Keratosis Pilaris

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Amlactin for keratosis pilaris - OK for kids?

August 2006

The recent postings about keratosis pilaris and amlactin lotion were very informative. I started using the lotion about a week ago and have already noticed a difference. I'm contemplating sharing it with my daughters (pre-teen and young teen) but am wondering about side effects, especially in youth. Would like to see replies with any thoughts about the down side to using amlactin lotion and if you have used it with kids. Thanks!
another one in the Berkeley bumpy brigade

I missed the earlier post, but should mention here that adequate vitamin A and essential fatty acids can disappear keratosis pilaris within a few months. Further, in the Ecology Center's Spring quarterly, parabens have been found in breast cancer tissue. This ingredient is found in MANY cosmetics. Here is the reference: http:// I note that this and mineral oil (which is a petroleum product) are in Amlactin. Nori Hudson

I discovered AmLactin on the advice of a pediatric dermatologist (actually, she recommended Lacticare, and that is a better lotion, although it has the same active ingredient). It's a chemical exfoliant, basically--dissolving the keratin plugs that make the bumps. I was told to just use it at night, and then carry on during the day with our usual sunscreen routine for skin on arms, etc. My daughter did not demonstrate any kind of sensitivity to the lotion, or develop more sensitive skin while we were using it.

One thing about AmLactin is that it can sting a bit when going on. I wasn't bothered by it (using it on my arms), but my daughter prefers Lacticare (harder to find, more expensive, of course!), because it doesn't sting.

hope this helps-- Donna

Bumpy arms - yuck!

June 2006

so i have a lot of bumps on my arms. i've noticed them getting worse over the years. i'm usually not so vain but they are bugging me. i think its hereditary as well, my daughter has them too! someone told me to take omega 3's and some one else said to loofa etc. nothing is working! does anyone know the real way to get rid of these. it's bad enough i have flabby arms, but now their covered in bumps
bumpy lady

You most likely have keratosis pilaris. Very common, mainly an aesthetic problem NOT dangerous, NOT infectious. Start with 12% Amlactin lotion or cream if that doesn't work, use something with Urea in it like Nutraplus Lotion Therapeutic Lotion, 10% Urea Lotion if that doesn't work , see the dermatologist. Sophia, adolescent medicine MD

Hi There--You have Keratosis Pilaris. It doesn't go away but you can manage it with DAILY exfoliating and a lotion that contains Glycolic Acid. sells KP lotion. I even had microdermabrasion (60$ a pop) for months last year trying to cure it but nothing works. The Omega 3 helps a bit as will ingesting some flax oil. Also, keep your arms out of the sun as much as possible anon

With perisistent and continuous daily use at therapeutic levels, EFAs and vitamin A rich foods may eliminate the bumps on your arms. Vitamin A rich foods are those we have been told to avoid: butterfat, egg yolks, organ meats, etc. Check out the article on vitamin A at for more reasons to incorporate these sacred foods into your diet Nori Hudson, NC

Bumpy arms are often a benign skin condition called Keratosis Pilaris. Alpha Hydroxy Lotions are supposed to help reduce the bumpies Sherri

I sometimes have this, and read that it was due to a Vitamin A deficiency. Might be something to check out Christine

I suffered with this for over 30 years until I was diagnosed with keratosis pilaris. I was given literature saying something to the effect that it's ''one of the most commonly inherited conditions'' in the population. What has been a miracle for me is Amlactin-12% lactic acid lotion. I buy mine at Costco (non-prescription). I apply the lotion once a day after showering and NO MORE BUMPS. Apparently what we have is dry skin which gets clogged pores and the lactic acid works like an exfoliator without the damage fomerly bumpy

First off I would say check with a Dermatologist and find out if they can tell you what the bumps are. It sounds like the same thing I have all over my arms and especially the back of my upper arm. Mine got worse after I had my son. Hormones and heat seem to make mine flare.

My dermatologists recommended Glades - Moist Skin 12% Moisturizing Lotion. This product has worked wonders! Within 3 applications it was noticeably less bumpy and less red. He also recommended Hydrocortisone if it is itchy. The lotion has a special formulation of 12% lactic acid neutralized with ammonium hydroxide to provide a lotion pH of 4.5-5.5.

I got it at the Kaiser pharmacy but you may be able to find it at a drugstore. Hope that helps Meg

I have/had ''bumps'' like you're describing, and you'd be suprised to know that 30-40% of the US population has them too (or at least the potential to get them). I wish I could recall the name my dermatoligist gave them, but he pointed out that HE had them too!

Basically, you can avoid these bumps by not agitating your skin. Other factors may cause them to raise up or fad away but these vary by person. I notice mine soon after I get lots of sun but they go away for a while afterwards. When I nervously scratch them they get their worst, rough scrubbing in the shower does NOT help me either. Changing to a scent free detergent seems to help some folks too, also try skipping drier sheets for a few cycles (if you use them). See is wearing different clothing materials consistently helps (cotton blends are better for me than straight cotton, but you may be different, you may have to experiment a bit to find out what works).

There are creams and medications you can try, as well as diet changes (just lowering my calories helped, but the Dr. recommended trying less refined foods like sugar or starches). Anti-itch cream may help the most if your problem is scratching (like me). Ooh, I itch just talking about it!

If they concern you enough I would recommend a trip to the dermatologist, she can probably offer you the best, personalized advice. jbrams

You are not alone. I have this problem--in fact, I make it worse by squeezing them when stressed out. After therapy and then just living with it for the past few years, I finally decided to do something about it when a friend read that it may be due to a food sensitivity or other toxic expression by the body, and another friend told me about muscle-testing for allergens. I figured I'd just check it out, what can it hurt? Of course it can be expensive if you are on a budget, but your insurance may cover it if they cover acupuncture. So I went to Zoe Walton in San Rafael. She is an acupuncturist who does muscle testing and also EFT - Emotional Freedom Technique. You can read more about it at It may sound really Berkeley woo-woo, but hey! here we are. Anyway, I went to see her, and through muscle testing she was able to pinpoint that I have a food sensitivity to potatoes, and that also I have a toxic buildup in my body, likely due to the cotton field across the street from the house I grew up in (major pesticide exposure there). So I have been avoiding potatoes since then, but am unable to do a body cleanse to rid myself of the other toxins until I wean my daughter. But I'm hopeful, because I've already seen a reduction in the bumps on my arms (it's been about 6 weeks). And the EFT seems to be working well for the anxiety. Good luck! --Bumpy too

I have struggled with bumpy arms since I was a teen and it got measurably worse after each pregnancy. Many dermatology visits brought no help at all. It is from dry skin clogging the pores apparently. I have finally gotten it 90% under control by doing the following things: 1. exfoliate twice a week with a buff puff or loofah 2. using ''Eucerin Plus'' or Amlactin cream religiously after bathing. you have to use a really emolient cream WITH hydroxy acids (that's why plain Eucerin won't work, it has to be the Eucerin plus). And you can't skip days or it will come back. My sister and niece have used the same regimen with good results. Hope it helps you too Been there

I have bumps on my upper arms that develop over the winter months and go away with exposure to the sun, exfoliation and moisturizing. The first and last steps might seems counter-intuitive, but they work! I wear sleeveless shirts a couple of times per week in the summer to expose my upper arms to the beneficial parts of the sun's rays--the sun has a bad rap these days, but some exposure is actually good for your skin! I wear sunscreen to block the UVA/UVB rays. I scrub my arms with one of those exfoliating brushes every night and then apply straight jojoba oil right after. It's nice and light for my oily skin--not gloppy like a lotion. Chemically, it's the closest thing to your body's natural oils. (It's cheapest at Trader Joe's.) Without the moisturizing, the exfoliation doesn't do much for me. Good luck! --Bumpy No More

From an earlier BPN discussion I realized that I too had ''Keratosis Pilaris'' (aka bumpy arms). I had never heard of it before, but when you google it tons of websites and products appear. I ordered Neutrogena Skin Smoothing body lotion from CVS pharmacy online (the only place I could find it). It has helped the bumpiness, not the redness as much but I forget to put it on everyday. Hope it helps!

Hi - I've also had bumps on the backs of my upper arms for most of my life. More recently, they've spread to my upper thighs and a little on the front of my stomach so I decided to look into it. It appears that this is a fairly common, hereditary skin condition known as ''Keratosis Pilaris'' that affects about 40% of the adult population, to various degrees. It's considered a mild and non-dangerous condition resulting from the mild overproduction of keratin (skin material) that fails to shed adequately for some reason. The keratin builds up in the pores as small white nodules that cause the bumps. The bumps rub against your clothes causing the mild red inflammation. Treatment recommendations are a mixed bag, but using a scrub or loofa just makes it worse (causes more irritation). What does seem to help is moisturizing the affected areas after bathing. In a recent report in self magazine, a New York dermatologist recommended a very specific product with glycolic acid to clear it up. I just ordered this skin product on-line and will be giving it a try but others on-line have reported dramatic success with it so I'm hopeful it will work for me as well. The product is called: NeoStrata Oily Skin Solution - AHA 8 and you can purchase it at: (use the coupon code ''sale20'' for a 20% discount - $13 for a bottle). If you do a search on ''Keratosis Pilaris'' on google, you'll find lots of information and see if this seems like what you have as well. I found the following sites useful: Regards, Chris Chris

I have them, too, and so does my daughter! It's called hyperkeratosis pylaris, and responds to regular application of a lotion with lactic acid. Lacticare is the brand-name that we use, and Costco also carries the generic AmLactin (same ingredients, in a slightly less nice lotion). Apply regularly to your arms. The bumps are keratin plugs, which will be dissolved by the lactic acid. DO NOT use a loofah. That irritates the skin, and makes the bumps worse. Good Luck! not so bumpy anymore

It sounds like it could be keratosis pilaris. Two things helped me: squeezing the bumps with dull tweezers (yuck) and using KP Duty by Dermadoctor. Neither was a complete cure, but they are definitely better than everything else I've tried. Good luck! anon

If you have what I have, and it sounds quite possible, doctors have told me that it is indeed hereditary and it is more common in people who have allergies. There's a Latin name for it that I've forgotten. Two things are supposed to help, moisturizing and exfoliation, but moisturizing is the most important. I've found that once the bumps are well established, like on my upper arms, it's really hard to get rid of them, but I have been able to make them much better with a routine of moisturizing and exfoliation. Sometimes the bumps start to spread, but I can clear up new areas and prevent spreading by using a good moisturizer regularly. We caught it early in my daughter and she was able to chase them away. The moisturizer that really improved my arms is Ammonium Lactate 12% lotion. I need to use it almost every day but only on my upper arms, so a bottle of this expensive stuff lasts a long time. I've also found that the Body Shop's Vitamin E Body Lotion is better than most I've tried -- keeps the bumps from spreading, but isn't so good for improving the old, really bumpy areas. Loofahs have never done anything for my bumps, but those shower scrubbers made out of a netting-like material work really well for me a middle aged lady with bumpy arms

The condition is called Keratosis Pilaris. A Google search will lead you to many articles - one doctor suggesting that since it's hereditary, if you aren't able to get rid of if, use it as a reminder of your connected-ness to your family. (!) I find that mine gets much better when I'm living in very hot/humid environments and my daughters' (on her face) goes away (temporarily) when she's had an extended fever. So my theory is to keep a daily regiment in a steam sauna - but I don't have the time or facilities to test it out.
Feeling Connected to Sandpaper

I have had the same experience...I've got them and now my 3 year old is developing them (I thought she wouldn't since she's got her Dad's skin). It's a skin condition called keratosis pilaris and is indeed hereditory. You can find some good info and treatments at and html. My cousin used a product from Sephora called KP Duty by Dermadoctor. She found it helped as long as she was diligent. I've tried taking Omegas and flax seed oil, but haven't noticed much difference, but I'm not that good at being diligent. Good Luck! kim

An aesthetician (sp?) I visited recommended two actions to help get rid of the bumps, which are also known as keratosis pilaris. The first was to use Amlactin, a glycolic acid cream, every night. Then in the morning in the shower, use a body scrub to exfoliate and then a moisturizer afterwards. The reason to do the Amlactin at night is that you can't be out in the sun for a couple of hours after you use it, so before bed is a good time. So far, I've bought all these products but haven't started the regime yet, so can't report on the progress. You can get Amlactin at Long's, it's in the products for diabetics, I guess that disease causes rough skin too.
Hoping bumps will soon be history

I have severe keratosis and it flaired worse with my pregnancies. I see Kristina Rodriguez at Spa de Esperanza at 1564 Solano Avenue. She has me on a resurfacing scrub and Age Intervention Hands cream that has 90% smoothed the problem. The bumpy arms dont flair or get as red, I am dealing with the scarring that is left from all my picking. I think she suffers from it too. She is an amazing aesthetician with various resources. Consult her for that. She helped me and my sister. She is amazing at skin conditions. Please see her. My sister has bumpy and pustular arms and it is now under control in time for her wedding. Check her out:
Albany Moma

Hi There- I was surprised no one else mentioned this remedy for pilaris keratosis. You can use plain ol' dandruff shampoo, like Head and Shoulders or any other with the same active ingredient ( I forget what it is) to clear up the bumps. It basically unplugs the pores and allows the ''build-up'' to flow out normally. Just use daily in the shower like a soap to the area until it is gone and then you can go to once a week or whatever keeps it under control. A nurse practitioner told my brother this and it worked for him.
A much cheaper remedy

Chicken Skin or Keratosis Pilaris

April 2006

Anyone had luck clearing up Keratosis Pilaris or ''chicken skin?'' Anyone used that KP Double Duty stuff? Any success? It's expensive and I'm not sure it's worth it... any tips appreciated.
Smooth skin wanted

KP is hard to beat. Amlactin 12% which has 12% lactic acid will help to break down the skin that is blocking the pores. However, you have to use is everyday, forever... tretinion (Retin A) generic but needs MD rx will do same, but again, you have to use it forever to maintain. no hope of getting rid of it, to my knowledge, only if you use one of these creams everyday... or at least periodically... Sophia, adolescent medicine MD

I too have been desperate for clear skin. Hot baths and scrubbing with loofah gloves and supermild, unfragranced soap seems to help. My dermatologist advised against the cream - she says that it only works some of the time for some patients, is expensive, you have to use it for 6 weeks to see results, and if you miss a day the condition comes back. Basically the cream just softens your skin enough for the pores to clear up. I've tried to be happy with the mixed results of loofahing. I did some research, and apparently 40% of the world suffers from KP, so we're not alone! fellow KP sufferer

keratosis pilaris is a relatively common skin condition and is a minor criteria for eczema, ie it is more common in families with eczema, asthma, and allergies. since it is actually your skin type, there is no curing it. things i tell my patients is that it is chronic, things that dry your skin will make it worse, and that scrubbing is one of the worst things you can do. it can also get way worse during pregnancy (don't know why). am lactin, an over the counter moisturizer contains lactic acid which will smooth the bumps out. over time, they can diminish in color too. this is harmless, might help and is cheap. you should also wear sunscreen since if it's the color of the bumps that bothers you, sun makes them darker. if it comes in the form of pustules, don't squeeze- again the dark color stays a LONG time. i would NOT pay for anything promising curative results and would just be gentle to your skin and use a good moisturizer. good luck! paige

I had keratosis pilaris on my upper arms, and was able to banish it through daily loofah-ing in the shower, followed by Neutrogena Multi-Vitamin Acne Treatment (a little hard to find in stores, but available at This regimen worked miracles! The daily aspect is very important - I can't skip a day of the loofah or the lotion. anon

I Have Keratosis Pilaris and went on all the topical creams from the doctor. They worked for temporary. But I have found two methods work for me. One found the proper soap and moisturizer to help on a daily and two I get an arm facial. I had a massage and the massage therapist told me to see the aesthetician to get an arm facial. I get that once every two months and they use a chemical peel to lessen the problem. I swear by her method. Albany Mom

I have been using KP Duty from Dermadoctor for a few months for the same problem. I can't say the problem is completely gone, but my skin is definitely softer, there are fewer bumps, and the bumps are easier to extract by squeezing (yuck!). I also thought it was expensive for only a partial solution to the problem, so I stopped it for a month, but my skin got much drier and bumpier, so I decided to keep using it. I haven't found any other products that work at all. If you can afford one tube, you might want to give it a try. also bumpy

This condition, which I previously had, was completely eliminated with the regular inclusion in my diet of cod liver oil, rich in essential fatty acids and vitamin A. Real vitamin A rich foods include cold water fish, butterfat, organs and egg yolk from pastured or wild animals, and some shellfish. Beta carotene rich foods (called pro- vitamin A foods) may translate in the liver to retinol (real vitamin A) assuming one has enough vitamin C, zinc, and thyroid hormone. Nori Hudson, NC