Keratosis pilaris (KP) describes bumpy, dry skin caused by hair follicles becoming plugged by dry skin cells. It can occur at any age or location on the body, but it is particularly common on the upper arms of teenagers and adults, and on the cheeks of infants. A KP rash seldom itches, is never painful, and is similar in texture to coarse sandpaper. It is more common in people with dry skin, such as people with atopic dermatitis (eczema). It tends to arise or worsen during winter months when the air is dry.

Types of Keratosis Pilaris

Below are a few of the most common forms: 

  • Keratosis Pilaris Rubra – red bumps on the arms, head, or legs
  • Keratosis Pilaris Alba – bumpy skin with little irritation
  • Keratosis Pilaris Rubra Faceii – red rash on cheeks


Keratosis pilaris is typically not a serious skin condition and usually does not itch. However, if the appearance is bothersome, there are a few at-home and medicinal treatment options to improve their appearance. Generally, treatment is focused on moisturizing the skin and gently removing the outermost layers of excessive skin.

At-Home Remedies To Treat KP

Because KP is correlated with dry skin, most of the remedies involve keeping skin moist. 

  • Lotion – KP is often linked to dry skin, so simply keeping your skin moisturized may help
  • Regulate Bathing –  Long, hot baths/showers dry the skin out by washing away healthy oils. Limit bathing to 10 minutes, and use warm (not hot) water. 
  • Humidifier – These devices add moisture to a room, and will help to keep skin moist.
  • Loose-fitting Clothing – Tight-fitting clothing can cause friction on the pores, exacerbating KP’s appearance

Medicinal Treatments for KP

  • Steroids – Certain steroids can aid hormone production, which can quell KP.
  • Anti Inflammatories – These medications can decrease swelling associated with KP.

Skin Cancer & Dermatology Institute has Greater Reno-Tahoe area locations to assist with KP treatment.

You can also book an appointment to discuss keratosis pilaris treatment with a Skin Cancer & Dermatology Institute provider today.