Keratosis pilaris is a rash that appears as an overgrowth of keratin, a protective protein in the skin. It is characterized by dry rough patches of skin that appear as white small bumps on all areas of the body, but most often affects the upper arms.
The bumps plug the hair follicles and cause itchiness, dryness and irritation. The condition is common, according to the Mayo Clinic, and treatment usually involves managing the symptoms. It may be connected to seasonal changes, affecting people more during the winter, and may periodically disappear and later recur.
The most successful approach to treating keratosis pilaris involves using a cream or topical ointment that addresses the inflammation and the keratin growth. A conventional medicated cream will often use a steroid for treating the inflammation and acid, such as salicylic acid, to remove the excess growth.
A Natural Approach to Treatment
Some people prefer to not use a prescription medicated cream, but to instead use a natural dietary approach, such as a supplement, or a natural cream or ointment to treat it.
A natural approach to handling inflammation may involve using an anti-inflammatory in the diet, such as taking a fish or flax oil, as a liquid or pill. Many studies have shown that the essential fatty acids in flax and fish oils have anti-inflammatory effects and help with normal skin function and appearance, according to the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University.
Another option for treating keratosis pilaris is taking a cream that includes natural anti-inflammatory ingredients, such as ginger, turmeric or boswellin.
Many over-the-counter natural creams and ointments also contain soothing natural ingredients, such as chamomile or aloe that help reduce the red, tight irritation that characterizes the disorder.
Foods that support skin health may also be a healthy addition to the diet, such as those high in vitamins A and C.
Beta carotene is a precursor to vitamin A, and it is usually found in green, orange and yellow foods, such as: kale, collards, spinach, carrots and orange and yellow peppers.
Vitamin C is most common in citrus fruits such as: strawberries, oranges, lemons and grapefruits, and supports the quality of the skin.
Drinking plenty of water is also important for hydrating the skin. It is essential, since Keratosis pilaris is inherently a dry skin condition that causes itching and effects from tight, rough patches.
You may consider consulting a doctor familiar with integrative medicine, which combines principles from alternative and Western allopathic medicines, or a clinical nutritionist or alternative medical practitioner for specific information about treating the disorder naturally.
Other Tools for Treatment
- Adding a moisturizer to a humidifier and using it at home can help improve skin hydration, according to WebMD.
- Another approach is using warm water in the bath and shower rather than hot water to minimize stripping the natural oils from the skin that protect it from dehydration.
- The condition tends to be chronic, but can go away for periods, and monitoring it with a chart or calendar can be important to discover patterns that may illuminate its aggravations, or at least prepare you for handling its cycles.