Monday, March 15, 2010

Keratosis Pilaris -- My Bumpy Arms

I have a rather severe case of Keratosis Pilaris -- aka nasty bumps all over my arms, legs, and back. It's very common in woman, it's its also a lovely genetic gift I got from my mother and have a high risk I'll give it to any daughter I may have. For most people, it's stress related and rather unnoticeable. For me, it looks like I'm covered in pimple-like bumps and severe goose bumps, which occasionally get infected and look like popped pimples (gross). Also, because mine is so severe, if you touch my arm (even in passing) you'll notice how rough my skin is and how it feels like an insane case of goose bumps all the time. Recently it's even spread to my upper chest and neck region, which is lovely. I am super concious of it and rarely wear tank tops because of the scars and redness it makes.

Even wikipedia states:

"The condition is often dismissed outright by practitioners as being presently untreatable, giving mere moisturizing suggestions or reassurance that the condition will improve or cease with age, typically after 30. " wikipedia

I have discussed it with every dermatologist I've ever gone to and they never have given me  any recommended treatment. Through my  own googling I found a scrub and moisturizer product that was specifically formulated for KP at Sephora. It was expensive ($44 and $36, respectively) but i was desperate about 7 months before the wedding to cure it, at least temporarily. It did nothing but make me dryer (it's actually a severe dryness, and the moisturizers are all SUPER moisturizers that you're recommended to use 3-6 times a day! holy crap!).  So that was a waste.

Ironically, I started tanning 3-4 times a week to eliminate my pastiness pre-wedding, and that made a huge difference! Apparently UV-B can aid in your skin processing the dead cells, which are what collect when you have KP (forming the bumps). I then would lather up in the shower and use a pumice (yes, the same kind you use on your feet usually), to scrape the rest off. This worked, but then my skin was dry and I was still applying crazy amounts of Cetaphil to my arms and back.

I mentioned this in passing to my GP, and she immediately was shocked at what I was having to do just to keep them from getting red and inflamed on a regular basis.  Her nurse said to try AmLactin, that it's the only thing that worked for her. VOILA!!! Seriously, been dealing with this for my entire life and it took one nurse telling me to try it. I have to ask for it, it's behind the counter at target for some reason (they also apparently sell it at cosco).  But it's not even a KP specific lotion, it's for people with severe dry skin. And I'm now a very loyal customer. It really really works. I juse use it every morning and they go away. i have soft arms for the first time in years and years. :)

But just wanted to share, I know there are a lot of people out there with KP who have no idea 1. what it is, and 2. how to treat it!
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