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Be Alert for the Hallmark Symptoms of Keratosis Pilaris

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  • Bumps are probably the most common symptom of keratosis pilaris. These are usually painless and very tiny
  • It’s more common for children to develop keratosis pilaris on their upper arms, thighs and cheeks. For teens and adults, bumps may appear on the upper arms, thighs and buttocks

Due to the prevalence of keratosis pilaris, most people who suffer from this condition tend to brush off its warning signs and wait for them to subside on their own, not knowing it’s actually a skin disorder with a designated medical term.

Since keratosis pilaris is not a serious skin disease, its symptoms are mild in most cases. However, these telltale signs may become cosmetically disfiguring, especially for widespread atypical cases. This may lead to psychological stress and depression over time, which is why it’s important to diagnose and treat this condition as soon as you can, especially if you feel like it’s keeping you from living a normal life.1

Keep an Eye Out for These Telltale Signs

Keratosis pilaris is a chronic skin condition, which means that its symptoms may come and go unexpectedly. Here are some of the common signs that you should watch out for:

The warning signs of keratosis pilaris usually occur on the following body parts:8

Back of the upper arms


Front of the thighs


Upper back


It’s more common for children to develop keratosis pilaris on their upper arms, thighs and cheeks. For teens and adults, bumps may appear on the upper arms, thighs and buttocks.9 Some rare cases of this skin condition may also affect the eyebrows, scalp and even the entire body.

Moreover, the severity of keratosis pilaris may vary with every flare up. While most patients report an improvement in their condition with increasing age, others experience an exacerbation of warning signs.10 In case you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above, talk to a physician to get a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

How Is Keratosis Pilaris Diagnosed?

When diagnosing keratosis pilaris, your physician may ask if you’re suffering from other skin disorders, such as eczema or ichthyosis, since people with pre-existing skin conditions are more likely to develop keratosis pilaris. Your doctor may also look into your family history, as genetics play a vital role in the development of this skin condition.

Mild cases of keratosis pilaris may be diagnosed by a simple clinical exam. However, for atypical cases, your doctor may require you to undergo skin biopsy.11 This procedure involves taking a small sample of skin tissue and examining it under a microscope to determine the exact type of skin condition that you have.12


Keratosis Pilaris:Introduction

What Is Keratosis Pilaris?

Keratosis Pilaris Signs & Symptoms

Keratosis Pilaris Causes

Keratosis Pilaris Treatment

Keratosis Pilaris Prevention

Keratosis Pilaris Diet

Keratosis Pilaris FAQ

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Sources and References

  • 1 Medscape, Keratosis Pilaris
  • 2 Medscape, Keratosis Pilaris Treatment & Management
  • 3 The New York Times, Keratosis Pilaris
  • 4, 6, 8, 10, 11 MedicineNet, Keratosis Pilaris
  • 5 Mayo Clinic, Keratosis Pilaris
  • 7 National Health Service, Keratosis Pilaris
  • 9 American Academy of Dermatology, Keratosis Pilaris
  • 12 WebMD, Skin Biopsy
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