Hair is such a big symbol. Perhaps it shouldn’t be? We throw so much weight onto how we look and how, that in turn, makes us feel that we often gift our hair...
Apparently around 40% of us suffer from the condition called KP. Or Keratosis Pilaris if you want to go skincare-expert but that’s much harder to spell. If you’re not sure if you have it check the backs of your arms or your thighs. If you see an array of little pimples and bumps, dryness or redness than you could be one of the (un)lucky ones. It’s a condition I remember having as a teenager, spending hours popping said pimples (gross I know), which apparently is one of the worst things you can do but hey, 15 year olds gotta do what 15 year olds gotta do. It then went away for a few years only to return in my twenties, making my arms seriously unsightly which has led me to become quite the expert on the condition as I try every method going to get rid of the bumps in time for summer.
KP is caused by a buildup of excess keratin in the skin’s follicles. Keratin is a protein which causes the skin to thicken, which is why the small bumps look like little spots, but are actually hair follicles plugged and widened with bits of hardened, dry skin. Nice. Trying to pop them as spots will only lead to bleeding and potential scarring, so it’s best to go for other methods to rid yourself of the condition.
Here is a list of the things I have tried so far:
Daily Exfoliation with a grainy scrub
Later known as the worst thing you can do (after popping them). My weapon of choice was Soap and Glory’s Pulp Friction scrub which is great for getting rid of dry, peeling skin but not so good for skin that is already dry and red. As I found out, scrubs like this unfortunately irritate the condition more and strip the skin of its natural sebum so that it produces more and becomes dryer at the same time – lovely. Not recommended.
Dry body brushing
This is hard to keep going every single day but does help to smooth out the skin and I did notice that the bumps were less pronounced if I managed to keep at it at least once a day. It’s as simple as buying one of those long handled brushes from Wilkos and just rubbing the skin in circular motions when it’s dry just before you have a shower or bath. Just make sure you moisturise afterwards so that you still lock in moisture.
Products with AHA
Alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) is an exfoliator endorsed by many big beauty experts which works to help increase skin turnover, reducing the amount of keratin available to cause the plugs. Two of the cheaper products I found containing this were:
Palmer’s Skin Smoothing Lotion – this contains AHA and also salicylic acids, all designed for exfoliation of the skin. Personally, I struggled to get on with the strong smell and didn’t find it to make a massive difference. This was after using it for a few weeks after each evening shower, along with body brushing.
Products designed specifically for Keratosis Pilaris
Let me tell you how excited I was when Ameliorate first came out. A product designed specifically for KP, by a KP sufferer. Sounds like a dream right? I paid out the £17.50 for the 100ml travel size Body Lotion without a thought, convinced it would rid my skin of the condition. I’ll admit, when I received it I wasn’t a fan of the texture at all. It was much thinner and more slippery than my usual moisturiser and felt like it didn’t sink into the skin as much as I would like, but I gave it a go for about two weeks after my evening shower and dry body brushing. I found that the redness did improve and there were definitely less of the bumps present. I would say that had I carried on with this I may have seen the condition disappear completely so if you can put up with the texture I’d definitely give it a go.
Products containing Urea
A product I’ve been using for my Eczema for a good few years now is the Dermatique Recuperating Cream (Eczema sufferers are more likely to suffer from KP – we get all the joys don’t we?). As I reported in this post the cream is free from parabens, colours, fragrance, mineral oil and all that other nasty stuff. It goes on like a dream and I have to admit, I love putting this on just before I go out because I love how soft and smooth it makes my arms. Up until a few weeks ago I didn’t even realise it could be used as a KP treatment, but then I realised its main ingredient (after water) is Urea. Urea is a known keratolytic. This means that it softens and dissolves excess keratin. After each shower I have been applying the Recuperating Cream to just the parts of my upper arms that are affected and after two weeks the transformation has been unreal. I wish I’d taken a before and after to show the difference. There is no redness (which is also probably helped by the anti-inflamatory ingredients used in the cream to treat Eczema), the bumps are pretty much cleared completely and the skin feels soft and smooth. I plan to continue using this as a treatment along with their body wash which also contains Salicylic acid in its natural state and I would hazard to say that in another month or so it may be completely gone.
Summer here I come! I’m hoping further use will help me to look like this:
What are your best treatments for KP? Comment below and let me know.
Beth is a Writer and Digital Marketer who founded The Full Agenda as a place to talk about the things that kept her and her friends up at night. Currently working as a Marketing consultant to various SMEs she is a big fan of the startup market and loves technology, apps and anything social media related. When not obsessively checking Google Analytics, she can be found reading, writing or relaxing with a glass of Prosecco.
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