An estimated 40- 50 percent of women have Keratosis Pilaris (KP), affectionately known as Chicken Skin. I was unfamiliar with the term until yesterday when I read an article that mentioned the ailment. It makes perfect sense when I think about it, or when I look at my arms—rough, bumpy patches of skin that do, in fact, resemble that of a chicken.
I have always noticed people with KP on their arms and noticed it on my own, but I never knew what it was called, what caused it, or how common it really is. KP occurs when excess keratin (a protein that makes up hair, skin, and nails) accumulates in hair follicles on the body. It can be found most commonly on the arms and thighs but can also occur on the back, torso, buttocks, and in some cases, the face.
KP is an inherited skin condition (sorry, if you have it, you're probably stuck with it). If a parent is affected there is a 1 in 2 chance that the offspring will also be affected. It is more prevalent in childhood and dissipates with age but it is not uncommon for adults to show symptoms. KP causes the skin to become dry and sometimes itchy and is usually worse in the winter because skin becomes much drier in the winter months. KP cannot be transmitted from one person to another by touch; it is not contagious or infectious. The bumps associated with KP are spiky, rough, and can look like goose bumps that do not go away.
Although there is no cure for KP, many dermatologists believe that keeping skin moisturized will help. Of course, there are a lot of products on the market that claim to help reduce the appearance of Chicken Skin. Skin creams or ointments containing lactic acid or salicylic acid, which are readily available at drugstores, have been shown to have better results than those containing no acids.
The bottom line: if you are looking to improve the appearance of your KP, there is no need to buy expensive moisturizing creams from department or specialty stores. Find a cheaper moisturizer at a drugstore (Wal Mart, Target, CVS, etc…) that contains salicylic or lactic acid and use it to keep the skin affected by KP moisturized.