I'm A Teen With Keratosis Pilaris

Published: July 17, 2013
Dear I'm A Teen With Keratosis Pilaris,

One year ago I got Keratosis Pilaris, like so many others. I never got around telling either one of my parents about it and instead started wearing long armed shirts. I noticed that a fairly popular 'treatment' is to apply cocoanut oil in the shower. But of course for that I need to tell my mother. She's my only hope finding the cocoanut oil. She also has Keratosis Pilaris. What do I do? If I tell her, how? I feel like I've left it too long. All of a sudden I'm not able telling her about it.

Dear I'm A Teen With Keratosis Pilaris,

TeenHealthFX is wondering why you are keeping this a secret? Keratosis pilaris is common skin condition (it affects 50% of the entire world’s population and 50-80% of children and adolescents) and is nothing to be ashamed of. We strongly suggest that you talk to your mother about it. Since she has dealt with the same skin condition, she may already know if various self-care methods that can help improve the appearance of your skin. She can also schedule an appointment with your primary care physician or a dermatologist so you can get some advice on the best treatments and self-care options for you. And she can pick up some coconut oil for you, which many people have found helpful in improving the condition of their skin. Either way, it is important that you talk to your mother about this so you can get the help you need and so that you are not dealing with this all on your own.

If you don't have a doctor and live in northern New Jersey, you can call the Adolescent/Young Adult Center for Health at 973-971-5199 for an appointment with an adolescent medicine specialist or contact your local teen health center. You can also contact your insurance company for a list of in-network primary care physicians or dermatologists.


In addition to talking to your mother and doctor about this, here is some information on keratosis pilaris:

What is keratosis pilaris?

According to the Mayo Clinic:

Keratosis pilaris is a common skin condition that causes rough patches and small, acne-like bumps, usually on the arms, thighs, cheeks and buttocks. Keratosis pilaris bumps are usually white, sometimes red, and generally don't hurt or itch. Keratosis pilaris can be frustrating because it's difficult to treat. However, keratosis pilaris isn't often serious and usually disappears by age 30. In the meantime, prescription medications and self-care measures can improve the appearance of keratosis pilaris.

What treatments are available for keratosis pilaris?

According to the Mayo Clinic, no single treatment universally treats keratosis pilaris. Self-care methods and medicated creams focus on softening the keratin deposits in the skin. Treatment of this skin condition can include medications such as topical exfoliants, topical retinoids, and laser therapy.

What self-help measures can I take?

Lifestyle and home remedies:

Self-help measures won't cure keratosis pilaris, but they can help improve the appearance of your skin. You may find these measures beneficial:

  • Go easy on your skin.Vigorous scrubbing or removal of the plugs may irritate your skin and aggravate the condition.
  • Gently dry off.After washing or bathing, gently pat or blot your skin dry with a towel so that some moisture remains on the skin.
  • Use a moisturizing lotion or lubricating cream. While your skin is still moist from bathing, apply a moisturizer that contains lanolin (Lansinoh, Medela), petroleum jelly (Vaseline) or glycerin (Glysolid), ingredients that soothe dry skin and help trap moisture.
  • Try urea or lactic acid. Apply an over-the-counter product that contains urea (Nutraplus, Eucerin) or lactic acid (AmLactin, Lac-hydrin) twice daily. Both help remove extra keratin from the surface of the skin.
  • Use a humidifier.A portable home humidifier or one attached to your furnace will add moisture to the air inside your home.