Avoiding bathing that scrubs off dirt and dead skin cell, keep moisturizing to improvement
Keratosis pilaris is commonly called ‘Chicken Skin’ because of its similar appearance. Keratosis pilaris is a symptom that causes unnecessary dead skin cells to accumulate at the entrance of pores on the arms, calves, thighs, etc. It occurs in both adolescents and adults commonly. If you scratch or remove it, it can become inflamed and worsen the symptoms, which can lead to brown or red pigmentation.
‘Chicken Skin’ is different from keratosis pilaris. It is a phenomenon in which the tissue around the hair rises in a circle due to emotional changes such as fear, sudden cold temperature, and sympathetic nerves. ‘Chicken Skin’ returns to normal skin when the irritation disappears. If the symptoms of ‘Chicken Skin’ continues without disappearing in on area, you can suspect keratosis pilaris.
The exact cause of keratosis pilaris is unknown yet, but most are genetic. If you have atopic dermatitis, the accumulated dead skin tends to appear severely. As like dandruff falls from the scalp, normal skin naturally exfoliates and generates dead skin cells at regular intervals. If the dead skin cells do not fall off and accumulate around the pores, the above symptoms appear.
It usually gets worsen in wintertime because dry skin makes keratosis pilaris worse. However, during the winter, people wear long and thick clothes, so they do not recognize the symptoms properly, but the seasons are changed, when clothes are shortened and thin, there are many cases of visiting a dermatologist.
A typical treatment for keratosis pilaris is peeling. In the past, mechanical peeling was preferred, but recently, there are many cases of chemical peeling using salicylate, which is effective in removing sebum and hyper keratinized dead skin cells. Even if the same chemical peel is applied to the patient, there is a lot of concern about pigmentation on the body side, and it is more likely to become dry and sensitive, and there may be itching. In areas other than the face, it should be peeled with low intensity. Despite caution, if pigment remains in the patients, it can be improved through soft peel laser or laser toning, and in severe cases, it can be continued 4 to 5 times at 1-week intervals.
As the prevalence is high, the demand for treatment is high, but there is no medically perfect treatment yet. Dr. Kyung Tae Hong, a founder of Yonsei Modern Dermatology Clinic, explained, “Although there are ways to treat keratosis pilaris, there is no exact treatment. Moreover, it has the property of not exfoliating even after treatment, so it may rebound over time. Keratosis pilaris requires consistent management to relieve symptoms.”
Dr. Kyung Tae Hong suggested two ways to manage keratosis pilaris.
First of all, if you have keratosis pilaris, it is dry because sebum is not secreted well, so apply a moisturizer well to help protecting skin barrier. In particular, it is recommended to use cosmeceutical products with therapeutic ingredients added to cosmetics. Dr. Hong explained that among cosmeceutical products, safety has been secured by FDA or MFDS certifications, and in terms of ingredients, it is necessary to use a moisturizer containing ingredients that are not harmful to the pores and help treatment. He added that it is necessary to carefully examine whether these cosmeceutical products cause acne, itchiness, or allergies.
Before using a moisturizer, you need to cleanse your body, and how you clean it is also very important. Dr. Hong emphasizes that the act of bathing that scrubs off dirt and dead skin cell, which has become routine enough to be called a bathing culture in Korea, is a representative factor that aggravates keratosis pilaris and should be avoided. Then, Dr. Hong said when consulting with patients with keratosis pilaris, there are many cases that patients often enjoyed bathing that scrubs off dirt and dead skin cell, which could lead to irritant dermatitis. He advised to be cautious of it. Since keratosis pilaris is caused by accumulated dead skin cells, you may think that exfoliating with a rough towel can be helpful, but the purpose of cleansing is not to break the skin barrier. You shouldn’t do this bathing that scrubs off dirt and dead skin cell because an incorrect bath can break the skin barrier’s ability to block external UV, bacteria, dust, etc.
In addition, the reaction of the sebaceous gland to the stimuli that scrubs off dirt and dead skin cell may worsen the symptoms, and it is easy to cause inflammation and pigmentation. No matter how much time is scrubbed, keratosis pilaris skin does not return to normal skin, so it is better to refrain from excessive physical stimulation. The best way to keep moisturizing is by lightly washing your body and applying body lotion while there is still some water remaining so that it soaks into the stratum corneum.