Stay Healthy

Living With A Skin Condition

Hi, my name is Katie and yes, I have a skin condition…

What is it you ask? I suffer from a genetic condition called Keratosis Pilaris, more commonly known as, “Chicken Skin.” Sounds wonderful, I know.

Growing up, like most, I never knew what Keratosis Pilaris (KP) was, or that I even had it. For years, I presumed my dry, bumpy skin was unexplainable and something to be ashamed of. It wasn’t until one day when an old friend questioned what the bumps she could see peeping through from underneath my trouser leg were, that I took it upon myself to investigate further.

Affecting between 30-50% of adults and 50-80% of teenagers, KP is a genetic skin condition that causes dry, rough skin characterised by tiny red bumps usually located on the upper arms and legs. It occurs as a result of a build-up of keratin, the protein protecting the skin. This excess keratin traps the hair follicle in the pore causing hard plugs to form, also known as hyperkeratinization.

Although it is incurable and will never fully go away, it can be maintained over time. Here are my top tips for keeping KP at bay.

Exfoliate

Exfoliation is key when it comes to KP. You can either use a pair of exfoliating gloves alongside a gentle body scrub, to softly exfoliate your body, working in circles whilst in the shower. Another option would be a body brush to dry brush your skin on affected areas.

Rotate between methods two or three times per week – make sure to avoid aggressive scrubbing as this can cause irritation.

Moisturise

To keep your skin as smooth as possible, moisturise twice a day. Invest in a cream containing urea, a compound that treats dryness and itching. My go-to product is “Akérat Body cream” by Avène (€20.99). Creams containing lactic acid also work wonders for KP.

Sensitive Skin Cleaning

Treat your skin as though it were a baby’s when showering. Stick to natural soap products without fragrances and avoid using water that is too hot as this can be drying. Aloe Vera is cooling should your skin feel hot following a shower.

If you find any KP treatments are irritating your skin, stop immediately.

Living with a skin condition can be difficult. It affects you both mentally and physically. Everything from hormones to the food you eat can impact its appearance. After hiding mine for years, I have finally learned to love and embrace my skin for what it is. I really hope you can do the same, whatever the condition.

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