Photo: Courtesy of amlactin.comHannah Morrill, Allure magazine
Forty percent of the population has a genetic predisposition to keratosis pilaris (KP), the gritty red bumps often found on upper arms and thighs. The condition is so common at dermatologist Doris Day's New York City office that she's developed a surefire course of treatment to keep KP on the DL.
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It's controllable, but not curable. When the skin's keratin proteins form hard plugs at the hair follicles rather than shedding normally, KP is born. While you may eventually outgrow the condition, there's no permanent solution.
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Avoid harsh scrubs. Abrasive ones can inflame the already sandpapery bumps. Glycolic acid cleansers, such as Glytone Exfoliating Body Wash, gently dissolve the dead cells that bind the plugs.
Switch your moisturizer. An alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) cream, like AmLactin, loosens keratin buildup while it moisturizes. Most people notice smoother skin and less redness after three to four weeks.
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A visit to the doctor could help. A series of chemical peels over three to five months can suppress KP almost completely. Vitalize Peel has a particularly potent blend of AHA and retinoic acid and costs about $200 per treatment.