This benign skin condition causes very small, rough red spots to form on the backs of the arms (and often on the thighs as well). The area will feel like it is covered in tiny bumps. The spots form when follicles become plugged up with excess keratin – a protein found in skin tissue. This is a benign genetic condition that tends to improve with age. It affects as many as 80% of teenagers and up to 50% of the adult population. People who have atopic dermatitis and other dermatological problems that cause dry, scaly skin often develop keratosis pilaris (KP) as well.

Potential Treatments

This follicle disorder can’t be cured, but it generally responds well to treatment. The goal is to dissolve the buildup of keratin so the skin will become smoother. Many different products can improve KP including:

  • Lac-Hydrin or AmLactin (lactic acid skin products)
  • Salicylic or glycolic acid
  • Prescription retinoids such as Retin-A
  • Camol (urea cream)

If you stop treatment, the condition will return. So, talk with your dermatologist about finding a solution that is gentle enough for continuous use every day to keep your arm rash under control.

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