Keratosis pilaris is a common skin condition in which a protein in the skin called keratin forms hard plugs within hair follicles.
Keratosis pilaris is harmless (benign). It seems to run in families. It is more common in people who have very dry skin, or who have atopic dermatitis (eczema).
The condition is generally worse in winter and often clears in the summer.
Symptoms may include:
The health care provider can usually diagnose this condition by looking at your skin. Tests are usually not needed.
Treatment may include:
Improvement often takes months, and the bumps are likely to come back.
Keratosis pilaris may fade slowly with age.
Call your provider if the bumps are bothersome and do not get better with lotions you buy without a prescription.
Reviewed By: David L. Swanson, MD, Vice Chair of Medical Dermatology, Associate Professor of Dermatology, Mayo Medical School, Scottsdale, AZ. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.