If you're experiencing tiny, rough bumps in patches on your skin, chances are high that you have a common skin condition known as keratosis pilaris. According to the Mayo Clinic, keratosis pilaris is a skin disorder that results in rough patches of tiny, white acne-like bumps that don't itch or hurt. Keratosis pilaris can occur in anyone, but is most common in children and adolescents, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
Keratosis pilaris usually presents more of a cosmetic problem than an actual physical problem, as it isn't a serious medical disorder but a benign skin condition, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. In addition to the tiny, raised acne-like bumps that occur in patches, other common symptoms include dry or rough patches of skin or skin colored bumps that may become inflamed at times. Some people may also experience itchiness.
According to the Mayo Clinic, keratosis pilaris results from the buildup of the skin protein keratin, causing a plug in your hair follicles, resulting in the white, pimple-like bumps. It's not known exactly what causes this condition, although it occurs in healthy people and frequently among people who suffer from dry skin.
Treatment may not always successfully alleviate symptoms of keratosis pilaris. According to the Mayo Clinic, treatments attempt to soften the keratin on the skin. Treatments include topical creams or lotions containing alpha-hydroxy, lactic or salicylic acid or urea to exfoliate and get rid of dead skin cells, topical corticosteroids that help to prevent the buildup of dead skin cells and topical retinoids, derived from vitamin A, that may help to prevent the hair follicle from becoming plugged.
Being gentle to your skin and keeping your skin hydrated can help to reduce the symptoms of keratosis pilaris in some patients. According to the Mayo Clinic, other home remedies that may be effective in alleviating the symptoms of keratosis pilaris include using over-the-counter products containing lactic acid, applying moisturizers, drying off with a soft towel after bathing or using a humidifier in your home or office to help add moisture to your skin.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, keratosis pilaris treatments often produce temporary results and must be repeated periodically or the condition will return. In many cases, keratosis pilaris resolves on its own.
Ashley Miller is a licensed social worker, psychotherapist, certified Reiki practitioner, yoga enthusiast and aromatherapist. She has also worked as an employee assistance program counselor and a substance-abuse professional. Miller holds a Master of Social Work and has extensive training in mental health diagnosis, as well as child and adolescent psychotherapy. She also has a bachelor's degree in music.