What is Keratosis Pilaris, home treatment, has a cure?


What is keratosis pilaris?

Pilar keratosis is the appearance of keratinized “balls” around the hair follicles (the place where the hair is born). They are small and hard, with an appearance similar to goosebumps, but permanent and darkened.

The balls can vary in shade according to the individual, and may be whitish, red or brown. Fortunately, it is benign, that is, it does not pose any health risks.

This condition tends to make the skin rough and bumpy. It usually appears on the upper part of the arms, but not exclusively, since at least 30% of the carriers also have them on the legs, face, buttocks and in front of the thighs.

It can also be called follicular keratosis, cutis anserina and chicken skin.

Approximately 40% of people around the world suffer from some degree of this disease. It is much more common among women, but men also suffer from it. Some even report their appearance in the abdomen, which is very rare.


The main cause of keratosis is hyperkeratosis , that is, an accumulation of keratin caused by the excess production of this protein in the skin.

Usually of genetic origin, keratosis pilaris is autosomal dominant, that is, if only one parent has genes with excess keratin, it is enough for the child to have the disease as well.

However, there are rare reported cases where the individual does not manifest the disease due to the good hydration conditions of the skin.

Keratin is a protein formed by amino acids, responsible mainly for protection, because it creates a barrier between the organism and the outside world. It prevents the entry of microorganisms into the body, as well as water leaving the skin, in order to prevent cutaneous dehydration.

However, in keratosis pilaris, the accumulation of this substance leaves the skin dehydrated and dry, in addition to forming pellets.

There are some experts in aromatherapy who believe that this disease is the manifestation of the negative feelings kept. However, there is no study to prove this theory.


This disease can only be transmitted genetically, that is, it is not infectious.

Therefore, if you live with a person with keratosis pilaris, you can follow your routine normally, without the need to worry about contracting keratosis or avoiding physical contact with that person.

Groups of risk

As a genetic disease, keratosis pilaris usually appears during childhood and, in some cases, during adolescence. Those who have parents with the disease are at greater risk of developing it.

Other groups that are susceptible and whose stage is aggravated are the people who:

Have dry skin

All types of skin can have keratosis, but the rich ones for dry skin are much larger.

The main cause of dry skin is its inability to regulate its hydration. This can cause keratosis to manifest, since it is also associated with a lack of hydration of the skin.

Autoimmune diseases

Atopic dermatitis is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation of the skin. It is believed that its relationship with keratosis is due to the difficulty of permeability of the skin.

People who have allergic diseases, such as asthma or rhinitis , are more likely to develop keratosis pilaris.

Bad eating habits

Although keratosis pilaris is a genetic disease, there is evidence that a diet lacking in vitamin A can lead to the appearance of pellets on the skin. However, there is nothing proven and it cannot be said that this is the real cause of the problem.


Keratosis is an asymptomatic disease, that is, it has no apparent symptoms such as nausea, headaches, pain and etc. Its only indication is the pellets on the skin.

How is the diagnosis of keratosis pilaris made?

Because it is an asymptomatic disease, its simple appearance leads to a diagnosis. If you suspect you have keratosis pilaris, see a dermatologist . He will be able to diagnose the condition through a simple physical exam.

However, it is not uncommon for this condition to be confused with ingrown hairs, folliculitis or acne . Unfortunately, it is little publicized, which makes it difficult for patients to question the wrong diagnosis.

Is keratosis pilaris curable?

Yes and no. Pilar keratosis is variable from one individual to another. By that, we mean that some people heal themselves while others manage, at most, to smooth the problem.

This is especially true for those with a genetic predisposition. Those who do not have cases of keratosis pilaris in the family are more likely to eliminate the disease. Those who have it have their chances reduced.

It is also possible that the disease will disappear on its own at around 30 years of age.

What is the treatment for keratosis pilaris?

There are two ways to treat keratosis pilaris. However, it is important to say that treatment is not mandatory because, unlike many skin diseases, keratosis is not malignant. You can have a normal life with her. The difference is that the carrier will have “balls” in the body.

Treatment is not always effective for all people in the sense of cure, but it greatly improves the aspect of the disease, which is the main reason for many people to seek dermatologists.

Often, keratosis pilaris disappears on its own, without any intervention. For those who do not enjoy patience, or who are not so lucky, there are two methods that can alleviate the disease:

Internal treatment

It is very common for people with this disease to seek skin treatments directly, which is not surprising since it is a skin problem. However, it is also possible to treat the problem from the inside out.

This is because the human body needs several things to stay healthy, but not everything is so simple, so everything must go through different processes until it gets where it is needed. This is the case for vitamins A, D and K.

These fat-soluble vitamins are necessary to maintain the health of the skin. This happens through cell membranes that are maintained through these lipids (fats), leaving the skin more hydrated.

The foods that you should eat to consume the vitamins that moisturize your skin are:

Beef liver steak

The best way to consume vitamin A is by eating meat from organs, especially bovine liver.

Vegetables in general

No, vegetables do not have vitamin A, as many people believe. However, they do have beta-carotene, which can be converted to vitamin A by the intestine.

However, for those who do not have the flora in perfect working order, the consumption of vegetables in search of the vitamin becomes useless.

Pasture cattle butter

The Vitamin K can be found in grazing cattle butter. This is so specific, since most of the slaughtered and commercialized cattle are fed with grains, which is not ideal, since the grains destroy these vitamins.

Meanwhile, cattle that are fed only with grass have abundant vitamins in their body and, when consumed by humans, transmit them these vitamins.

It is not just cattle that go through this process of destroying vitamins by consuming excess grains: people have the same problem. Therefore, it is necessary to know how to balance your consumption.

Consume cold water fish

Cold water fish are rich in omega 3, which helps keratin to dilute in the body, preventing its accumulation. Some cold water fish are:

  • Tuna fish;
  • Salmon;
  • Mackerel.

External treatment

Topical (external) treatment is done in two stages:


In the exfoliation process, dead cells are removed, which are disrupting the skin’s health. Easy to reproduce exfoliations are:

  • Bath sponges: The friction of the sponge on the skin helps to remove dead cells. It is important not to use bushings, as they are very abrasive and, instead of improving, they can worsen the condition;
  • Bath with exfoliating soap: Currently, several soaps with small seeds are commercialized, which exfoliate the skin while the soap cleans it;
  • Sugar scrub: This method is more aggressive than the other two above, so it should only be done two to three times a month.


Just like exfoliation, there are several ways to moisturize your skin with keratosis. The most recommended by dermatologists are:

Use urea-based creams:

Urea is one of the components of the Natural Hydration Factor (NMF) in the skin’s hydrolipidic mantle. When used directly on the skin, it increases the hydration capacity of the dermis (skin).

Hydrate every day:

The expected result is that the balls are reduced. This can happen when the skin is extremely hydrated. For this, it is recommended to apply body moisturizer to the affected areas at least 2 times a day.

Hydrate yourself in the bath:

During the bath, use oat or goat’s milk soaps. The oatmeal soap exfoliates and moisturizes, while the milk soap makes the lumps softer.

Use a moisturizer with lactic acid:

Lactic acid helps to break down the keratin that accumulates in the skin.

Take a milk bath:

Because it contains lactic acid, the milk bath or with milk diluted in water helps to undo the high concentration of keratin. This is a procedure that can be performed regularly.

Apply moisturizers that contain vitamin A:

This vitamin is an important ally to fight dry skin.

Use yogurt as a moisturizer:

Yogurt contains lactic acid, which decreases dryness of the skin and provides relief from excess keratin.

Apply 3 to 4 tablespoons of yogurt over the affected area, after 15 minutes remove the product with warm or cold water.

It is recommended to dry yourself with a soft and supple fabric, so that there is no annoying friction for the balls.

Make masks with acetylsalicylic acid ( Aspirin ):

Use acetylsalicylic acid to soothe irritation and redness in the area. Crush some pills and add an equal amount of water over the obtained powder, making a mask for the affected region.

Rub gently and let stand for a few minutes, then wash with warm or cold water.

Apply coconut oil:

It is not new that coconut oil is indicated for hydration. Commonly prescribed to moisturize the hair, this oil can also be very useful for those who have keratosis pilaris.

In addition to having moisturizing lipids, it has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, which helps to prevent inflammation in the balls.

Use organic apple cider vinegar:

Apple cider vinegar, which is also used for hair care, is one of the allies of those with keratosis pilaris. It is anti-inflammatory and has great cleaning properties.

To use it, it’s simple: in a small container, add the apple cider vinegar and, with the help of a cotton or similarly soft fabric, apply it over the affected area.

Wait a few minutes and rinse with warm or cold water. It is also possible to add 1 or 2 tablespoons of the vinegar during the bath.


As those who have keratosis may suffer a little at the time of epilation, some dermatologists may recommend laser hair removal, as it acts directly on the hair follicles, where the accumulation of keratin is usually.

Does this work in all cases? No, but it can help the aesthetic aspect for many cases.


Among external and internal treatments, the drugs commonly indicated are:


  • Cod liver oil supplement (for those who don’t like to eat liver);
  • Dehydrated liver;
  • Vitamin D supplementation .


  • Urea-based creams ;
  • Balm creams ;
  • Body moisturizer ;
  • Body moisturizer based on vitamin A;
  • Oat soap ;
  • Goat milk soap;
  • Coconut oil ;
  • Body scrub ;
  • Sunscreen .


NEVER self-medicate or stop using a medication without first consulting a doctor. Only he will be able to tell which medication, dosage and duration of treatment is the most suitable for his specific case. The information contained in this website is only intended to inform, not in any way intended to replace the guidance of a specialist or serve as a recommendation for any type of treatment. Always follow the instructions on the package insert and, if symptoms persist, seek medical or pharmaceutical advice.

Living with keratosis pilaris

Those who choose to undergo treatment will follow a specific routine for a long time, keeping in mind that they should never stop, since, in the vast majority of cases, the disease is not curable and only disappears when it pleases.

Regardless of whether or not you are undergoing treatment, for individuals who shave, it is important to avoid shaving with the razor. This is because the blade was not made thinking about the small rashes that appear on the skin, and with that it can cause injuries.

In many cases, no pain or itching is reported. However, there are those who go through these types of situations. Good tips are:

Avoid scratching

Yes, when something itches it is difficult to resist the almost maddening impulse that leads us to scratch the infamous place. However, when this occurs, the skin becomes irritated and it is possible that these “balls” become hypersensitive, red, inflamed or even bleed.

To prevent this episode from happening, it may be a good practice to rub alcohol gel, arnica-based creams or any other refreshing solution suitable for the skin.

Epilation care

As stated above, razor blades were not designed for those with keratosis, but that does not mean that their use is prohibited. It is only advisable to double the care, since keratosis is, for the blade, a spine that must be eliminated.

A good idea for those who cannot afford other hair removal methods, such as laser and wax, is to triple the use of shaving foam. This foam allows the blade to slide more easily and thus smoothly passes over the keratosis.

Never, never, under any circumstances do the epilation only with water. This can harm any skin, but for those with keratosis it is even worse, as the blade becomes aggressive and can sometimes tear the keratosis’ upper “skin”, making it bleed and possibly ignite.

Beware of exfoliation

There is an exfoliation limit that is advisable per month (usually 2 times is enough), but it can vary from substance to substance. It is always necessary to consult a dermatologist, as not all substances that are good for other people will be good for you.

Avoid prolonged bathing in hot water

Whenever possible, avoid very hot baths and for a long time, as this removes the mantle-lipid layer of the skin, which is responsible for its softness and hydration. As someone who has keratosis pilaris already suffers from the reduction of this mantle, the hot bath worsens the situation.

Watch out for time

Dry times attack anyone’s skin, who has keratosis suffers twice as much, maybe even triple it. So, whenever possible, avoid very dry climates and use an air humidifier, always remembering to moisturize your skin.

Love yourself

For those who cannot get rid of the disease, it can be a tremendous nuisance to wear clothes that show little rashes.

It is important to know that this is part of you, it will probably be with you for the rest of your life, if not a large part of it. It doesn’t make sense to hate your own body, mainly because it’s something you can’t change. It is easier to spend energy loving yourself than hating yourself. So love yourself regardless of anything!


Pilar keratosis is caused by overproduction of keratin in the skin and, if left untreated, can develop into pimple-like lesions, which inflame and leave dark spots on the skin.

Although benign, this condition can cause aesthetic problems.

How to prevent abutment keratose?

Pillar keratosis is mainly genetic. Since the problem here is excess keratin, there are no ways to prevent these cases.

In rare situations, in which the person can develop the disease without a family history, good preventive measures are:

Hydrate your body

First of all, hydration is and will always be fundamental in the life of all beings. There are countless diseases that can be delayed and even prevented when we drink at least 2 liters of water a day.

In the case of keratosis, where keratin makes it difficult to retain water in the skin, it is important to hydrate yourself to try to reverse the condition.

Moisturize your skin

Use of moisturizers goes far beyond leaving the skin smelling. The moisturizer penetrates through the pores and moistens the skin, leaving it looking healthy and soft.


As previously mentioned, the sun is the main source of vitamin D, a substance that, in turn, is synthesized by human skin and helps to keep it nourished.

However, it is important to avoid high-risk schedules, that is, from 10 am to 4 pm. At other times, just use the sunscreen to be protected.

Healthy eating

Healthy eating is based on the same criteria as water consumption. It is essential in any situation.

Some examples of what to consume in vitamins are:

Vitamina K

  • Broccoli;
  • Cauliflower;
  • Spinach;
  • Chard.

Vitamin A

  • Egg yolk;
  • Papaya;

Vitamin D

  • Milk;
  • Tuna fish;
  • This;
  • Mushrooms;
  • Beef liver steak.

If possible, avoid taking diuretic teas excessively, as they help to eliminate the water present in the body and those who suffer from this disease no longer have that much water.

When you consume these teas in excess, you lose even more the necessary liquid that helps in moisturizing your skin.

Common questions

Because it is a disease with little widespread knowledge, it is common for doubts to arise. The most common are:

Who has keratosis pilaris can get tattoos?

It depends. At first, tattoo ink should not affect keratosis. However, it is possible that complications may occur in some cases. The best thing to do is to consult your dermatologist, he will know how to assess whether or not your skin can undergo a tattoo without suffering complications.

In the summer, can keratosis increase?

No. In fact, the opposite is true: in summer, the skin tends to be more exposed to the sun and to be more hydrated, which helps to reduce the thickness of the lesions.

Can wearing tight clothes increase keratosis?

No. Whoever says that is absolutely wrong. Can clothing influence the keratin your body produces? No! So this is a false statement.

What happens is that the friction between the fabric and the skin can harm the balls. Jeans are a great example, due to their roughness. With that, it is possible that there is inflammation.

Keratosis pilaris can disappear on its own, as well as last a lifetime, and good measures to be taken are internal and external hydration. Treatment should always be accompanied by a dermatologist.

If you know someone else who suffers from these annoying balls, please indicate our article!