Why People Have Keratosis Pilaris or Chicken Skin

Keratosis Pilaris

Those small bumps on your skin, also known as chicken skin, may be something you’re more comfortable seeing on birds than on your own skin.

This condition, called Keratosis Pilaris, is actually harmless. . It may remain for years but gradually disappears by about the age of 30. It consists of those small, painless bumps on your skin around the hair follicles. These bumps may appear to be red, brown, white, and may even be skin-colored.

Dermatologists actually classify this common skin condition as a skin type instead of a medical condition. It is also more likely in families who have a history of eczema, allergies, or asthma. They are most commonly found on the upper arms, but they can also be found on the cheeks, legs, and buttocks.

What causes keratosis pilaris?

The bumps in keratosis pilaris are collections of dead skin cells that sometimes look like clusters of small pimples. These bumps occur when dead skin cells clog your pores instead of flaking off. Your pores are openings in your skin where hair pushes through the skin (hair follicles). Here are the factors that may cause keratosis pilaris:


Keratosis pilaris is more common in younger people and can worsen during puberty. Babies and teenagers are more likely to develop this condition.


Keratosis pilaris is also linked to certain genetic traits that could make one more likely to develop it in his lifetime. In fact, those who have light skin are more likely to have keratosis pilaris.

Current health conditions

Those who have the following health conditions have an increased risk of developing keratosis pilaris:

  • Certain skin conditions like, eczema or ichthyosis vulgaris (a genetic condition where the dead skin cells look like fish scales).
  • Asthma
  • A higher body weight, or obesity
  • Insulin-dependent diabetes, which has a strong link to celiac disease

Because keratosis pilaris isn’t harmful, you usually don’t need to treat it. For some people, the bumps clear up or become less noticeable by age 30. The bumps can also go away in the summer and only become noticeable during cold weather.

The bumps can also be managed by moisturizers, creams, and gentle skin care. Modifying one’s diet may also be necessary to lessen the bumps.

LifeScience Center Skin Consult

The LifeScience Center Skin Consult can help you with conditions like keratosis pilaris. It looks into the five modifiable lifestyle factors in assessing your skin, including nutrition. Contact us for more information.

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