how to get rid of keratosis pilaris

Keratosis pilaris (KP) known colloquially as chicken skin is characterized by tiny rough bumps on the skin with grater-like texture. These bumps are frequently scattered around on the upper arms and legs though they may even be present on the face, back and buttocks. 

Although medically harmless, KP bumps are chronic, annoying and unsightly and this article will help you to learn how to get get rid of chicken skin effectively.

The good news is: they are also commonplace, which means that if you are suffering from chicken skin, you are certainly not alone.

Keratosis pilaris affects nearly 50% of the population across the world and it is more common in babies and toddlers. Nearly 40% adults suffer from KP.  Women, more than men are more prone to it.  In most kids, keratosis pilaris gets better with age, though it exacerbates at puberty.

The exact reason of this skin disorder is not known, but dryness of skin seems to be a contributing factor. Seasonal fluctuations, mainly summertime improvement and wintertime flare-ups, are also reported by KP patients.

What Is Keratosis Pilaris and How to Get Rid of the Annoying Skin Bumps

Keratosis pilaris is a hereditary condition though only 30-40% of the patients affected might have a parent suffering from it. People prone to eczema or Icthyosis Vulgaris (extremely dry skin) also tend to get chicken skin. But, the most important cause of unsightly chicken skin is faulty keratinization. Let us study what this means.

Normal skin sheds off and makes way for new, younger looking, and smoother skin. In patients with KP, this process is a lot slower. This causes surplus skin cells to accumulate around individual hair follicles. The hair follicles then get trapped under all that ‘debris’ and cannot reach the surface.

During puberty and adolescence, this same reason leads to pimple or acne outbreaks. Besides this, inflammation at the base of hair follicles triggers brownish, reddish, polka dots under the miniature mounds of keratin. This process multiplies itself hundred times over all around the skin’s surface leading to rough, bumpy chicken skin.

How to Get Rid of Keratosis Pilaris (Chicken Skin) Fast?

Since chicken skin is genetically triggered, it is not completely curable. However, you can certainly control it. The fastest (though more expensive) chicken skin cure is keratosis pilaris laser treatment. Here are some before and after photos for KP using keratosis pilaris laser treatment:

Alternatively, you could opt for slightly more affordable chemical exfoliation at the dermatologists’ office. Both forms of treatment, when done right, can easily help you eliminate bumps and acne-causing plugs without associated redness, irritation of discomfort.

How to Get Rid of Keratosis Pilaris at Home?

Keratosis Pilaris home remedies are concentrated on exfoliating the skin. You can smooth away the bumps by using several natural remedies for chicken skin. These are especially recommended in case of keratosis pilaris in babies. Also, there are many top chemical exfoliating agents available over-the-counter (or you can get them at your dermatologist). Let us discuss these in brief before moving onto how to treat keratosis pilaris naturally.

Can Keratosis Pilaris Plug Be Squeezed Out?

The area of your skin that is affected by keratosis pilaris may become infected, inflamed, irritated, darker (hyperpigmentation) or lighter (hypopigmentation) than the surrounding skin, if you scratch or pick at the bumps. This is why you should never try to squeeze the KP bumps. Use the method described in this article and you will be able to significantly reduce or eliminate the problem.

Glycolic Acid for Keratosis Pilaris

These are organic acids with a mild to moderate exfoliating action depending on the concentration of the active ingredient. Citric acid, lactic acid, malic acid, and glycolic acid come under this category.

Creams containing 10% alpha hydroxy acids can be applied to the skin without any adverse effects. Massage it in for best results. Wash off after 5 minutes. If your skin is too sensitive, you can try lotions with 5% alpha hydroxy-acids.

Glycolic acid is a type of AHA or alpha-hydroxy-acid. Many hand and body creams contain buffered (up to) 20% glycolic acid that help re-texturise the skin easily and quickly to treat keratosis pilaris fast.

Lactic Acid Chicken Skin Cure - Try AmLactin

best choice

Lactic acid is another favourite of dermatologists when palliating keratosis pilaris. Low potency lactic acid based creams are ideal for treating chicken skin in young children.

The more potent lactic acid based creams are available by prescription and are suitable for adults looking to get rid of keratosis pilaris fast.

People who have chicken skin can be self-conscious and feel that it looks unpleasant. If this is how you feel, then you can help manage it by using lotion containing alpha-hydroxy acid, like AmLactin Alpha-Hydroxy Therapy Body Lotion which helps loosen and remove dead skin cells.

AmLactin lotion has lactic acid, an alpha-hydroxy acid that stimulates cellular turnover and smooths out keratosis pilaris. What is just amazing about AmLactin - it will also keep your skin incredibly soft and fades hyperpigmentation and even old stretch marks. AmLactin heals extremely rough, flaky, dry skin and it will give you "instant visible results".

Check it out on Amazon and read the amazing testimonials from KP sufferers who were able to get rid of keratosis pilaris completely with AmLactin.

AmLactin products are not intended for young children. Please check with your child’s doctor or dermatologist before applying it on a child's skin. make sure you follow all instructions on the label.

Urea to Get Rid of Chicken Skin

Urea acts as powerful humectants, which means it draws out moisture from the bumps. Urea in skin creams softens the crustiest of skin. You can buy the milder/lower concentrations over the counter or get higher prescription strength Urea creams when looking for effective chicken skin cure.

Salicylic Acid Keratosis Pilaris Treatment

Salicylic acid is prescribed extensively by dermatologists all over the world for treating blackheads, acne in adults and teens as well as a plethora of other skin conditions. Salicylic acid keratosis pilaris treatment is usually effective but the downside to it is that it could dry up the skin a lot.

Many face washes containing salicylic acid, both prescription strength or over the counter, are available these days.

Natural Remedies for Chicken Skin: How to Treat Keratosis Pilaris Naturally?

Chicken skin is definitely one of those skin conditions that need a multi-therapeutic approach as single ingredient products or routines are just not as effective as combination cure for chicken skin. Here are some of the most effective ways to get rid of chicken skin naturally.

Buff with a Puff

Regular exfoliation is the simplest way to reduce the bumps. It removes the dead cells on the skin surface, including the extra pile over the follicles, opening them up and releasing the trapped hair, if any.

You can expect visible improvement within a few weeks, but exfoliation has to be done regularly and gently to maintain the smooth feel of the skin.

Every time you bathe, use a piece of natural sponge to rub down the keratosis pilaris - affected areas.

The best one to use is All Natural Korean Facial Konjac Sponge

It is very gentle on the skin and with regular use it can really help. Do not attempt to rub off the bumps at one go. It may irritate the skin and inflame the follicles. Apply a moisturiser after bath to keep the skin hydrated. Repeat this every day until your skin becomes smooth.

Apple Cider Vinegar Keratosis Pilaris Natural Treatment

The beauty benefits of apple cider vinegar are tremendous. Organic, raw and unfiltered ACV with ‘Mother’ is the best. It contains mild acidic properties that help dissolve hardened skin which clogs the pores causing keratosis pilaris.

Before showering, apply some ACV using a cotton ball all over the affected areas. Wait for fifteen minutes then shower. In the shower, you can buff again as explained above. Repeat this keratosis pilaris natural treatment every day or every alternate day until your skin becomes smooth.

Coconut Oil for Keratosis Pilaris

One of the best way how to treat keratosis pilaris naturally is with coconut oil. Coconut oil is great moisturizer and it does not clog pores. People with extremely dry skin and related issues like eczema, KP, psoriasis etc can all use coconut oil daily on their legs, face and arms.

Coconut oil is usually solid even at room temperature. Simply scoop out a generous helping in your palms and rub them together till the solid mass melts. Now apply it all over your arms and legs or wherever else you have chicken skin. Wait for 15-20 minutes then wash off using warm water.

You need not apply any soap as the oil can help form a gentle layer on the skin which can get absorbed through the day. If however, you are not too fond of the slippery, oily feel, use a mild soap to clean up. You can even massage coconut oil all over your body at night time. This is also an ideal, safe and effective keratosis pilaris toddler(s) treatment.

How to Get Rid of Keratosis Pilaris on the Face?

Keratosis Pilaris on the face is especially distressing as the bumps look ugly and they are probably the first thing people notice about you. You could use a bit of makeup to hide KP bumps, but do make sure that the products you use do not aggravate the chicken skin. You can also safely use the following Keratosis Pilaris natural treatment especially for the face:

Baking Soda Can Help

Mix two to three teaspoons of baking soda with some water to make a thick paste. Apply this paste all over the chicken skin on face. Gently scrub for 5-7 minutes then rinse off with some warm water. Baking soda is an excellent exfoliation agent and it can keep your skin clean and pores free of debris. Repeat this remedy 2 times a day for at least 2-3 weeks or until the chicken skin of face reduces.

Vitamin A Caplets

One of the best ways how to get rid of keratosis pilaris on the face, arms or legs is applying liquid vitamin A oil squeezed out of the capsules. Massage the oil gently for 3-5 minutes and leave on for 15 minutes before washing. Repeat the remedy at least once every week for best results. Make sure you also eat a diet rich in Vitamin A like carrots, strawberries, tomatoes etc for keeping keratosis pilaris at bay.

Homemade Exfoliating Blend to Get Rid of KP Bumps

If you are looking for solutions how to get rid of keratosis pilaris on arms or how to get rid of keratosis pilaris on legs then try this exfoliation homemade and natural cure for chicken skin. 

This is not a fast solution but it is definitely something you can try if you want to go for a home-made mixture.

Here is the recipe.

  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp granulated white sugar
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 4 tbsp coconut oil-raw, organic, unfiltered
  • 2 drops of essential oil of your choice - preferably skin enhancing oils like tea tree, lemon oil, lavender, rosemary or other mildly fragrant oils of your choice.

Mix all ingredients together by whisking them with a fork. In the shower, apply this scrub all over the body. Scrub and massage it on the arms and legs gently for 4-5 minutes. You can even use a washcloth, soft loofah or a sponge to exfoliate the chicken skin. Leave the blend on for 5 minutes then bathe as usual. Do not use any soap.

Keratosis Pilaris and Diet

Your diet also plays an important role in getting rid of KP bumps. Make sure you eat a diet rich in fatty fish like salmon, tuna etc or at least supplement with omega-3 essential fatty acids. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Drink tons of water and green tea to keep the skin hydrated.

Green tea is especially rich in epigallocatechin gallate or EGCG which fights inflammation and keeps away skin bumps. You can even apply brewed green tea on your chicken skin bumps on the face.

​Chicken skin bumps are extremely common, so don’t feel too self-conscious about them. By incorporating a healthy diet and combining it with some of the above mentioned treatments, you can feel more confident putting on that sleeveless top this summer and showing off your glowing, healthy skin!

About the Author

Barbara is the founder and owner of She is a former research scientist with a serious passion for health. She enjoys writing about nutrition, wellness and lifestyle and empowering people to take control of their health.

  • BEST advice compilation article I’ve read on KP yet!!…& I’ve read a TON! Thank you so much for putting this together. excited to try a few of these remedies to try and lessen mine

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