*Super itchy skin relief provided by The Eczema Company (thanks guys!).
Keratosis Pilaris (KP) is a prevalent feature among the population. In fact, 50% of the entire world's population, up to 80% of children and 40% of adults have this common condition described as “chicken skin” characterized by a multitude of tiny bumps that make the skin rough to the touch, normally present on the upper arms and thighs. And while it's slightly annoying to have this dry, bumpy skin, it's not dangerous and can be treated in several different ways.
According to Dr Greene, KP is inherited as an autosomal dominant gene. This is similar to the brown versus blue eye color phenomenon. All it takes is a single gene from either parent to find oneself with less than perfectly smooth skin.
In my very own home, 3 out of 5 members of my family have KP — dad and two of the kids. Our youngest son has the most widespread case with bumps all over his arms and legs that's been present to some degree since he was very small, so I've been looking for effective, natural and non-toxic ways to help him with it for a long time. Thankfully, I've found several amazing options.
How to Treat Keratosis Pilaris Naturally
There are two methods of treating keratosis pilaris naturally: internally and externally, both of which have their unique and important benefits.
It didn't actually occur to me that at first that KP could be addressed internally, after all it only affects the skin, right? Wrong. It wasn't until our son had a bout of mysterious stomach pain that occurred on and off for several months that I realized part of his chicken skin condition was directly related to his gut health. That's why we recommend treating keratosis pilaris both ways.
Address Gut Health
For my son, his stomach pain was the catalyst that propelled me into finding out the most effective way to treat his KP internally. It turned out that the elimination of dairy was the key for him. Of course we tried eliminating the other most common allergenic foods including soy, wheat, eggs and nuts, but there was no comparison to the difference for him going dairy-free. We're still in the process of healing his gut one year later, so we'll have him on a strict no dairy diet for a while longer.
We also started a regimen of high-quality probiotics, grass fed collagen, digestive bitters and organic dandelion tincture to help heal any inflammation or brokenness in his bowels, and replenish his bile-producing organs to help him process his food more effectively. In the past several months, his stomach pains have been eliminated by 90% and I've seen a marked improvement in his skin. Way less bumpiness, dryness and redness overall.
Treat the Skin Topically
In my experience with keratosis pilaris, I've found that topical treatment is also extremely important, especially if the skin is itchy. There's nothing better than the relief of an ointment or lotion on irritated, super dry skin. Over time, I've found several products that work wonders for my son, and I alternate them depending on the condition of his skin (dry, red, itchy, etc).
These are the products I keep in my stocked in my KP treatment kit:
- Organic Manuka Honey Skin Cream – Creamy and amazing, this is my go-to product. So easy to apply, this incredible moisturizer is perfect for everyday use. I can't recommend it enough.
- Grass Fed Tallow Balm with Lavender – With a thinner texture similar to cold coconut oil, I most often use this simple and effective balm after baths. My son loves the smell, and it's paleo!
- Grass Fed Tallow Soap – Used before the tallow balm, this soap helps prime and pre-moisturize the skin. I use it a couple times a week for regular cleansing.
- Organic Calendula Salve – This is my absolute favorite product to help heal the skin when it's become inflamed. With organic calendula, olive oil and vitamin E, this simple salve effectively treats flareups and heals broken skin.
Gentle exfoliation is also helpful because it's rids the skin of any dead cells lying on the surface that can clog and aggravate already irritated skin. Here's our favorite DIY Detoxifying Body Scrub that you can make yourself with ingredients in your pantry at home.
After I zeroed in on this set of products and methods, I saw pronounced improvement in my son's super dry skin and a decrease in the overall presence of his keratosis pilaris. We'll be continuing on this path for the next several months in the hopes that we've found an actual set of remedies for KP.
The Eczema Company is a trustworthy company specializing in natural care and treatment of skin conditions like eczema and keratosis pilaris. You'll find simple, natural, non-GMO ingredients clearly listed on each product page.