Men and women in the media often have smooth skin. For most people however, that is simply not the case. 40 percent of adults and 50 to 80 percent of adolescents have Keratosis Pilaris (KP) – or chicken skin.
KP is a harmless condition where red bumps appear on the arms, legs, face, or other areas. Like acne, this condition is associated with adolescence and may disappear as you get older.
KP is caused by an excess of the protein keratin, often due to genetics. This excess causes the clogging of follicles (tiny organs in the skin that produce hair), resulting in a tiny red bump.
KP is often mistaken for goose bumps. KP is not harmful at all, nor does it cause any detrimental symptoms (ex itching, irritation). However, people may get distressed and embarrassed over it.
There is no distinct treatment for KP, but since KP is aggravated when the skin is dry, skin moisturizers may tone down KP symptoms.
There are a variety of lotions that may be helpful, including lotions that have urea, lactic acid, salicylic acid. These lotions or moisturizers would have to be constantly applied, as there is no way for KP to disappear completely.
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Written By: Emily Wu, teen writer
Reviewed By: Nancy Brown, Ph.D.
Last Reviewed: October 2013
If you are worried about a skin condition that you are experiencing, visit our Bumps & Lumps: When Do They Require Medical Attention? article.