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Keratosis Pilaris Treatment: How I Got Rid of My Keratosis Pilaris (Chicken Skin)


This is my personal one-month Keratosis Pilaris Treatment and how I was able to get rid of Keratosis Pilaris (Chicken Skin) permanently! When I was younger I used to think I was shaving over goosebumps and that’s what was giving me all these annoying red bumps. It wasn’t until later that I realized I had Keratosis Pilaris.

It is such an annoying condition so I totally understand your frustrations. After extensive research and years of trial and error, here is the step-by-step Keratosis Pilaris treatment plan I used to finally get rid of what they call “chicken skin” and keep it gone!

What is Keratosis Pilaris?

To figure out how to get rid of Keratosis Pilaris, I first needed to fully understand what it is and its cause. Keratosis Pilaris is a common skin condition also known as Chicken Skin. It causes scaly, small bumps on the skin where there are hair follicles. The bumps can commonly appear on the upper arms, thighs, and buttocks. They can also appear on the cheeks, neck, and sides of the torso. 

I have this condition on my upper thighs as well as the back of my arms. I’ve had it since I was young and still have it into my early 40s if I do not diligently follow the routine below.

What Causes Keratosis Pilaris?

Keratosis Pilaris is caused by an overproduction of Keratin on the skin. This buildup of keratin, a hair protein, then clogs the pores and blocks the opening of growing hair follicles. As a result, a small bump forms over where a hair should be.



Symptoms of Keratosis Pilaris

While Keratosis Pilaris is a harmless skin condition, it affects the appearance of the skin. This genetic condition causes small rough tiny bumps all over the surface of the skin. Though this is actually a common condition its appearance can have a negative effect on a person’s overall well-being and self-esteem. The appearance of the bumps can be especially noticeable on light skin. They can also cause the skin to be itchy in the affected areas.

What Worsens or Triggers Keratosis Pilaris?

Understanding what worsens or triggers Keratosis Pilaris was one of the key factors that helped me treat this condition. One of the main factors that can cause this condition to worsen is dry skin. This is why Keratosis Pilaris can also be worse during the winter months and cold weather since our skin is typically drier during this time. 


My Keratosis Pilaris Treatment

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to get rid of Keratosis Pilaris. This took me about one month of consistency. Then I have to be diligent with my skincare routine on my legs and arms or it will return. Here is my at home Keratosis Pilaris treatment.

Step 1

To treat Keratosis Pilaris, first start with taking a warm bath, and after about 20 minutes, stand and use a Korean exfoliating mitt on the areas that have Keratosis Pilaris to start exfoliating the clogged hair follicles.

Step 2

While in the bath, use a sharp pointy tweezer to open any large blocked hair follicles and gently remove the blocked hair. This can be tedious but it is important to unblock these hairs so that we can now prevent them from becoming blocked again.

Step 3

Once you are finished with your bath immediately moisturize your skin. I have only found one lotion that is effective at reducing Keratosis Polaris and that is the Cetaphil Daily Smoothing Moisturizer for Rough and Bumpy Skin . This product is 20% Urea and I’ve found it to be essential in my Keratosis Pilaris treatment.

Here is why this 20% Urea cream works so well. Notice its effect on dissolving Keratin which is the main culprit of what causes Keratosis Pilaris:

Urea is used to treat dry/rough skin conditions (such as eczema, psoriasis, corns, callus) and some nail problems (such as ingrown nails). It may also be used to help remove dead tissue in some wounds to help wound healing. Urea is known as a keratolytic. It increases moisture in the skin by softening/dissolving the horny substance (keratin) holding the top layer of skin cells together. This effect helps the dead skin cells fall off and helps the skin keep more water in.


Step 4

Use the Cetaphil lotion every morning when you wake up and every evening when you go to bed.

You’re going to continue the exfoliation bath, steps 1-3, once a week until your Keratosis Pilaris is looking 90% better. Then we are going to move into preventative maintenance to keep the Keratosis Pilaris from returning.

How to Prevent Keratosis Pilaris From Returning or Worsening

Keratosis Pilaris is a chronic condition that will need a gentle skin care routine to treat it effectively. If I do not diligently follow this routine, my condition will return and I have to start all over. 


To prevent the Keratosis Pilaris from returning or getting worse it’s extremely important that you keep your skin well moisturized. You will need to moisturize with the Cetaphil lotion every morning and every evening. Also, be sure to use it as soon as you step out of the shower. Do not let your skin get completely dry. With daily use, this body lotion can make a dramatic difference.

I do not recommend the use of petroleum jelly or coconut oil because they are both capable of clogging your pores which can make the condition worse.


Tretinoin or Adapalene Gel

Then, once a week you’re going to add a small dime-sized amount of 0.025% or 0.05% Tretinoin Gel to your lotion for each leg and massage into the affected area. If you cannot get Tretinoin prescribed, then use Adapalene Gel since this is the best form of Vitamin A you can get over the counter.

Using topical retinoids is going to be much more effective than using alpha hydroxy acids, glycolic acid, azelaic acid, salicylic acid, or lactic acid products. These products do help to remove dead skin cells, but using a retinoid such as Differin Gel (Adapalene gel) or Tretinoin has an effect on breaking down the excess keratin, which is why I believe it has worked better.

Adapalene is thought to modulate keratinisation, differentiation and inflammation of follicular epithelial cells. This results in a reduction in microcomedones, the precursors of acne lesions.

Waugh, J.; Noble, S.; Scott, L.J. Adapalene: A Review of Its Use in the Treatment of Acne Vulgaris. Drugs 200464, 1465–1478. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]

“Keratosis pilaris is believed to be a disorder of keratinization” which adapalene helps to regulate and prevent. This is why I use this powerful retinoid to prevent Keratosis Pilaris from forming.

Hwang S, Schwartz RA. Keratosis pilaris: A common follicular hyperkeratosis. Cutis. 2008;82:177–80. [PubMed] [Google Scholar] [Ref list]


Moisturizing Body Wash

Do not use a body wash that dries your skin. I use and love Vanicream body wash and facewash which are incredibly gentle and moisturizing.

Exfoliating Wash Cloth

To keep my skin regularly exfoliated and remove the buildup of dead skin cells, I also use a very gentle exfoliating cloth every time I shower.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology:

To diminish the bumps and improve your skin’s texture, dermatologists often recommend exfoliating (removing dead skin cells from the surface of your skin). Your dermatologist may recommend that you gently remove dead skin with a loofah or at-home microdermabrasion kit.

Treating Keratosis Pilaris with Laser Treatments

If you are suffering from Keratosis Pilaris in an area that can be treated with Laser Hair Removal then this will immediately solve the issue because you will no longer have hair follicles that can become plugged. One issue is that the hairs in areas such as the upper arms and legs are sometimes too thin to treat. Here are some laser hair removal machines you can purchase at home that I have found to be effective, though it takes much more frequent treatments.

Laser hair removal is great for treating Keratosis Pilaris on the lower legs and neck. It can also be great for the upper legs and arms if your hair is dark and thicker.

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How to Camaflouge Keratosis Pilaris

If you are suffering from Keratosis Pilaris, I understand firsthand how frustrating it can be. I’ve had days where I didn’t even want to wear shorts or a skirt. If you have fair skin, these bumps can be even more noticeable. I recommend using Jergans Natural Glow lotion which can add a little color that looks natural and can help camouflage Keratosis Pilaris.

If you’re going on a trip, you can also get a spray tan.

Can Keratosis Pilaris Be Cured?

Unfortunately, there is no known cure for Keratosis Pilaris. For many people, the condition goes away into your adult life, but that definitely was not the case for me. The best way to prevent this condition is with a diligent skin care routine. It took me years of experimenting with different products and treatments to finally find a solution that actually worked. There is no medical treatment that will cure this skin condition but with this Keratosis Pilaris treatment plan, you can visibly get rid of the condition or make it dramatically better.

If you have found this Keratosis Pilaris treatment helpful, please comment below and let me know. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask, I always respond to messages that are left here. Just remember that even though there is no cure, you can make it much, much better but it will take a new dedicated skincare routine.

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About The Author

Sondra Barker is a skincare and beauty enthusiast with over 10 years of experience working in the aesthetic industry. She began her career working as a consultant and patient coordinator at Epione Beverly Hills and went on to manage her own medical spa before becoming the director of operations for 3 medical spas in Orange County, CA. She is the founder and CEO of the media site Cuisine & Travel and loves sharing her skincare and beauty tips in the lifestyle section of the website.


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