Keratosis pilaris, affectionately nicknamed ‘chicken skin’, is that annoying rough, bumpy texture that can appear on our arms and legs. It can look and feel like lots of tiny little whiteheads, but these bumps are actually build-ups of keratin, one of the main proteins that makes up our skin. No one knows why it happens, but it’s perfectly normal and very common, albeit irritating to have. Keratosis pilaris is actually one of the few concerns that can be eliminated by home care alone, so it’s really easy to treat. Here are three ways:
1. AHA body lotions
Body lotions have come a long way. You can now get moisturisers specifically formulated to treat keratosis pilaris and other common skin conditions, like this one from NeoStrata on the TTG shop. The key ingredient is a clever exfoliating acid, usually something like glycolic acid, which is an alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA). It works by breaking down the little bumps and leaving skin nice and smooth. Follow the instructions on the tube for how often to apply it. One caution – AHAs make your skin more sensitive to UV light, so don’t use them just before or when you’re on a sunny holiday, and make sure you use SPF on the areas where you’ve used AHAs if they’re exposed to daylight.
2. Gentle, regular exfoliation
Ditch the harsh body scrubs for a gentle exfoliating mitt to use in the shower. This will gradually slough away the build-up of dead cells from the skin’s surface. Use light, circular motions and don’t go at it too hard – you’ll just irritate and sensitise the skin. You could also incorporate dry body brushing with a special brush before your shower. But again, do it gently. You want to keep those dead cells shedding and turning over, not scrub them raw. Be kind to your skin! Dry brushing also stimulates blood flow and is said to aid lymphatic drainage – both good things for the body.
3. In-clinic peels
It’s probably not necessary, but if you do want to call in the experts, you could visit a practitioner for an in-clinic peel to deal with your chicken skin. A peel solution with salicylic, glycolic or lactic acid (your practitioner will advise) will eat away at those dead cells and dislodge the buildup. You’ll need a few sessions but it may be worth it if you haven’t had any luck treating it yourself at home, as a clinic can apply a stronger concentration of the active acid than you can get in a lotion.
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