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    Keratosis pilaris

    Keratosis pilaris is a common skin condition in which a protein in the skin called keratin forms hard plugs within hair follicles.


    Keratosis pilaris is harmless (benign). It seems to run in families. It is more common in people who have very dry skin, or who have atopic dermatitis (eczema).

    The condition is generally worse in winter and often clears in the summer.


    Symptoms include:

    • Small bumps that look like "goose bumps" on the back of the upper arms and thighs
    • Bumps feel like very rough sandpaper
    • Skin-colored bumps are the size of a grain of sand
    • Slight pinkness may be seen around some bumps
    • Bumps may appear on the face and be mistaken for acne

    Exams and Tests

    Your doctor or nurse can usually diagnose this condition by looking at your skin. Tests are usually not needed.


    Treatment may include:

    • Moisturizing lotions to soothe the skin and help it look better
    • Skin creams that containurea, lactic acid, glycolic acid, salicylic acid, tretinoin, or vitamin D
    • Steroid creams to reduce redness

    Improvement often takes months and the bumps are likely to come back.

    Outlook (Prognosis)

    Keratosis pilaris may fade slowly with age.

    When to Contact a Medical Professional

    Call your doctor or nurse if the bumps are bothersome anddo not get better with lotions you buy without a prescription.


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      A Closer Look

        Review Date: 11/22/2011

        Reviewed By: Kevin Berman, MD, PhD, Atlanta Center for Dermatologic Disease, Atlanta, GA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

        The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

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        St. Luke's Hospital - 232 South Woods Mill Road - Chesterfield, MO 63017 Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
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