Most of us will experience Keratosis Pilaris (KP), or “chicken skin,” sometime in our lifetime. In fact, roughly half of the world’s population suffers from it at any time. KP is characterized by red, tiny bumps or rough patches on your skin, most commonly found on the back of the upper arms and front thighs. It occurs when dead skin cells accumulate and cause plugs in hair follicles. Since dry skin exacerbates KP, it is usually worse during winter.
Although there is no known cure for KP, there are plenty of natural ways to treat your skin at home. Moisturizing, gently exfoliating and staying hydrated are keys to successful KP treatment. Check out these remedies that include many ingredients you probably already have on hand!
10 Natural Remedies for Treating Keratosis Pilaris
1. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar isn’t just a cooking ingredient. The vinegar’s natural medicinal properties also make it a great, multi-purpose skincare tool to keep on hand. To help clear KP, stir a 1:1 ratio of apple cider vinegar and water, and then apply to the affected area for a few minutes.
The malic acid in apple cider vinegar works as a gentle, natural exfoliant to remove the excess skin cells. You can do this treatment a few times a day until you see results.
2. Stay Hydrated
Dry skin exacerbates KP so staying hydrated can make a big difference in the texture of your skin. It can be a real challenge to drink more water but your skin will thank you for the effort. You can also hydrate with simple smoothie recipes that easily transform fruits and veggies into a real treat!
3. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Fish oil has great benefits for keeping our skin, hair and nails healthy. Cold water fish (think wild salmon, tuna and sardines), distilled fish oil supplements, sprouted chia seeds and flax seeds are easy options for adding more omega-3 fatty acids to your diet and protecting your skin cells.
4. Coconut Oil
Pure, virgin coconut oil is a great go-to for not only maintaining glowing skin and hair, but also for treating annoying skin problems. The fatty acids give coconut oil anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, shown to reduce the inflammation and redness from skin conditions, such as KP. Mix together a 1:2 ratio of white granulated sugar/brown sugar and coconut oil, gently scrub for 2-4 minutes, and rinse with water.
5. Vitamin A
Be sure to get sufficient Vitamin A from foods in your diet. The retinol derived from vitamin A prevents skin cells from accumulating and plugging while also encouraging cell turnover – a key part of keeping your skin healthy and glowing. Bonus: Fruits like strawberries, papayas and mangoes are naturally high in vitamin A and also make wonderful scrubs.
You can find also find retinol in body lotions or acne treatments to apply directly to the skin.
6. Baking Soda
Baking soda is not just for baking your cookies! It also has excellent exfoliating properties for your skin, removing dead cells and opening pores. Mix 2-3 tablespoons of baking soda and water to form a paste, gently scrub the affected area for 3-5 minutes, and rinse. How easy is that?
7. Oatmeal Bath
Nothing soothes your skin and calms your mind after a long day quite like a bath, right? Toss in a handful of powdered oats to a lukewarm bath (beware, hot water can actually irritate your skin) and you’ve got yourself an extra moisturizing bath to treat your dry skin.
8. Sour Cream
Leftover sour cream from Taco Tuesday? Use it to help treat your KP! The lactic acid naturally found in sour cream helps to remove keratin buildup that can irritate your skin. Alone, or with a little white or brown sugar, gently rub in a circular motion for a few minutes and then rinse. You can also use other ingredients from your fridge that contain lactic acid, such as yogurt or buttermilk.
9. Olive Oil
Most of us keep olive oil on hand, and it turns out that its amazing moisturizing properties can also help treat KP. Rich in vitamin E, olive oil can decrease bumpiness and dryness of your skin. Apply directly to your skin, or add in a little sugar to further exfoliate your skin. You can also give your hair some extra love with this great go-to hair mask, all while treating your skin. Multi-tasking is what we’re all about!
The low humidity in cold winter air is a known culprit for dry skin in general, but it’s especially problematic for those suffering from KP. I highly recommend investing in a good humidifier to treat and soothe your dry skin. If you live in an area with hard water, purchasing a home water softener can do wonders for both your skin and your hair.
This post was medically reviewed by Dr. Jennifer Haley, a board-certified dermatologist with extensive experience in medical, cosmetic and surgical dermatology. Learn more about Hello Glow’s medical review board here. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.977