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What is the lumpy skin on the back of my arms?

Keratosis pilaris, which due to its bumpy texture and appearance has garnered the synonyms orange peel or chicken skin, can vary in form. Most commonly located on the back of the upper arms, these little bumps can be really quite red and angry-lookimg due to heightened inflammation, or resemble normal skin colour and present as rough, raised bumps.

Regardless of what form you have, it is all down to clogged pores. Skin cells become plugged with oil and dead skin, which hardens and yields this common aesthetic condition. This is a stubborn skin flaw and similar to acne and rocacea, treatment options are multi-pronged, and patient vigilance is important if improvements are to be made.


How can I get rid of the bumps?

Exfoliation is essential. Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs, active ingredients would be lactic or glycolic acid) can help exfoliate skin cells. OBAGI NuDerm line is rich in high quality AHAs to ensure correct rates of skin shedding. However, these chemical exfoliants work on the surface only; we need to ensure the follicle shaft itself is deep-cleaned of sebum and debris. You will therefore need a beta hydroxy acid (BHA) product with the active ingredient salicylic acid and a pH low enough for exfoliation to occur. There is a range of appropriate OBAGI Clenziderm line which meet this special and rarely-met criteria. One other interesting aspect of BHA is that it has antimicrobial properties so it kills the bacteria that may be making matters worse. If you stop using products that have proven effective, the condition will return.


What else works?

Avoid inflammatory food and drinks, drying soaps, foaming agents like SLS, and refrain from irritating the area through ill-guided attempts at manual exfoliation. If anything, scrubbing further inflames skin.


Lasers for Keratosis Pilaris

Dr. Prendergast has both hastened the clearing of KP and treated more resistant cases using very specific lasers. Intense pulsed light (IPL), pulsed dye laser, and the Nd:YAG laser may be your magic missing ingredient in the recipe for KP relief. Laser is particularly efficient at ameliorating persistent redness and, in those with darker skin tones, brown spots from where the bumps used to be, plus overall surface texture improvement.


Keratosis Pilaris can also form on areas such as the face, buttocks and upper legs, and treatment is no different for these areas.


Call 012962747 for more information on treatment for KP at Venus Medical.

You may be interested in our Skincare, Acne and Rosacea pages