Keratosis pilaris

Synonyms: Chicken skin

Medical Specialties: Dermatology, Family practice, Internal medicine

Clinical Definition

Keratosis pilaris is a condition of the skin in which hair follicles are blocked by keratin, a protein in the skin, resulting in lesions commonly distributed on extensor aspects of the proximal limbs. Exacerbation during winter months is common.

In Our Own Words

Keratosis pilaris is a skin condition that looks like goose bumps and is often found on the upper arms and thighs, but can occur elsewhere. It typically emerges in childhood or adolescence, and it may be linked with another skin condition, atopic dermatitis. The disorder is not completely understood but believed to have a genetic component and involves the protein keratin forming a plug in hair follicles, leading to a bump and some redness. Aside from the appearance, it’s usually symptomless, but the skin can have a rough feel and keratosis pilaris can coexist with the itchiness of atopic dermatitis.

Relevant Conditions
  • Atopic dermatitis
Side Effects
  • Goose bumps
  • Rough skin
  • Red bumps
Share this article
  • University of Maryland Medical Center. "Keratosis pilaris on the cheek." Medical encyclopedia. May 2013. Accessed November 2013.
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