Keratosis pilaris, also called “chicken skin”, is a common skin disorder characterized by small, acne-like bumps usually appearing on the upper arms, legs, buttocks or cheeks. These white or red bumps tend to be rough, dry, and at times, itchy. It is usually a benign condition that may improve or even disappear with age, generally by the age of 30.
Basically, it occurs when there is excess keratin protein in the skin that plugs hair follicles, causing bumps to form that make your skin feel like sandpaper and appear like goose flesh. The reason for the buildup of keratin is not known.
Keratosis pilaris often runs in families and is also associated with eczema and other dry skin conditions. Plus, it tends to worsen during the winter months.
Though there is no known cure for keratosis pilaris, several over-the-counter creams and lotions can help deal with this problem. You can also try some natural and easy home remedies.
Here are the top 10 home remedies for keratosis pilaris.
1. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is great for keratosis pilaris bumps as its astringent properties help unclog the skin pores. It is also good for your overall health.
- Mix equal parts of organic apple cider vinegar and water. Apply it on the affected area, leave it on for a few minutes and then wash it off. Repeat a few times daily until you are satisfied with the results. If the solution is too strong for your skin, you can dilute it further by adding more water.
- Another option is to mix one-half cup each of apple cider vinegar and coconut oil. Add one tablespoon of soy lecithin. Use this ointment on the affected skin daily.
- You can also add one teaspoon of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar to a glass of water and drink it once or twice a day.
2. Coconut Oil
Pure, virgin coconut oil is another effective home remedy for keratosis pilaris because of its moisturizing properties. Plus, it promotes glowing skin and provides anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial benefits.
- Apply coconut oil on your skin several times a day, especially after bathing when your skin is still moist to help retain the moisture.
- Eat one teaspoon of coconut oil daily. You can gradually increase the amount to up to three tablespoons per day.
- You can also create a homemade scrub by mixing one part each of white sugar and brown sugar, two parts of coconut oil and one or two teaspoons of honey. Gently rub the mixture on your skin to exfoliate, wash it off and then moisturize your skin. Use it once or twice a week.
3. Baking Soda
Baking soda is an excellent exfoliant to remove dead skin cells that block the pores, thus helping get rid of bumps on your skin.
- Mix enough water in two teaspoons of baking soda to make a paste.
- Dampen your skin and gently scrub with the paste in a circular motion.
- Wash it off with warm water and then moisturize your skin.
- Repeat a few times a week.
Oatmeal is another fabulous ingredient for your skin as it soothes dry, itchy skin. It can also be used as a skin scrub to get rid of the buildup of dead skin cells.
- Grind one-third cup of oatmeal in a food processor or coffee grinder to a fine powder. Add it to warm bath water and soak in it for 15 to 20 minutes. Do this at least once a week.
- You can also make a paste of one tablespoon of oatmeal and warm water. Gently rub it on your skin and leave it on for 10 to 15 minutes. Wash it off and then moisturize your skin. Do this a few times a week.
5. Sour Cream
Sour cream contains lactic acid that helps exfoliate the skin to remove the buildup of keratin without drying out your skin. When combined with sugar, it makes a great skin scrub.
- Mix one teaspoon of white or brown sugar and two teaspoons of sour cream.
- Apply it on the affected skin and gently scrub in a circular motion.
- Leave it on for a few minutes and then wash it off.
- Repeat a few times a week.
As yogurt and buttermilk also contain lactic acid, you can apply either of these as well.
6. Epsom Salt
Epsom salt is beneficial for your skin and overall health. Being rich in minerals, it helps soften dry, hard skin, soothes itching, removes toxins, reduces inflammation and relieves stress.
- Stir one cup of Epsom salt in warm bath water. Soak in it for about 20 minutes. Pat dry your skin and apply a moisturizer or coconut oil. Do this a few times a week.
- Another option is to mix a handful of Epsom salt with one tablespoon of olive oil. Gently scrub your skin with this mixture once or twice a week.
Note: Epsom salt baths are not recommended for those with high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes.
7. Vitamin E Oil
Vitamin E oil is also beneficial for treating keratosis pilaris as it helps smooth out the bumps and retain moisture. Plus, vitamin E facilitates skin repair and is essential for the maintenance of healthy skin.
- Apply vitamin E oil on your skin, preferably when it is slightly wet, once or twice daily. If you do not have the oil, you can simply puncture a vitamin E capsule and use the contents for topical application.
- Another option is to mix a few tablespoons of vitamin E oil in warm bath water and soak in it for 20 to 30 minutes. Repeat about three times a week.
8. Fish Oil
Essential fatty acids like omega 3-fatty acids help in the treatment of keratosis pilaris as they heal dryness and promote healthy skin. Fish oil is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids.
- Take one to three grams of fish oil supplement daily. For proper dosage and suitable for your case, consult your doctor.
- Oily fish like salmon, mackerel, trout, sardines and tuna are also good sources of essential fatty acids. So, also include fatty fish in your diet. The general recommendation is one serving of fatty fish twice a week.
Note: Fish oil may interact with medications that slow blood clotting.
9. Sea Salt
Exfoliating your skin with a sea salt scrub can help unclog the skin pores and soften rough skin. Plus, the minerals present in sea salts promote skin health and absorb toxins from your skin.
- Mix one-half cup of grapeseed oil or almond oil and one tablespoon of grapefruit essential oil in one cup of sea salt.
- Dampen your skin and then scrub with this mixture.
- Wash it off and apply a moisturizer.
- Do this once or twice a week.
10. Olive Oil
Olive oil is another popular remedy for keratosis pilaris because it is good for moisturizing the skin and is rich in vitamin E. It can also be combined with sugar and honey to make a skin scrub.
- Simply apply extra-virgin olive oil on your skin a few times a day on a regular basis.
- You can also create a natural scrub by mixing two tablespoons each of extra-virgin olive oil and sugar and one teaspoon of honey. Gently rub it on your skin, wash it off and then moisturize your skin. Do this once or twice a week.
- Do not scratch or pick at the bumps.
- Apply a rich, hydrating moisturizer generously on your skin. Urea-based lotions are considered good.
- Opt for warm rather than hot water for bathing to prevent dryness.
- Limit your shower or bath time to about 10 minutes.
- Exfoliate your skin gently with an exfoliating foam pad or a pumice stone to slough off the rough skin; do not scrub too hard, though.
- Use a humidifier to add moisture to the air in your home.
- Eat a healthy diet rich in vitamins A and E as well as essential fatty acids. Keratosis pilaris is often associated with vitamin A deficiency.