Keratosis pilaris is a common skin condition that causes rough patches and small, acne-like bumps, usually on the arms, thighs and buttocks. Keratosis pilaris creates a “goose bumps,” “gooseflesh,” or “chicken skin” appearance on the skin. Keratosis pilaris bumps are usually white, sometimes red, and generally don’t hurt or itch. Though you may not like the sandpaper-like appearance of your skin, keratosis pilaris isn’t serious and doesn’t have long-term health implications.
Keratosis pilaris usually appears on the upper arms, legs or buttocks, but it can also appear on the face, where it closely resembles acne. The small size of the bumps and its association with dry, chapped skin distinguish keratosis pilaris from pustular acne. Unlike elsewhere on the body, keratosis pilaris on the face may leave small scars.
Keratosis pilaris results from the buildup of keratin — a hard protein that protects your skin from harmful substances and infection. The keratin forms a scaly plug that blocks the opening of the hair follicle. Usually many plugs form, causing patches of rough, bumpy skin.
Treatment of keratosis pilaris can include: