The Medical Dermatology Program at Massachusetts General Hospital is a full-service dermatology practice that provides care for all skin, hair and nail conditions.
What is keratosis pilaris?
Keratosis pilaris is a common skin disorder. It is characterized by small, scaly pointed bumps on the skin. The bumps usually appear on the upper arms, thighs, and buttocks. The condition worsens in the winter and usually clears up in the summer. Keratosis pilaris has no known cause, but tends to run in families.
This disorder does not get worse over time. It is harmless, and often disappears as the person ages.
Treatment for keratosis pilaris
Usually no treatment is necessary for keratosis pilaris. Treatment may include:
Using petroleum jelly with water, cold cream, urea cream, or salicylic acid (removes the top layer of skin) to flatten the pimples
Using a tretinoin cream (a medicine that is chemically related to vitamin A)
Contact your healthcare provider if the condition does not respond to over-the-counter moisturizing lotions. Since this is a common, harmless skin condition, you can also discuss it with your healthcare provider during a routine office visit.