Home Featured Banish Arm Bumps with 10 At-Home Keratosis Pilaris Remedies

Banish Arm Bumps with 10 At-Home Keratosis Pilaris Remedies

Banish Arm Bumps with 10 At-Home Keratosis Pilaris Remedies

Most of us will experience keratosis pilaris (KP), or “chicken skin,” sometime in our lifetimes. In fact, roughly half of the world’s population suffers from it at any given time [source]. KP is characterized by red, tiny bumps or rough patches on your skin, most commonly found on the back of the upper arms, buttocks, and thighs [source].

What causes keratosis pilaris?

The actual cause of the condition is still unknown, but it occurs when dead skin cells accumulate, forming plugs in hair follicles [source]. Since dry skin exacerbates KP, it is usually worse during winter.

Although there is no known cure for KP, there are plenty of natural ways to treat your skin at home. Moisturizing, gently exfoliating, and keeping the skin hydrated are keys to successful KP treatment [source]. Check out these remedies that include many ingredients you probably already have on hand!

10 Natural Remedies for Treating Keratosis Pilaris

10 Natural Remedies for Treating Keratosis Pilaris

1. Exfoliate with apple cider vinegar

ACV isn’t just a cooking ingredient. This vinegar’s natural medicinal properties also make it a great, multi-purpose skincare tool to keep on hand. Like most fruit-based products, there is no doubt that it is an antioxidant.

Apple Cider Vinegar | 10 Keratosis Pilaris Remedies

But it has also been shown to kill some of the more common types of bacteria and fungi that hang out on the skin [source]. To help clear KP, stir a 1:1 ratio of apple cider vinegar and water and then apply to the affected area for a few minutes.

The malic acid in apple cider vinegar is a hydroxy acid [source] that works as a gentle, natural exfoliant to remove excess skin cells. You can do this treatment a few times a day until you see results.

2. Up your hydration

Dryness exacerbates KP, so keeping the skin hydrated can make a big difference in its appearance and texture [source]. Keep moisturizer on it at all times, paying particular attention to ingredients such as ceramides that help to maintain the skin’s natural barrier function [source].

Making sure your body is well hydrated is also an important step. Sometimes, it can be a real challenge to drink more water, but your skin will thank you for the effort. You can also hydrate with simple smoothie recipes that easily transform your everyday fruits and veggies into a real treat!

3. Eat more omega-3 fatty acids

Fish oil has great benefits for keeping our skin, hair, and nails healthy [source]. Cold water fish (think wild salmon, tuna, and sardines) are used to make distilled fish oil supplements. For vegetarians—and everyone—organic chia seeds, hemp seeds, and flax seeds are easy options for adding more omega-3 fatty acids into your diet to nourish and protect your skin cells.

KP Coconut Oil Scrub | 10 Keratosis Pilaris Remedies

4. Coconut oil for keratosis pilaris

Pure, cold-pressed virgin coconut oil is a great go-to for not only maintaining glowing skin and hair but also for treating annoying skin problems. The fatty acids give coconut oil its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties and have been shown to reduce the inflammation and redness from skin conditions [source], such as KP.

To make an exfoliating scrub, mix together a 1:2 ratio of white granulated sugar/brown sugar and coconut oil. Gently scrub the areas for 2–4 minutes, and rinse with water.

5. Get retinol from vitamin A in your diet

Be sure to get sufficient vitamin A from the nutritious foods in your diet. Think carrots, sweet potatoes, and really any orange or yellow fruit or veggie. The retinol derived from vitamin A prevents skin cells from accumulating and plugging pores while also encouraging cell turnover—a key part of keeping your skin healthy and glowing.

Bonus: Fruits like strawberries, papayas, and mangoes are naturally high in vitamin A and also make wonderful scrubs.

Besides eating these “nutraceuticals,” which is so easy to do, you can also find retinol in body lotions and acne treatments to apply directly to the skin.

6. Unclog pores with baking soda

Baking soda is not just for baking your cookies! It also has excellent exfoliating properties for your skin, removing dead cells and opening pores. Mix 2–3 tablespoons of baking soda and water to form a paste. Gently scrub the affected areas for 3–5 minutes, and rinse. How easy is that—and cost-effective, too!

Or combine baking soda with lemon for a simple scrub that adds natural citric acid to unclog pores and exfoliate skin. Cut a lemon (or lime) in half and dip the flesh into baking soda. Rub onto the upper arm area (or wherever you have bumps) for 1 minute and then rinse. Use twice a week.

KP Oatmeal Bath | 10 Keratosis Pilaris Remedies

7. Soothe skin with an oatmeal bath

Nothing soothes your skin and calms your mind after a long day quite like a bath, right? Toss in a handful of powdered oats to a lukewarm bath (beware, hot water can actually irritate parched or inflamed skin), and you’ve got yourself an extra moisturizing bath to treat your dry skin.

8. Banish buildup with sour cream (or yogurt)

Leftover sour cream from Taco Tuesday? Use it to help treat your KP! Lactic acid, which is naturally found in sour cream and yogurt, has been shown to help remove keratin buildup that can clog up your skin [source].

Alone or with a little white or brown sugar, gently rub in a circular motion for a few minutes and then rinse. You can also use other ingredients from your fridge that contain lactic acid, such as yogurt or buttermilk.

9. Soothe inflammation with olive oil

Most of us keep extra virgin olive oil on hand, and it turns out that its amazing moisturizing properties can also help treat inflammatory conditions of the skin [source]. Rich in vitamin E, olive oil can decrease the dry, bumpy areas of the skin [source]. Apply directly to your skin, or add in a little sugar to exfoliate.

You can also give your hair some extra love at the same time with this great go-to hair mask, all while treating your skin. Multitasking is what we’re all about!

10. Avoid dry skin with a humidifier

When you run your heater to beat the winter cold, the low humidity that results is a known culprit for dry skin in general, but it’s especially problematic for those suffering from KP. I highly recommend investing in a good humidifier to treat and soothe your dry skin. If you live in an area with hard water, purchasing a home water softener can do wonders for your skin and hair every time you wash or bathe.

Using vinegar, lemon and baking soda to treat keratosis pilaris

Keratosis Pilaris FAQs

Who’s most likely to develop KP?

There is a known association with allergic conditions, obesity, Down syndrome, and a few other more rare medical syndromes and skin conditions. People are more likely to have them in their adolescent years, and some information indicates that the female population may get them more frequently [source]. But even more telling is if it’s in your family, about 50–70% are genetically predisposed to the condition [source].

What are the most common parts of the body for KP to show up? Can you get them on your face?

The greatest number of people get them on the back side of their upper arms (92%), then the thighs (59%), and then the buttocks (30%) [source]. There is a variation of KP that you can get on your cheeks and eyebrows, but it is less common [source]. 

Is there anything that seems to make KP worse?

This is known as a condition that comes and goes to a certain extent. When it worsens, you might see some reddening around the hair follicles, and there may also be itching, both of which indicate inflammation. Puberty, pregnancy, the winter season, and skin dryness are known to cause worsening in some people. 

Does having KP mean that I will be more likely to get other skin conditions?

Many people with KP do not have other skin problems, and they are not more likely to develop them. And many people are unaware they even have KP!

What is the best type of lotion to use on areas with KP?

It’s important to keep the areas moisturized consistently. Creams containing lactic acid, like Amlactin, or alpha-hydroxy acids, like glycolic acid, are good options for treatment. Some also recommend Differin, which can be bought over the counter, and other tretinoin products [source].

This post was medically reviewed by Dr. Jennifer Haley, a board-certified dermatologist with extensive experience in medical, cosmetic, and surgical dermatology. Learn more about Hello Glow’s medical reviewers here. As always, this is not personal medical advice, and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.