So I've been meaning to write this post for a while, but there were a few things I wanted to test before sharing them with you. I've suffered at the merciless hands of Keratosis Pilaris for a loooooooong time and I thought it was about time I shared some of the tips and tricks I've tried and tested over the years.
First off, if you don't know what Keratosis Pilaris is, you're one lucky person. It's the bane of my existence. Well, maybe it isn't that bad, but it can be rather annoying. To put it as basically as possible, I have really rough little red bumps on the tops of my arms that simply won't go away. These are formed by a plug of keratin that is built up at the base of the hair follicles in affected areas (it can happen pretty much anywhere aside from the soles of your feet and palms of your hands, but is most common on arms, thighs and bums). I'm lucky in that I have a silky smooth behind and my legs are soft enough, albeit a little stubbly, and these annoying keratin bumps mainly congregate on the tops of my arms.
Tip 1: Stay hydrated!
This is literally the meaning of life, the universe and everything. No wait, that's 42, my bad. Whenever I've been to the doctors for whatever reason, the first thing they always say is to drink plenty of fluids, and they're right! Staying hydrated is important in general. I drink a gargantuan amount of water (and pay the consequences by visiting the bathroom a million times a day but, swings and roundabouts) and although I can't say for certain that it has had a direct effect on reducing my KP, it certainly helps your body to function correctly and flush out all the bad stuff. DRINK WATER!
Tip 2: Exfoliation!
I've used many many methods of exfoliating in my brief 21 years, the weirdest of which being a pumice stone designed to remove calloused skin from feet, WHICH I DO NOT RECOMMEND. I would occasionally scour my arms in the shower and essentially scrape off the bumps, leaving my arms as one massive open sore. DO NOT DO THIS. I didn't do this very many times before realising that it was the stupidest idea ever, but the damage was already done as I have loads of tiny scars on the tops of my arms as a result of my idiocy. Not cool. Now that I have a functioning brain *citation needed* I like to use something not so abrasive. Once a week I will give my arms a good old scrub with an exfoliating glove to gently remove any dead and dry skin lurking on the surface. Sometimes if I'm feeling the need for a more gentle scrubbing, I'll reach for Flake Away or The Scrub Of Your Life from Soap & Glory.
Tip 3: Moisturise!
My moisturising routine begins in the shower. After I've washed all the necessary areas, I like to take a shower gel on my exfoliating glove and give my arms a damp good seeing to! Pun intended, sorry. I never notice any difference between gels that claim to be moisturising, so for me anything will do. After I've rinsed off my arms I like to take a walnut sized amount of the Nivea In-Shower Body Moisturiser and coat my arms, leaving it on while I condition my hair. I rinse that off and voila! My skin stays smooth for the day without that sticky moisturiser feeling. I'm really not into putting creams and stuff on my body straight after showering, so for me this stuff is perfection.
In the evenings when I'm getting into bed, I like to top up the moisture by applying a lotion or body butter so that when I wake up my arms remain silky smooth. It's no secret, I am absolutely awful at remembering to moisturise, but it really does make all the difference. I've gotten myself into a routine and after a couple of months of applying lotions every night, I've seen drastic improvements in my skin. The bumps are minimal and sparse. The redness still remains but the appearance isn't something that bothers me all that much. I wish I'd taken before and after photos because the difference is HUGE! Some of my new favourites for regular moisturising are the Garnier Ultimate Blends Body Lotions, which are perfect for me as they aren't greasy or sticky at all, the Garnier Ultimate Blends Restoring Body Butter and Multi-Purpose Soothing Balm which are great for night time as they're a little more substantial, (I've also used the Soothing Balm on my face and it's great!) and Aveeno Daily Moisturising Lotion. The Aveeno lotions don't smell that great, but work wonders for my KP.
There are loads of ways to help reduce symptoms of Keratosis Pilaris, and no need to splurge on expensive creams that contain urea. I've heard that using coconut oil in the shower supposedly works a treat, but I'm yet to try that as I can't stand the idea of having to clean an oily bath.
If you have any tips of your own for treating KP, be sure to let me know in the comments. If you try out any of the things I've mentioned (NOT THE PUMICE STONE NEVER DO THAT) I hope they work for you!
Thank you for reading!