrub in circular motions for about two minutes, and rinse well. Be sure to avoid using bar soap as it can be too drying, which can lead to cell build up, ultimately worsening the problem.
After showering, apply an alcohol-free exfoliating serum with glycolic acid or lactic acid. These ingredients work to effectively dissolve and digest dead cells to dramatically smooth the skin. You can then apply a body lotion over an acid serum. Repeat this step every other day to keep the bumps at a minimum, thereby revealing softer, smoother skin. Be sure to always apply a body lotion after every shower to improve the skin’s overall appearance and to discourage dry cells from forming.
Illustrated by Sydney Hass.
If exfoliation does little to improve the condition or yours appears to be a more severe case, you might consider trying a professional microdermabrasion or bio brasion treatment. This treatment is performed by estheticians and nurses, and can deeply exfoliate the skin. Bio-brasion is a crystal-free, low-suction abrasion system that pairs gentle vibrations with customized levels of exfoliation. Uniquely, it features both wet and dry technology. The treatment painlessly lifts off the outermost damaged layers of the skin, revealing the healthy layers of the skin beneath. Depending on the severity of your skin’s condition, you could also consider getting a chemical peel as well to better exfoliate and resurface the skin.
Definitely do not pick or scratch the skin, as this will only increase unwanted pigment within the cells, leaving the skin with red or dark marks. And, hyperpigmentation is often just as difficult to treat.
While it’s impossible to get rid of keratosis pilaris permanently when you do have it, the condition should improve considerably when you follow this regimen consistently.