Understanding Bumpy “Chicken” Skin—Keratosis Pilaris

“Bumpy arms”, “chicken skin” or “goosebumps that never go away” are common phrases we hear when patients come to us with keratosis pilaris or “KP”.

KP is a benign condition of the skin that commonly occurs on the backs of the upper arms and also on the thighs or buttocks. Sometimes, younger patients may even display KP on their cheeks. The bumpy texture of the skin is caused by dead skin plugging a hair follicle. Many times it is asymptomatic; however, sometimes patients will report itching or sensitivity on the skin.

Most commonly KP is seen in patients in their teenage years or young infants under the age of two. Some causes of KP include having close family members with the condition, dry skin, eczema, and obesity.

While KP is not a harmful condition, many patients are concerned by the appearance of their skin. Treatments for KP include prescription moisturizers containing Urea, Lactic Acid or other exfoliators to help improve the appearance and texture of the bumpy skin by removing excess dead skin cells. In a few cases, a laser may be utilized to further treat this condition.

KP is not contagious and for many people it may even resolve spontaneously. To schedule an appointment to discuss your skin, call our office at (952) 929-8888.

Brooke Moss, PA-C, MPH is a board-certified dermatology Physician Assistant. She is accepting new patients in our Edina and Downtown Minneapolis locations.