Keratosis Pilaris worsens during winter months, and in times of low-humidity too. Here you would know how to treat keratosis pilaris, with the help of prescription medications, and a few self-care measures at home?
Among some of the non-severe but highly irritating medical conditions of the skin is keratosis pilaris. One of the major defense mechanisms of the skin to protect itself from harsh substances and infection is a strong protein known as keratin. This protein is also found in the nails and the hair. This protein is made from a combination of various amino acids, and depending upon these acids, keratin can be hard as in case of nails, or soft, as in the skin. Now due to certain factors, which are still unspecified in the medical community, keratin starts building up, and progresses to form scaly plugs that block the opening of the hair follicle. So as the number of plugs increases, the skin starts getting scalier and develop rough patches. This may be accompanied by the occurrence of small acne-like bumps (red or white) on the affected area; upper arms, thighs or buttocks being the common areas. 40-50% of adult population are affected by this condition, and about 50-80% of teens. People with eczema or atopic dermatitis are known to be more vulnerable to develop this condition. Doctors believe that the condition is linked to genetic diseases. Also, it can affect people who are otherwise, in good health.
Treatment Options for Keratosis Pilaris
Although harmless, this condition is a chronic one; in other words, it has no cure as of now. However, with the help of a few self-care measures, and medications prescribed by the doctor, one can reduce the severity of the symptoms such as dry patches, bumps, and itchiness. So although, you cannot get rid of keratosis pilaris, you can manage and improve it with the help of medications, and a few self-care measures.
Basically, the medications that are used for treating this condition are not specifically meant for the same. Also, doctors always recommend a combination of drugs to improve keratosis pilaris on face and other areas of the body.
- One class of medication that is recommended for the treatment helps to exfoliate the skin chemically. These topical creams contain alpha hydroxy, lactic acid, salicylic acid or urea. Their use not only helps in getting rid of loosen and dry skin cells, but at the same time, keeps the skin soft and moisturized, thus improving the look of the affected skin significantly. It is advisable to get this medication prescribed by a doctor, as he/she would recommend what’s best for the individual’s skin.
- Patients may also have to make use of topical corticosteroids, which help in reducing inflammation. These drugs are designed to suppress the immune system, and decreases the cell turnover (cell turnover is defined as the constant shedding of dead skin cells, and replacement of these cells by the younger ones). It is important to know that use of these immune-suppressing drugs is only meant for short-term use, because otherwise, it may cause more harm than good.
- Medicated skin creams containing retinoids could also be prescribed for some people. Retinoids are chemical compounds that are a derivative of vitamin A. They work as anti-aging agents, and promote cell turnover, thus preventing keratin to plug within the hair follicle.
Some of these medications may be best for some people, and some may benefit others. Now let us know what can be done at home to deal with the condition.
- A skin affected by the keratosis pilaris is sensitive. Keeping this in mind, it is important to understand that scrubbing off the skin aggressively won’t get rid of the plugs or the bumps. Instead, it may irritate the skin, and worsen the condition further.
- After having taken a bath, it is better to gently pat the skin dry with a soft towel, instead of rubbing it. This helps the skin to retain some moisture on it.
- Using a humidifier in the room is recommended, as it keeps the air moist thus, reduces skin dryness.
- And as mentioned above, the medicated creams must be used as recommended. It is best to apply them on the skin while it is still moist after bathing.
- Most people have benefited from using apple cider vinegar mixed in water to take bath.
- Applying yogurt about 15-20 prior to bathing is also an effective method to reduce the keratin deposits on the skin.
Following good hygiene is also an important method to deal with this chronic condition. Cleansing the skin two times a day helps in getting rid of dirt clogging the skin pores. However, care has to be taken against over washing, as it may make the skin drier, and the condition worse.