When diagnosed with keratosis pilaris, one of the first questions that most sufferers ask is, “Is there a way to get rid of the ugly bumps?” Unfortunately, there is no permanent cure for keratosis pilaris yet, even though it’s an extremely common skin disorder.
The good news is that keratosis pilaris can clear up on its own over time. This harmless condition doesn’t usually require treatment unless extreme inflammation and/or itching occur. While there is no proven method to get rid of keratosis pilaris for good, there are still ways to alleviate it if you’re bothered by the appearance and texture of your skin.1
Conventional Treatment Options for Keratosis Pilaris
The conventional treatment method for keratosis pilaris involves medicated creams that can be bought over the counter or with a prescription from a doctor. These topical creams include:2
- Exfoliants: Exfoliant creams are used to loosen and remove dead skin cells. These products usually contain alpha hydroxy acid, lactic acid, salicylic acid or urea.
- Retinoids: Retinoid creams prevent keratin from clogging the hair follicles. They usually contain tretinoin, tazarotene and other substances that are related to vitamin A.
It’s important to note that the effects of these medicated creams are only temporary, which means that the rough bumps on your skin may return once you stop using them. These creams may also cause adverse side effects on sensitive skin, especially in young children. Exfoliants may cause redness, stinging and skin irritation,3 while retinoids may cause swelling, peeling and blistering if used excessively.4
Moreover, your doctor may ask you to undergo laser treatment if medicated creams are not enough to alleviate severe redness and inflammation. However, this procedure can be very expensive, and you may need to undergo several sessions before you notice an improvement on your skin.5
The side effects of laser treatment include scab formations, skin discoloration and itching. You should also keep in mind that this procedure is not a cure since it only provides temporary relief.6 Before using the conventional treatment methods to manage keratosis pilaris, you should consider the dangers that they pose first. The last thing you want is to spend your money on ineffective treatments that may cause a variety of side effects.
Safe and Natural Ways to Get Clear and Smooth Skin
If you’re looking for a way to lessen the bumps on your skin without the potential side effects of medicated creams and laser treatments, then try a holistic approach first. There is a variety of home remedies that may help alleviate keratosis pilaris, including:7,8
Coconut oil may be used to moisturize dry skin and exfoliate dead skin cells. It also has anti-inflammatory properties, which make it a great natural remedy for inflamed keratosis pilaris.
You may either apply coconut oil on the affected skin several times a day to keep it moisturized or mix it with granulated sugar to create an exfoliating scrub.
Apple cider vinegar (ACV)
Apple cider vinegar is known to alleviate a variety of skin ailments, thanks to its astringent properties.
You can apply it directly on areas affected by keratosis pilaris. You may also dilute it with water if you think that pure ACV is too strong for your skin. Be sure to leave it on for a few minutes before washing it off.
Baking soda helps exfoliate dead skin cells and reduce the rough bumps on your skin.
Make a paste by mixing two teaspoons of baking soda with a small amount of water. Gently rub the paste on your skin in a circular motion. Repeat this procedure a few times per week for better results.
Oatmeal can help soothe dry and itchy skin. Rub it onto your skin for 10 to 15 minutes to alleviate keratosis pilaris.
Olive oil may be used as a moisturizer. Apply it on the affected skin to help relieve dry and rough bumps.
Epsom salt is rich in minerals that help soften dry skin, soothe itching and relieve inflammation.
Add a cup of Epsom salt to warm bath water, and soak in this mixture for around 20 minutes before patting your skin dry.
Yogurt is natural source of lactic acid, which may help remove keratin buildup from the hair follicles.
Apply a teaspoon of yogurt over your affected skin, and gently rub it in a circular motion. Leave it on for a few minutes before rinsing it with water.
Changing Your Diet Also Helps Improve Your Skin
Adopting a healthy diet can go a long way when it comes to clearing your skin of rough and reddish bumps. Start by keeping your body hydrated — be sure to drink plenty of water every day. You should also consume foods that are rich in vitamin E, such as spinach, broccoli, avocado and raw almonds. Foods that have high omega-3 fatty acid content, like wild-caught Alaskan salmon, are also great for alleviating the symptoms of keratosis pilaris.10