Typically, I try to be accepting of my body (after all, it does some pretty amazing things am I right?), but there’s one thing I really wish I could change: the bumpy skin on the backs of my upper arms and thighs that’s plagued me since I was a kid. The technical term: keratosis pilaris (KP), which some refer to as “chicken skin.”
So, I thought I’d dive into the underlying cause of these pesky red bumps and how to eliminate them in the most natural way possible. Spoiler alert: There’s a surprising dietary connection!
So, what causes KP in the first place?
Keratosis pilaris, or KP, is simply a buildup of keratin and dead skin cells within the hair follicles, which causes them to bulge and become irritated and inflamed, giving your skin a bumpy texture. Typically, KP appears on the backs of the arms, the fronts of the thighs, and sometimes on your butt. And loads of people are affected—an estimated 50 to 80 percent of all adolescents and approximately 40 percent of adults.
But what makes you prone to those annoying red bumps while others get to flaunt their gloriously smooth upper arms? You can partially blame your parents. It’s a genetic and chronic condition, and dry skin can make it much worse. It can be managed, but only with continued therapy.
But more surprisingly, your diet may also exacerbate symptoms. What has emerged is that KP has a low-grade inflammation component in the body that’s showing up in the hair follicle and that increasing your intake of certain nutrients and eliminating certain foods that contribute to inflammation and leaky gut (like gluten, for some) may help eliminate or reduce KP.
So Here are 5 Easy Tips to Treat KP Naturally
Try these easy, day-to-day topical steps for a Keratosis Pilaris home remedy program to keep Keratosis Pilaris under control.
1. Clean up your diet and support your gut.
Because your chicken skin may be exacerbated by chronic, low-grade inflammation, adopting a whole-foods-based, antioxidant-rich diet like the Mediterranean diet (or check out our free meals in – Eat Your Way to Clear Healthier Skin!) can go a long way in reducing inflammation, supporting gut health, and potentially relieving some of your symptoms. But that won’t be enough for everyone.
While his treatment approach varies slightly from person to person, it’s often recommended increasing intake of vitamin A and vitamin D, both of which encourage healthy skin cell production. Additionally, supporting the health of the microbiome and improving digestion with probiotics and digestive enzymes, since a damaged or leaky gut can contribute to chronic inflammation by allowing substances into the body that shouldn’t be there. And, of course, if you think you may be sensitive to certain foods like dairy or gluten, you’ll want to stop eating them too. Because, again, inflammation.
2. Avoid hot showers and baths.
As mentioned above, dry skin will only make your KP worse. In fact, some people say their bumps clear during the summer only to return in the winter. For this reason try avoiding long, hot showers or baths, which can suck moisture from the skin, and always following up with a super moisturizer. More on that below! If you are a bather, make sure to keep the water at a comfortable temperature and bathe with Magnesium Dead Sea Salts to nourish your skin in the bath!
3. Exfoliation is KEY!
The first step is exfoliation! Regular exfoliation can help to smooth the skin, encourage cell turnover, and buff away any bumps – don’t try to scratch them off! However, this step alone will not address the inflammation at the base of the hair follicle. Removing that excess buildup of skin is important in managing your KP. A natural Salt Scrub or Cucumber Spa Polish followed by a Tea Tree Toner to balance skin cells can not only help with treating acne but also help remove the dead skin cells of KP.
4. Slather On That Moisturizer
Staying hydrated is key, but using any old moisturizer probably won’t significantly reduce your KP bumps. So, after cleansing (and while your skin is still somewhat damp) apply moisturizer to help improve skin texture by softening the keratotic papules. But not just ANY moisturizer will do. Use a hard working moisturizer. What’s a hard working moisturizer? Skin Relief (A blend of nutrient rich aloe, green tea, seaweed, chamomile, and vitamin E. A thick body lotion is enriched to soothe and care for the driest skin. Super powered with shea butter to help skin reduce inflammation.) or Helio Skin Superfood (Skin relief infused with Magnesium oil and Helichrysum essential oil – known to reach deep into cells to reduce inflammation & promote cellular regeneration.) Regularly moisturizing softens dry skin and can promote cell turnover, preventing blocked pores.
5. Avoid the CRAP.
Avoid synthetic ingredients commonly found in mainstream scrubs and lotions is of utmost importance, as these can make the skin dry all on their own. Check out our Never-Ever-List for a list of all those things you should be avoiding.
Above all, treatment for Keratosis Pilaris is all about consistency, so once you find a routine that works, stick to it!!
If you enjoyed this blog post, please reach out to me. I love giving FREE consultations!