Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Natural Cures for Keratosis Pilaris


Welcome to the first Let's Get Natural post! I've been wanting to do a series focusing on natural products, remedies and household alternatives for a while now. The awesome people at Vitacost agreed to help out and provided me with some great natural products to try and feature in ways that I hope can be helpful to you!

So wait... what is keratosis pilaris? Also known as "chicken skin," KP are those bright red bumps and dots typically found on your arms. In doing research for this post, I found out about 50% of the world's population has it, but no one really knows what it's called or that it's so common.

(If you're still unsure, you can see a picture on the Wikipedia article HERE.)

KP is unsightly, but doesn't cause any lasting harm. I've suffered from KP for as long as I can remember. I don't ever remember not having it. There's no cure for it, but there are ways to manage it. When I was in 8th grade I got a prescription from my dermatologist for a special lotion that was supposed to help. I'm sure it was filled with all kinds of nasty chemicals (I remember it smelled pretty gross), and didn't do much to clear up my arms.

For the past 15 or so years I haven't done much to keep it under control, but as I've gotten older my KP has gotten worse. So a couple months ago I started researching ways to treat it. I found a few products specifically made to get rid of KP with reviews that were hit or miss.

One thing that caught my attention was coconut oil. A blogger claimed it got rid of her KP almost entirely. So I bought some and used it as she directed in her post. Rub it on your arms in the shower, let it sit for a few minutes and rinse off. I was doing this for a couple months and while it wasn't the miracle cure she had promised, I did notice about a 50% improvement in the look of my skin.

But since then I've found 2 ways to use coconut oil that has cleared my KP up to 90%. Seriously. My arms have never been as smooth as they are now in my entire life.

Ingredients you'll need:



A cool thing about coconut oil... it's solid at room temperature. Kind of like Crisco or Vaseline. It has a melting point of 75 degrees so as soon as you touch it the oil melts into a liquid. 


Coconut Oil Sugar Scrub

Exfoliating skin with KP is essential in managing it. For a while I was using a basic Neutrogena scrub on my arms. It seemed to work while I was in the shower but as soon as I was dry those pesky bumps started showing up again. No bueno! I recently made this homemade scrub and it is amazing. It exfoliates and moisturizes at the same time, which is key for anyone with KP.

To make a small batch, I combined 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 1 tablespoon raw honey and 4 tablespoons coconut oil.

I use it in the shower and let it sit on my arms for a few minutes before washing it off.


Coconut Oil Lotion Bar

A super easy way to keep your arms moisturized is with a homemade lotion bar. Regular drugstore lotions aren't great to use because the chemicals can actually irritate KP more. To make the bars, just melt equal parts beeswax beads and coconut oil (I did 2 tablespoons each). When it's all melted, add a few drops of essential oils, and pour in to a mold.

It made enough to fill a small silicone baking cup. Next time I make one I'm going to use an empty deodorant container as a mold. I apply the lotion when I get out of the shower and before bed. And any other time I think about it.


Like I said, with these 2 easy homemade beauty products, my KP has been kept at a minimum. Both the bumpiness and redness on my arms has significantly diminished. And the best part? The scrub and lotion bar made a huge difference the very first time I used them. I'm so thankful to have finally found a natural, chemical free solution!

A few things to keep in mind:

  • This isn't a cure for Keratosis Pilaris, but a way to manage the condition.
  • Keep up the routine. The scrub and lotion bar regimen keep my KP under control for about 24 hours. If I go longer than that without a shower I'll make sure to apply the lotion often to keep my arms hydrated, but it's really the scrub that seems to nip the bumps in the bud.
  • Remember, I'm not a doctor and this post shouldn't be used as a substitute for proper medical treatment. 
Disclaimer: The products in this post were given to me free from Vitacost. I received no other compensation. All words, photos and opinions are 100% my own.

48 comments:

  1. Thanks for posting! I have pesky KP too. I found a remedy on Pinterest that the author swears by. I bout the stuff but have yet to try it. Swabbing arms with a compress of apple cider vinegar in the shower then smoothing on the coconut oil. I'll make a bar like you did too! I'm worried that the shower floor will get all slick with the oil and make me fall! LOL. I love coconut oil . It cured Jax's ecxzema completely and I cook with it too!

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  2. Ohhh, I love ACV! I didn't know it worked on KP, I will definitely try that. And my shower floor doesn't get slick after I wash the coconut oil off, but our shower is made of plastic and has a textured floor, so that might help.

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  3. Thanks so much for this post! My son has KP and is bothered by it, but I didn't know how to help him. None of the over the counter lotions I bought helped him at all. THIS is exactly what I needed. I'll be doing this ASAP :)

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    1. I hope it helps him, Abigail! I have noticed a significant improvement with this method. But just tell him to keep it up, KP is pesky and will return fast :(

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  4. I have had severe KP on the back of my arms my whole life. I was also prescribed things as a child that didn't work. For the past several years I paid a lot to use "KP Duty" lotion and scrub. They definitely reduced the KP, but not completely. Maybe by 50%. Over time though, they stopped working and I was tired of spending $60 every three months for just the lotion. I kept using the scrub only (once or twice per week) but starting using just coconut oil to moisturize AFTER every shower. I do not rinse it off. It's definitely greasy, but soaks in pretty quickly on my dry skin. My arms have never been this smooth! This is something I've battled my whole life, so I wanted to tell people that coconut oil made a huge difference. And I feel good that it's inexpensive and not irritating, unlike the prescription and over-the-counter lotions I've tried in the past.

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  5. Thank you for posting this! I have had horrible KP for years now & of all the home remedies I've found/ tried, this one seems to be the best! I love your idea on making the lotion in a deodorant bar too, it's great for people constantly on the go, like myself. Thanks again for the great tips, it's much appreciated :)

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    Replies
    1. My 6 yr old has this on her arms and really bad on her legs. The pediatrician has said he has never seen it this bad. It does not bother her now but as she matures I am afraid that her bumpy legs will embarrass her. The doctor told us to try Amlactin lotion which smelled bad and burned her. I have read about eating gluten free and a diet high in organ meat and Vitamin A will help as well. Have you tried diet changes? I am going to try the scrub. Can I just use coconut oil as the lotion and not make it into a bar? Should she exfoliate daily? Thank you for your help

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    2. I haven't tried changing my diet, sorry I don't have more info on that. Coconut oil by itself will definitely help, I like making it into a bar to make applying it easier. Just personal preference I guess! I would do the scrub as often as she'd like. Keeping her arms and legs moisturized should really help- I definitely notice when I skip a day or two. Hope that helps!!

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  7. How do you make the bars solidify? Do you freeze them and if so for how long? Or do you keep at room temp?

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    1. Hi Stephen! The bar will solidify at room temperature, but I put it in the fridge to speed it up. Let it sit for at least an hour I'd say. I love having it in an old deodorant container, it works really well that way!

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  8. How do you make the bars solidify? Do you freeze them and if so for how long? Or do you keep at room temp?

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  9. I am having trouble getting the oil to mix with the sugars and honey. Does this scrub need an emulsifier?

    Thanks!

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    1. I'm with you, Amy. My oil and sugar are separate. They don't look like the pic on here. :-(

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  10. They do separate so just give the mixture a quick stir with your fingers before applying it. Hope that helps!!!

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  11. You could pop it in the fridge for an hour or just let it sit on the counter, which will take longer but still works.

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  12. Hey Lindsey. When you say the bumpiness on your arms has significantly diminished... do you actually mean the bumps themselves have physically lowered and are not so protruding anymore? I've used a Clearasil product before and it made my skin feel real smooth but it didn't actually lower the true physical nature of the bumps. I just want to make sure

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  13. Hi Angela! Yes, the bumps have definitely diminished! Stop using Clearasil, it's doing the exact opposite of what you want with KP. I used to do the same thing, thinking that drying out my skin would help, but it makes it worse. Moisturizing and exfoliating is what you'll need to do. Good luck!

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  14. Hi again Lindsey! sorry, i have another question. Apart from the smoothing of the bumps, i'm really concerned about my brown KP spots, which appear to be like blemish marks. What can i do to rid or reduce them? Does topically applying Vitamin C help?

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    Replies
    1. Mine are more reddish, but they have faded a lot with these natural treatments. I can still see them but I'm not as self conscious about them. I've never heard of vitamin C as a treatment for them. Sorry I'm not more help!

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  15. Lindsey, this method has helped my skin immensely! I wish I'd known about this years ago. Thank you so much for the tips, even the one about using a deodorant container--it works great! I'm going to tell all my friends who I know are sufferers of KP. The only trouble I seem to be having is with the sugar scrub; the sugars and honey clump together and do not stir well for me with the oil. Do you melt the honey and oil together first or mix them straight from the jars? Thanks again for the skin-saving advice!

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    1. I'm so glad, Natalie! I didn't melt any of the products and just mixed them in the jar. The ingredients do separate so I just give it a little stir with my finger in the shower before I use it. It's not completely mixed, but still does the job just fine. Hope that helps!

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  16. I just found this recipe and can't wait to try it! I have all the ingredients on hand. How long before you see results?

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    1. It's pretty instant! I think the more you use it though the better your KP will look. Good luck!

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  17. Hi Lindsey! Thank you so much for this. I've been using it for 5 days now. My KP seems better but probably only 30% better at this point, I hope it diminishes more with time. I wanted to see if you know if natural sun laying out is good or bad for KP? Thanks again!

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    1. Not sure, but I'd think sun bathing might irratate it more. I don't tan (anymore) so I can't say for sure, sorry!

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    2. Ok now it's working better. The bumps are gone 100% but I still have little scare looking spots. They seem to turn red in heat and purple in the cold. Now I'm looking for a way to get rid of those but Thank You so much for this cause I haven't worn shorts in 5 years and this summer I feel confident enough to wear shorts again.

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  18. I hate the smell of coconut oil after it 'settles' on the skin, it starts to smell stale. any tips?

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    Replies
    1. Olive oil would probably be a good alternative! I've used that on my skin a lot, too. Good luck!

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  19. but does it work for KP as well?

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  20. I have kp from shaving my legs and its all over them. When I use this scrub and the hair grows back what ways can I shave the hair off without use of shaving stick which will cause kp

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    1. I don't think you have KP if it's from shaving. KP is a genetic thing. You probably have razor burn. Not sure of any cures for that, but I'm sure there are a bunch of websites with good info. Good luck!

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  21. How long does the scrub last before going bad? Also, where do you store this scrub? I am so glad I stumbled across your page. I have KP on my arms and my prom is coming up, I'll be wearing a dress so i really don't want to worry about my arms. I'm really hoping it'll work! So excited to try this out!!

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    1. I've kept it in my shower, it's never gone bad! I wouldn't eat it after it's been out for so long, but it still works as a scrub. Hope it works for you, have fun at prom!

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  22. I've just begun using the scrub and lotion but I use dove for a body wash. I feel as though it is undoing any good the scrub and lotion are doing. What do you use or recommend?

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    1. I'd stop using the Dove on your arms every day. I only use a body wash on my arms once a week or so for that very reason. If you're not comfortable doing that, I'd definitely do the body wash first, followed by the scrub. Hope that helps!

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  24. Hi Lindsey!! I'm so glad I found your blog! I have also had KP for as long as I can remember and mine has ALSO gotten worse as I've gotten older. I am 33. I was told when I was younger that it tends to get better and even go away as you reach your twenties. Umm, not quite... Anyway, I am excited to try this. I wanted to know if it matters what type of coconut oil you use? I use unrefined virgin coconut oil to cook with/eat, but as you know, it's not cheap. Can I get refined coconut oil for this purpose? Or do you think unrefined is best? Or does it not matter? What do YOU use? I see you have extra virgin coconut oil in your photo... Thank you so much!!

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    1. Hi Carie, sorry I didn't respond earlier. I am just now seeing your post!
      My KP has definitely gotten worse as I've gotten older, so I totally hear you on that! My coconut oil is extra virgin organic, it doesn't specify if it's refined or not (unless refined has to do with the "virgin-ness" of the oil? Not really sure). HTH :)

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  26. I have KP on the backs of my upper arms. I just got the Lady Soma Skin & Nail Treatment and started using it for this. Some girl on Youtube raved about how this product cleared up her KP and I've got to say it's working pretty good so far. The KP is starting to smooth out a little. I'm excited to see how the Lady Soma Treatment does if I keep at it. It has a great smell and consistency.

    Just a heads up if you have KP (those little red or flesh colored bumps on arms or legs) you must use a good lotion after to hydrate and soften the skin.

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  28. Hi, I was wondering which essential oil to use. I saw lavender, but also saw lemon oil. Also, how much of it do you recommend? I am doing this for my 2 year old that has it all over his rummy and it itches him. Thank you!

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    1. Lavender is great! Supposed to be calming for the skin, aka, reduce redness. Just a couple drops is enough!

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  29. This is great but out of curiosity, why the brown sugar? What does brown sugar do for skin that granular sugar alone doesn't?

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  30. Normally confused for skin break out, Keratosis Pilaris is a chronic skin issue that forms white or red bumps when hair follicles are halted with keratin buildup. Keratosis Pilaris a autosomal dominant, genetic follicular condition can be treated by using Kerneton.

    http://www.herbs-solutions-by-nature.com/Keratosis-Pilaris.php

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  31. I've had kp my whole life on my arms. I tried so many things including milk, coconut oil and various lotions . Recently I started having carrot juice and I noticed a huge improvement of my skin. Condition is 80 % cured now .
    So I highly recommend carrot juice .

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