Do you sometimes get chicken skin even though it’s not cold and you are not watching a horror movie? If you are struggling with the problem of keratosis pilaris, as it’s called by doctors, we have some good news for you. It’s not a serious problem from the health perspective. People try to get rid of it only for aesthetic reasons. Another good news is that even though there is no specific treatment or medicine for keratosis pilaris, you can easily reduce its symptoms and even get rid of chicken skin only by using some simple home treatments.
Causes And Symptoms Of Keratosis Pilaris
Keratosis pilaris (KP) is quite a common skin disorder. It is estimated that up to 40 percent of people experience it at some stage in life. It is more common among teenagers and women undergoing hormonal changes, like during and after pregnancy or hormonal treatment. The skin affected by keratosis pilaris feels a little bit like sandpaper and is covered with small, red bumps. They form when keratin, which protects the skin against infections, builds up in the hair follicles and block the pore opening. They bumps vary in size and sometimes may be slightly swollen or even cause the skin flaking and cracking.
Keratosis pilaris may affect various areas of skin, but most commonly occurs on the arms, thighs, buttocks and – less frequently – on the face. This condition is not contagious, but there are certain factors that may trigger it. The skin is more prone to keratosis pilaris during winter months, when low temperatures may cause skin dryness. Also, even though doctors don’t know the exact reason for keratosis pilaris occurrence, it has been noted that people who have cases of this condition in their family have higher chances of experiencing it, too.
How To Prevent Keratosis Pilaris
The chicken skin may occur on the skin at any stage of life. Just because you have never had a problem with red bumps on the skin, doesn’t mean that it will never happen to you. Since the process of bringing the skin back to a perfect condition may be very time-consuming, it’s better to prevent the build-up of keratin than have to deal with the problem once it occurs.
Exfoliate and Moisturise
The simplest way to prevent chicken skin is regular exfoliation of the whole body, especially the zones that are prone to the problem, like arms, thighs and buttocks. When you exfoliate the skin, you remove dead skin cells and unblock the pores. Make sure you don’t use any harsh scrubs on the areas affected by KP. Instead, do it gently, but regularly, preferably three to four times a week. Some home-made scrubs we describe below work great for chicken skin, but you can also use a loofah or a sponge and an exfoliating gel. Remember that the key to success is doing it regularly.
Another very important step is the application of hydrating creams, gels or lotions onto the skin where keratosis pilaris seems to be reoccurring. If you maintain the skin well hydrated at all times, it will be easier for the cells to regenerate and there will be a much lower possibility of getting chicken skin again.
Try to protect the areas prone to chicken skin from any pollutants that might block the pores and allergens that could worsen the skin condition. For every person, it might be a different thing, but if you suffer from KP, it’s better to avoid chlorine-treated water, harsh detergents, dust and pet dander. Don’t put perfumes on the skin affected by KP as the alcohol contained in them can dry out the skin that is already devoid of water. Wash your clothes in gentle products. You can try to use the washing liquids and powders designed for babies clothes. The formula of those products has evolved over the years and very often is strong enough to remove various stains while not causing any allergic reaction on the skin.
Relax in the Sun
While prolonged exposure of your skin to the UV radiation is generally not recommended, when you are trying to get rid of the chicken skin, sunbathing for 15 to 20 minutes daily may be very beneficial, provided – of course – that you use a sunscreen. Sunlight boosts the production of vitamin D, which is crucial to maintaining the appropriate level of hydration in the skin. If you live in a place that doesn’t allow you enjoy the sun on a regular basis, you can buy a vitamin D supplement or increase the intake of foods rich in vitamin D, like oily fish, e.g. trout, eggs, tofu, pork and mushrooms.
Drink a Lot of Water
Drinking enough water solves various health problems and help maintain the body in a good condition. To prevent your skin from getting dry and from developing keratosis pilaris, you should drink at least 1,5 litre of water every day. Proper hydration will also help your skin look healthier and younger and will slow down the ageing process by allowing the skin cells a faster regeneration.