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A dermatologist's 3 step guide to keeping 'chicken skin' at bay

January 19th 2018 / Katie Robertson Google+ Katie Robertson / 1 comment


Expert dermatologist Dr. Samantha Bunting provides her top tips for keeping the body bumps of keratosis pilaris at bay

Keratosis pilaris is a very common skin problem and I see a lot of it in clinic,” says expert dermatologist Dr Samantha Bunting. “In fact I even have it too. As many as 40% of the population suffer from it. It’s a genetic disorder (autosomal dominant, which means that if one of your parents has it, you have a 50% chance of getting it) but it has variable penetrance, which means you might carry the gene but not actually have much to show for it."

Keratosis pilaris occurs when there is a buildup of keratin, a hard protein that protects skin from infection and harmful external substances. The keratin then forms a plug that blocks the opening of the hair follicle, resulting in patches of bumpy skin. “It’s those annoying rough little bumps and redness that typically appears on the backs of the upper arms and thighs in a symmetrical pattern,” says Dr. Bunting. “The skin cells don’t exfoliate properly and collect in the top of the hair follicle, creating roughness. You might get it all over your arms, thighs and cheeks. It is associated with atopic eczema and a dry skin condition called ichthyosis vulgaris.”

1-65.jpgBritish Skin Foundation

Unfortunately, there is no universally accepted treatment for chicken skin, though it is largely accepted that unclogging the hair follicles and reducing inflammation can help to make a difference. “Overall treatment is more suppressive rather than curative,” says Dr. Bunting. Here are her top three ways to help keep the bumps at bay.

MORE GLOSS: SOS: Chicken Skin

1. Silky-soft showers

“Use a non-drying shower gel, like Ameliorate Skin Smoothing Shower Cream, £10.50.” Formulated with natural oils that are rich sources of essential fatty acids, this nourishing shower cream replenishes and enhances the skin's natural lipid barrier to prevent moisture loss and strengthen damaged skin. Soap-free and working to balance pH levels, after just a few uses skin is left feeling silky-soft and smooth.

2. Scrub scrub scrub

“Get some exfoliating gloves or a loofah and use once a day regularly,” advises Dr. Bunting. “I particularly like Soap & Glory Exfoliating Scrub Gloves, £4.50.

3. Heaps of hydration

“Apply a rich glycolic acid-based moisturiser twice daily. I recommend NeoStrata Lotion Plus, £42.86. Start slowly and use on alternate days at night. If it sits okay with your skin, after a few days start increasing your use to both morning and evening. Do this for two weeks and once the skin is smooth, you should be able to maintain by using gloves and glycolic moisturiser every second or third day.

“Sadly the redness is not treatable with products and lasers on arms are not very practical. So my advice is to mask the redness with a bit of fake tan and then forget about it.” For instilling an all-over glow we love Clarins Radiance-Plus Golden Glow Booster for Body, £26. Simply pop a few drops of the liquid into your own skincare products to gradually build up a natural, tailor-made tan of dreams.

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Join the conversation

  • Lisa
  • August 13th 2015

Do try Alpha H's Micro Cleanse with Glycolic acid & Rice Bran. Has made an amazing difference on my arms, skin is like glass. Fab product

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