This patient information and photograph on Keratosis Pilaris is provided by John L. Meisenheimer, M.D. a board certified Dermatologist and skin care specialist based in Orlando, Florida. This information is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice or treatment of a dermatologist or other physician.

What is it?

Keratosis pilaris is a peculiar disorder of the skin. It is most frequently seen in people under thirty and is very common in children. Typically it appears as multiple rough bumps on the back of the arms, but other body areas can be involved such as the cheeks and thighs. Keratosis pilaris is usually an asymptomatic condition, but mild itching may occasionally be present. 

What causes it?

The cause of Keratosis pilaris is unknown but genetics plays an important role. It is frequently seen in people who have a personal or family history of asthma, allergies or atopic eczema.


Is it dangerous?

This is a harmless disorder. It is not related to cancer and it does not involve internal organs. 

Can it be cured?

Most will outgrow the condition by age forty. Treatment can improve the condition in some cases.

What home care should I use?

  1. Moisturizing the areas twice a day may make the skin less rough. Moisturizing Creams.
  2. Some find using a Loofah sponge or Buf Puf on the area helps, but be aware that in some it will cause inflammation.
  3. Two of the couter products that may help soften the bumps are Ureacin-20 Creme and Lactrex 12% Moisturizing cream.
  4. If you are having occasional mild itching you can try Prax Lotion

Will it spread?

 It may involve extensive areas of the skin, but in most cases it is limited to a few body regions. It may improve or worsen depending on the climate and time of the year. Occasionally it will flare during or after pregnancy.

Is it contagious?

Keratosis pilaris is not contagious and you cannot “catch it” from anyone.

© John “Lucky” Meisenheimer, M.D.  2019