Tuesday

Keratosis Pilaris: My Experience + My Product Recommendations

Keratosis Pilaris is an inherited skin condition that affects around 1 in 3 people, and is a build up of keratin that sits in the hair follicles and blocks them, causing rough dry skin, inflamed red bumps, and ingrown hairs. The condition (also colloquially known as 'chicken skin'- nice...) isn't harmless, painful or contagious- it's just annoying and can cause a huge lack in confidence.


I've suffered from Keratosis Pilaris on my arms and thighs ever since I was a young teenager. It destroyed my confidence more than I knew; I hated, and refused to wear short sleeved tops (even on the hottest days of the year when I would wear a jumper to cover up my arms). In fact, my confidence only began to boost in my early 20s as I lost weight and became aware of how common the condition actually is. 

Unfortunately, Keratosis Pilaris has no cure but the appearance can be reduced through diet and a gentle skincare routine. It's also known to clear up during adult life.

My tips on managing Keratosis Pilaris 

 Skin needs to be kept nice and supple so it requires regular moisturising using a lightweight moisturiser. Well-moisturised skin is just about feeling good as it is looking good. Sticky-feel moisturisers will make moisturising seem like a chore and eventually you'll give up. While your skin requires hydration, it still needs to breathe. 

 Use a gentle exfoliating scrub in the shower- regularly scrubbing the skin with a light scrub removes dead cells and unclogs the plugs, but scrub too harsh and it will cause irritation, further redness and sometimes minor bleeding. 

 Stay away from heavily-scented products as they are known to cause skin irritation, making the skin even more dry and sometimes flaky. If you do fancy a fragranced lotion, opt for one that's only lightly scented. 

 Regular waxing and shaving can inflame the bumps and cause redness and itchiness. I've heard from other people's experiences that hair removal cream is best for removing hair on Keratosis Pilaris affected areas, but I hate the stuff! So I chose to undergo IPL treatments instead using my Philips Lumea device (review here) so I don't have to shave almost everyday. In fact- since I started to use the device in July, I've only had to shave my arms three times so now I rarely experience the itchy post-shave skin.

• Don't pick at the bumps! Picking at them may seem tempting at first, but it will cause scarring and will look a lot worse. I learnt the hard way- just don't do it! 

My skincare product recommendations 

My track-record with skincare products wasn't great as a teenager; I hated moisturising my skin while I was at university simply because I was using all of the wrong products for my skin. I always went for the heavily fragranced body butters and scrubs in an attempt to treat my dry 'Keratosis Pilaris' arms, which only made my skin feel super sticky and irritated.

Now- as a beauty blogger and skincare enthusiast, I've tried and tested hundreds of moisturisers, scrubs, and cleansers- and so here I have listed my ultimate favourites that are affordable and widely available. All the qualities listed here are my own personal experience and findings, and are most certainly not just copied from a press-release or product description!

Vaseline Advanced Repair Lotion - £5.49
I discovered this lotion last year and I've been using it regularly ever since. It includes micro-droplets of Vaseline Jelly in the formula, is fragrance free, and keeps the skin well-moisturised for the whole day. I prefer to use this lotion in the colder seasons as that's when my skin usually becomes a lot drier. 

E45 Intensive Care Lotion - £4.89 
Whilst I tend to use the Vaseline Advanced Repair Lotion in the colder seasons, I like to use the E45  Intensive Care Lotion in the warmer seasons as it's non-scented, cool-toned, and very light in consistency. This lotion is excellent at locking in moisture whilst being refreshing at the same time. I've found that it requires minimal effort when moisturising the skin and you don't have to vigorously massage it in. It's also great to use on wet skin, and doesn't have that sticky after-feel that I detest.

Aveeno Body Wash - £8.99
The Aveeno Body Wash is great as it's specifically designed to cater for sensitive skin types. It's alcohol, soap and paraben free so the Body Wash is very gentle, and the inclusion of oat essence as a key ingredient is brilliant for soothing irritated skin. It's definitely one of the best body washes I've used as it leaves the skin feeling clean, soft and very relieved. 

Sanctuary Spa Air Whipped Souffle Scrub - £8.00  
With scrubs, it's best to stay away from sea-salt based ones as these tend to strip the moisture from the skin, thus doing more harm than good when it comes to treating sensitive skin. I really like the Air Whipped Souffle Scrub by Sanctuary Spa as it includes exfoliating jojoba beads which are great at gently unplugging the hair follicles and whilst the actual product smells so lovely, it doesn't irritate the skin. It's very light in texture and isn't too heavily fragranced. 



I hope this post is helpful, and I'd love to hear your tips on managing Keratosis Pilaris!

For more information on Keratosis Pilaris, check out these websites that are quite helpful:  
http://www.britishskinfoundation.org.uk/SkinInformation/AtoZofSkindisease/KeratosisPilaris.aspx
http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/keratosis-pilaris/Pages/Introduction.aspx

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