KERATOSIS PILARIS EXPLAINED
What is it?
Keratosis Pilaris, often abbreviated to 'KP', is a very common, harmless skin condition that affects about 40% of the population in the UK.
It causes small, hard bumps that make your skin feel rough, sometimes with redness or swelling. They usually appear on your upper arms, thighs, buttocks and face.
The skin produces a natural protein, Keratin, which is an important part of its outer layer. Bumps occur when excess Keratin is produced and together with dead skin cells, builds up inside the hair follicles. Sometimes, hairs can become trapped in the follicle and coil in on themselves causing ingrown hairs.
What does it look and feel like?
It has a number of forms, the most common being the appearance of rough bumps around hair follicles on the back of the arms. Some redness may be present around the bumps.
This appearance gives rise to the common name given to KP of 'chicken skin'.
It can also occur on other areas of the body such as the legs, buttocks and face, although it doesn't occur on the palms of the hands or the soles of the feet. It varies in severity and there is no recognised cure although products that help manage the condition exist.
Skin feels rough, dry, dehydrated and bumpy.
Causes of Keratosis Pilaris?
Causes of Keratosis Pilaris are not fully understood but it is genetic in more than half those affected. Hence it is usually found in more than one member of a family.
It is more common in adolescence, gradually decreasing in severity over the years.
It is closely related to other dry skin conditions and tends to get worse in cold weather when the humidity is lower.
How to care for KP skin?
- Keeping skin gently exfoliated and moisturised is key.
- Use a moisturiser with three main ingredient types - Alpha Hydroxy Acids to enhance the skin’s cell turnover, ingredients to provide a barrier and stop water evaporating and those to draw water to the skin – humectants.
- Hot water strips oils from the skin faster than warm or lukewarm water – long and hot showers can do more damage than quick, lukewarm ones.
- Use a skin pH cleanser rather than soap. After cleansing, your skin should feel soft, smooth, and healthy. If your skin feels dry, tight, inflamed, or at all irritated, change product.
- You cannot scrub the bumps away. Picking can cause inflammation and scarring – use a gentle exfoliant. Many natural and synthetic loofah type products are too abrasive, scratching the skin’s surface. Irregular shaped granules in many polishes can also cause damage, exacerbating the problem.
- Lower central heating, reduce air conditioning, use a humidifier while indoors.
- Protect your skin in cold or warm dry air by wrapping up in cotton layers.
- You can never ‘cure’ KP only manage it; once you stop your routine the Keratin and dead skin cells will build up again in the hair follicle, and the bumps will return, so regular skin ‘maintenance’ is essential.
- For more information on Keratosis Pilaris, you may want to visit the NHS KP page, the British Association of Dermatologists or the British Skin Foundation's website.
How can AMELIORATE help?
AMELIORATE is the UK's number 1 brand for Keratosis Pilaris.
Our body skincare system is designed to progressively smooth your bumps and leave your skin beautifully soft, moisturised and healthy-looking.
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TREATING DRY SKIN
Dry skin is very common. For most people, it is not a medical or genetic condition but is triggered by external factors.
Dry skin can be invisible to the eye or it can look dry or patchy or it can be scaly or flaky. Skin can also feel tight due to a lack of water.
As skin becomes dry it can become more sensitive and may feel itchy.
It is caused by your skin losing water. Your skin has a thin coating of natural oils and other natural moisturisers on the surface, if they are removed, then water evaporates more quickly and your skin dries out.
The quantity of natural oils produced by the skin varies from person to person, so some people are more prone to dry skin than others. It also varies in different places on the body and face.
Most cases of dry skin are caused by external and environmental factors that strip the skin's protective barrier.
Causes of dry skin
Washing – hot water strips oils from the skin faster than warm or lukewarm water – long and hot showers can do more damage than quick, luke warm ones.
Soap is an emulsifier which removes the skin’s natural oils from the surface and dries it out. The more often skin is washed with soap, the more oil is removed, ultimately resulting in dryer skin.
Sponges, flannels and exfoliators physically remove your skin’s natural oils.
Dry air – usually caused by heating, air conditioning or drier climates, draws moisture out of the skin.
Some drugs have side effects which can dry out your skin – seek your doctor's advice if you think this is happening to you.
A health condition, menopause or genetic predisposition can also make your skin dry out – seek your doctor's advice if you think this is happening to you.
What can I do about it?
Use a moisturiser with two main ingredient types – those to provide a barrier and stop water evaporating and those to draw water to the skin – humectants.
Moisturise while skin is damp to lock in water. Moisturising on dry skin is much less effective.
Use a pH-balanced skin cleanser rather than soap. After cleansing, your skin should feel soft, smooth, and healthy. If your skin feels dry, tight, inflamed, or at all irritated, change product.
Look out for Alcohol on the ingredient list - some are beneficial to the skin (Cetyl, Stearyl, and Cetearyl Alcohol), others can dry and irritate skin and should be avoided (Ethanol, SD Alcohol, Denatured Alcohol or Isopropyl Alcohol).
Lower central heating, reduce air conditioning, use a humidifier while indoors.
Some materials such as wool or synthetic fibres tend to irritate the skin and worsen dry skin – wear soft materials such as cotton.
Protect your skin in cold or warm dry air by wrapping up in cotton layers and ‘hide’ your skin.
Eat Omega 3 foods to fortify the skin’s natural oil protective barrier.
How can AMELIORATE help?
AMELIORATE is designed for people with dry skin. The active ingredients within our unique Skin Hydration Complex, LaH6, include both barriers (to stop water evaporating) and humectants (ingredients which draw water to the skin). It will moisturise skin for 8 hours in our wash off products and 12+hours in our famous Transforming Body Lotion and Transforming Body Cream.
Click here to shop our range and look out for the LaH6 Skin Hydration Complex water droplet for a guaranteed moisture hit!