It's often called 'chicken-skin' or the never-ending goose bumps, but whatever you want to call it, Keratosis pilaris is a skin condition that appears in the form of small, hard bumps, and can make the skin feel rough and look aggravated. What actually triggers it is still unknown, but research suggests it's hereditary, so if your parents suffered from KP, it’s likely that you’ll suffer from it too.
This is because your skin is prone to a build up of keratin in the hair follicles. Keratin itself is a protein found in the tough outer layer of your skin, which causes the surface of the skin to thicken. When this excess keratin blocks your hair follicles, it widens your pores, causing a bump.
Your skin is in a constant process of total regeneration each month. To support healthy connective tissue (what makes it firm and healthy), key in on these six simple things you can do to keep it comfortable and maybe even say bye, bye, bye to your bumps:
1. Avoid hot showers and baths.
Hot water makes your skin drier and you may experience your worst bout of KP after spending too much time in it. Your skin contains proteins and fats that form a protective barrier to lock in moisture and protect you from a harsh outside environment. When the water you bathe with is too hot, it strips that natural protection away, leaving your skin vulnerable to harmful external elements and letting the moisture in your skin escape.
2. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize.
People with dry skin and certain conditions, including eczema, are more likely prone to having KP. In the winter months, it usually gets worse when there is less moisture in the air. Make the most of a healing body cream or lotion, and apply it on your rough spots right after you've bathed, when skin is still damp. This will not only seal the moisture in, but it will also help it to penetrate deeper and, therefore, last longer.
3. Dry brush regularly.
The basic concept of dry brushing is using a coarse, dry brush on skin in various patterns to help stimulate the lymph system. Encourage your body to rid itself of toxins, and increase circulation or energy, crucial to bump reduction. Gently exfoliate your skin too with a homemade body scrub—this helps in eliminating the keratin buildup.
4. Lactic acid.
Lactic acid is a natural acid that can be derived from milk, fruit, vegetables and other plants, and is brilliant at reducing KP bumps, while its humectant properties hydrate the skin. It's gentler than the ubiquitous glycolic acid, so it’s still suitable for sensitive skin, but it's also more available and accessible than mandelic acid. Silk Naturals is an affordable and effective 8% AHA toner (you should never use more than 10%) and is vegan and gluten free.
5. Balance your omega fatty acids.
Your body can't make omega 3 and 6; they must be obtained through food. Potent sources of omega-3 fatty acids are found in sprouted chia and flax seeds and black cumin seed oil which help with KP bumps. Borage is also a very good oil for the skin due to its high omega-6 fatty acid content.
6. Rehydrate and eat fat.
KP is aggravated by skin dryness, so keeping it hydrated only from the outside will not be enough. The body is largely made up of water, and water is essential for various body systems to work at their best. Healthy oils are essential to the production of the skin’s natural oil barrier and help maintain moisture and elasticity in the skin. Mono- and polyunsaturated fats tend to be anti-inflammatory in nature, plus, higher intakes of monounsaturated fats, like those found in avocados and olive oil, have been linked to increased skin elasticity.