Have you ever wondered why you have those bothersome red spots on your arms? You know the ones that I mean. The ones which look like permanent goose pimples. The rash appears to be dozens of tiny red bumps packed closely together, and it’s often called ‘chicken skin’.
Well, the official name for it is keratosis pilaris. But you have no need to worry, it’s not as severe as it sounds. It’s actually quite common and it’s usually harmless, so there’s no need to visit your doctor about it unless it’s causing you anxiety.
The ailment mainly affects the back of the upper arms, and it can sometimes show up on your backside and the front of your thighs.
There are also very rare forms of keratosis pilaris which can affect the eyebrows, face and even your scalp, and in some isolated cases, your entire body. If you’re questioning how you ended up with it, you can blame your parents.
It’s an inherited condition and it usually runs in the family. If one of your parents have it, there’s a 50% chance that any kids they have will also end up with it. But what causes it?
According to medical specialists, keratosis pilaris occurs when too much keratin builds up in the skin’s hair follicles.
Keratin is a protein which is generally found in the tough outer(derma) layer of skin, which causes the surface of the skin to thicken. The excess keratin stops any hair follicles with plugs of hard, rough skin which in turn widen the pores.
This is what gives your skin a spotty look. Usually, it’s worse during winter, or when it’s dry. But thankfully it normally improves in the summertime. Keratosis pilaris isn’t contagious and typically improves as you get older.
In some cases, it can vanish completely when you reach adulthood (around the age of 25). There’s no cure for it, but there are some things you can do to fight it.
You may be able to improve the rash by using soap-free cleansers. Most people don’t know that soap can actually dry out your skin, which makes the condition worse. It also helps to keep the skin moisturized and exfoliate daily to gently remove any dead skin cells.