Keratosis pilaris rubra is a skin condition resulting in benign bumps and redness; it is more common during the winter months, and usually covers a wide area of skin. Pharmaceutical treatments and natural controls are available to combat this skin condition, which is usually occurs in childhood or adolescence.
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Keratosis pilaris rubra is characterised by dry, inflamed bumps usually located on the upper arms and thighs but can also occur on lower arms, lower legs, face and buttocks. Small bumps are located at the base of the hair follicle, and are filled with a hard, dry substance called keratin, which is a skin protein. The bumps do not itch and are not painful. Keratosis pilaris rubra may be present from birth or appears during puberty.
A doctor or dermatologist will prescribe creams containing salicylic acid, glycolic acid, trentinoin, topical steroids or vitamin D. The potential side effects for these interventions are burning, itching, redness and extreme dryness. Prescribed treatments are slow in showing improvement, and can take months to affect the condition. Keratosis pilaris rubra is likely to reoccur without preventive strategies such as routine exfoliation and moisturising of affected areas.
Natural treatments for keratosis pilaris rubra include daily exfoliation with a rough sea sponge and use of a natural moisturiser that does not contain alcohol or other irritating ingredients. The skin is exfoliated with a rough sea sponge or loofah, which removes the dry skin and gently scratches the keratin plug. Natural moisturisers include coconut oil, sunflower oil, jojoba oil and other natural oils without additives to prevent dryness. Improvement can often be noticed within a week of using natural treatments.
To reduce the reoccurrence of keratosis pilaris rubra, routinely clean the skin with a coarse wash cloth and a mild soap. Use a moisturiser after every bath or shower to prevent the skin from becoming dry. Regular moisturization and exfoliation will help to remove the keratin plugs that form in the pores due to this skin condition. Keratosis pilaris rubra often resolves with age and further treatment is not necessary.
If choosing a pharmaceutical treatment, be sure to follow all recommendations on the prescribed medication. Many of the pharmaceutical treatments cannot be combined with other solutions. Additional sun protection may be required with pharmaceutical treatments for keratosis pilaris rubra. Please read the package insert of whatever medication has been prescribed.
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