Keratosis pilaris

Keratosis pilaris is a very common, harmless condition where small bumps appear on your skin. It can last for a long time, but there are things that may improve your skin. You don’t normally need medical attention to treat keratosis pilaris.

Check if you have keratosis pilaris

Symptoms of keratosis pilaris may include:

  • dry, rough skin
  • painless small bumps on your skin

You usually get patches of small bumps on your:

  • arms
  • thighs
  • bottom

They can also appear in other places.

The bumps can be red, white, skin-toned or darker than your skin. The skin can sometimes feel itchy and may be better in summer and worse in winter.

Things you can do yourself to help

Most people with keratosis pilaris have it for years, and it may eventually clear up by itself.

Until it does, there are things you can do to help improve the appearance of your skin. See information below for what these include.

Do

  • moisturise your skin – ask a pharmacist what's most suitable for you
  • use mild and unperfumed soaps and bathing products
  • gently scrub your skin with a washcloth or exfoliating mitt
  • have cool or lukewarm showers and baths
  • pat your skin dry instead of rubbing it after washing

Don't

  • use perfumed soaps or bathing products that can dry out your skin
  • use harsh scrubs on your skin – this can make it worse
  • have hot baths or showers
  • scratch, pick or rub your skin

When to seek medical help

A pharmacist can help if:

  • things you try yourself aren't helping and the condition is bothering you
  • your skin becomes itchy or inflamed
  • you're not sure if you need to see a GP

They can recommend creams or lotion to help your skin. They can also tell you whether you need to see a GP.

Causes

Keratosis pilaris happens when your hair follicles become blocked with a build-up of keratin – a substance found in skin, hair and nails.

No one knows exactly why keratin builds up, but the condition is thought to run in families. So if your parents have it, you may get it too.

Keratosis pilaris isn't infectious, so you can't spread or catch it.

The information on this page has been adapted from original content from the NHS website.

For further information see terms and conditions.

Health conditions A to Z

Search by health condition or symptoms

Or find conditions beginning with …

Share this page

What do you want to do?
What is your question about?
Do you want a reply?
Your email address
To reply to you, we need your email address
Your feedback

We will not reply to your feedback.  Don't include any personal or financial information, for example National Insurance, credit card numbers, or phone numbers.

This feedback form is for issues with the nidirect website only.

You can use it to report a problem or suggest an improvement to a webpage.

If you have a question about a government service or policy, you should contact the relevant government organisation directly as we don’t have access to information about you held by government departments.

You must be aged 13 years or older - if you’re younger, ask someone with parental responsibility to send the feedback for you.

The nidirect privacy notice applies to any information you send on this feedback form.

Don't include any personal or financial information, for example National Insurance, credit card numbers, or phone numbers.

Plain text only, 750 characters maximum.
Plain text only, 750 characters maximum.

What to do next

Comments or queries about angling can be emailed to anglingcorrespondence@daera-ni.gov.uk 

What to do next

If you have a comment or query about benefits, you will need to contact the government department or agency which handles that benefit.  Contacts for common benefits are listed below.

Carer's Allowance

Call 0800 587 0912
Email 
dcs.incomingpostteamdhc2@nissa.gsi.gov.uk

Discretionary support / Short-term benefit advance

Call 0800 587 2750 
Email 
customerservice.unit@communities-ni.gov.uk

Disability Living Allowance

Call 0800 587 0912 
Email dcs.incomingpostteamdhc2@nissa.gsi.gov.uk

Employment and Support Allowance

Call 0800 587 1377

Jobseeker’s Allowance

Contact your local Jobs & Benefits office

Personal Independence Payment

Call 0800 587 0932

If your query is about another benefit, select ‘Other’ from the drop-down menu above.

What to do next

Comments or queries about the Blue Badge scheme can be emailed to bluebadges@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk or you can also call 0300 200 7818.

What to do next

For queries or advice about careers, contact the Careers Service.

What to do next

For queries or advice about Child Maintenance, contact the Child Maintenance Service.

What to do next

For queries or advice about claiming compensation due to a road problem, contact DFI Roads claim unit.

What to do next

For queries or advice about criminal record checks, email ani@accessni.gov.uk

What to do next

Application and payment queries can be emailed to ema_ni@slc.co.uk

What to do next

For queries or advice about employment rights, contact the Labour Relations Agency.

What to do next

For queries or advice about birth, death, marriage and civil partnership certificates and research, contact the General Register Office Northern Ireland (GRONI) by email gro_nisra@finance-ni.gov.uk

What to do next

For queries about:

If your query is about another topic, select ‘Other’ from the drop-down menu above.

What to do next

For queries or advice about passports, contact HM Passport Office.

What to do next

For queries or advice about Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs), including parking tickets and bus lane PCNs, email dcu@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk

What to do next

For queries or advice about pensions, contact the Northern Ireland Pension Centre.

What to do next

If you wish to report a problem with a road or street you can do so online in this section.

If you wish to check on a problem or fault you have already reported, contact DfI Roads.

What to do next

For queries or advice about historical, social or cultural records relating to Northern Ireland, use the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) enquiry service.

What to do next

For queries or advice about rates, email LPSCustomerTeam@lpsni.gov.uk

What to do next

For queries or advice about  60+ and Senior Citizen SmartPasses (which can be used to get concessionary travel on public transport), contact Smartpass - Translink.