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Treating "Chicken Skin" Bumps: Keratosis Pilaris

Updated on July 23, 2014
Keratosis Pilaris is easily identified by a dermatologist but more difficult to treat.
Keratosis Pilaris is easily identified by a dermatologist but more difficult to treat. | Source

If you have been suffering with the skin condition “keratosis pilaris” also known as 'chicken bumps.' you are not alone. It is estimated that 50% of the adult population has this skin condition which, other than its telltale bumps, is harmless. This is a frustrating condition because dermatologists can offer little in the way of treatment. More recently, laser skin treatments have been suggested for the treatment of keratosis pilaris but there is a much less extreme choice that offers excellent results…read on.

Keratosis Pilaris most often appears in the first 10 years of life, in some cases the bumps appear only on the back of the upper arms but in other cases the bumps can be present all over the body, excluding the palms and the soles of the feet. For some, the condition can get better or worse depending on stress and age. The winter months tend to bring on more keratosis pilaris flare ups. Keratosis Pilaris bumps are formed when a protein in the skin, called keratin, collects around the hair follicle, this collection causes the skin to raise up and form hard plugs within the hair follicle. Keratosis Pilaris is a hereditary condition; it is handed down through families.

Emotional Effects

Those with keratosis pilarias can become self-conscious and this consequently affects their self-esteem, this is especially problematic during the difficult teenage years. Those suffering with the condition often try to disguise it by wearing clothing that covers the area or avoiding social situations. Many of the recommended treatments offer only small benefit and this can be a big frustration for those with the condition, but there is a supplement that is very on.

A dermatologist can "treat" but not "cure" Keratosis Pilaris

Medical Treatments

Dermatologists can quickly identify the bumps but cannot do much to “cure” them. There is no “medical cure” for this condition some medical treatments can minimize the size and number of bumps. But there is a natural supplement that reaps excellent results. Keratosis Pilaris is a hereditary condition; it is handed down through families.


These methods work by sloughing off the top layer of dead skin but since only a small layer of dead skin can be sloughed off this method has little benefit.

Loofah sponges, sonicare facial scrubers and microdermabrasion work by removing the top layer of dead skin.

Creams that Exfoliate

Creams with lactic acid can also work to remove top layers of dead skin. This method is similar to using physical exfoliation with a loofah. This method can be effective but the benefits will likely vary over time. Amlactin is a cream that is often recommended by dermatologists. It contains lactic acid which works to remove the top layer of dead skin and potentially smooth out the keratosis pilaris bumps.

Creams that Sooth

Keratosis pilaris can sometimes get irritated by exfoliation or weather, in which case, hydrocortisone cream can help to sooth the irritated skin. These creams are available at drug stores and are used to sooth irritated skin.

Laser Therapy

Most dermatologists feel that keratosis pilaris is benign, therefore they do not see the need to treat the condition other than using topical creams. Some dermatologists however, are beginning to use lasers to treat keratosis pilaris. Pulsed dye laser therapy has been shown to reduce the redness associated with chronic keratosis pilaris. These treatments are expensive and are not covered by insurance.

Cod Liver Oil

Cod liver oil is the most effective method available to minimize the keratosis pillars bumps. Cod liver oil is not only useful in minimizing keratosis pilaris it is an excellent source of nutrients and has been found to improve the condition of teeth, nails and hair. Rather than using the topical methods which only help the top layer of skin, cod liver oil works from the inside out. It stops the body from creating the bumps in the first place and the bumps that are present become smaller and less visible. Cod liver oil also reduces the redness assosiated with keratosis pilaris "chicken bumps."

Cod liver oil is available in capsules, flavored as well as the natural oil.

Moisturizing after bathing will allow your skin to radiate health and help to heal keratosis pilaris.
Moisturizing after bathing will allow your skin to radiate health and help to heal keratosis pilaris. | Source

Keeping Skin Hydrated and Moisturized

In addition to cod liver oil, keeping the skin well hydrated and moisturized will help the body's overall skin condition and health. Keeping skin well hydrated and moisturized involves drinking water throughout the day as well as applying moisturizer in the first three minutes after bathing. The best moisturizers to use at this time are Vaseline and baby oil; you can also try cocoa butter. After applying the moisturizer allow it to absorb for a few minutes and then blot skin with a towel. This works so well because it locks the moisture in the skin while it is moist. Although this might seem like a greasy proposition, once the moisturizer is absorbed. and blotted the skin will feel and look great!

Makeup can be used to minimize the appearance of keratosis pilaris

Body Makeup

For special occasions, those suffering with keratosis pilaris may choose to use makeup to cover the red areas associated with keratosis pilaris. Dermablend is one brand of body makeup that is waterproof and comes in a range of skin tones.

Reduce Stress

If your life is stressful, this might make your keratosis pilaris condition worse. Look for ways to reduce the stress in your life. Try to get enough sleep, exercise, and make time to unwind and relax.


  • Cod liver oil daily
  • Keep hydrated by drinking water
  • Moisturize directly after bathing
  • Follow a healthy diet
  • Reduce stress
  • Creams and exfoliators may offer some help


If you have been suffering from keratosis pilaris you are likely frustrated. You have likely tried many creams and methods of exfoliation as well as choosing clothing that covers the effected skin. This skin condition can make you feel self-conscious and dermatologists can offer little in the way of help. The best remedy is taking Cod liver oil each day and keeping the skin well hydrated. By following these steps you will begin to heal your skin from the inside out and finally be free of the burden of keratosis pilaris.

© 2014 Ariel Laur


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    • Ariel Laur profile imageAUTHOR

      Ariel Laur 

      5 years ago from New York

      Barbara, glad to hear that your son's keratosis pilaris simply went away he might have grown out of it or changed something. Thank you for sharing your experience.


    • Barbara Kay profile image

      Barbara Badder 

      5 years ago from USA

      My son had this when he was young. Later it just went away. I wonder if he did anything unusual that worked.


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