Ever since I can remember I've had keratosis pilaris-a follicular disease mainfested by the appearance of small bumps on the outer sides of the upper arms. This is due to the shedding of old cells on the epidermal layer which causes plugs to form over hair follicles.
When I was younger it never really bothered me although kids often teased me and told me I was "diseased". It was as I got to be 12 or 13 that it became a BIG problem. All of a sudden in a world where girls have no shame in wearing tube tops when July rolls around-I was scared to death to wear any shirt with sleeves that end above the elbow. It also doesn't help that the condition looks very much like I have bad acne all over my upper arms.
Ready for the awful part? I went to a dermatoligist, full of hope that they could diagnose and cure me. He knew what it was immediately and told me that he wouldn't prescribe me any medicine for it because A) it's not harmful and WILL go away with time (grrreat, I'll be rid of it by my twenties) and B) medecine just isn't effective. It takes months to see any results and the results are often so minor that the person discontinues the medication.
With summer rolling around again and a job that requires me to take kids swimming-I'm terrified. You'd think that people would become mature but no, even adults say "Oh my God! What's wrong with your arms?" Although it may be concern, it really hurts when literally 5 or 6 people will ask me what's up with my arms when I wear a short sleeved shirt. It's a minor problem that is really taking it's toll on my confidence.
Does anyone know ANYTHING that can help this? I'm desperate!
Here's a few other threads that mention this topic, but because we haven't done it in-depth anywhere, I think it's worthwhile.
I went to a dermatologist several years ago for a very mild case of keratosis pilaris, among a few other things, and they just told me to exfoliate lightly and wait till I grew out of it. I'm 19 now and it's getting better, but it's still not gone. Sigh. Anyone else, suggestions?
Dear Chelle, I'd talk to another dermatologist on this one. There are definitely methods which alleviate keratosis pilaris, and they don't involve ingested medicine either. 1) Do you get enough Vitamin A in your diet? KP is associated with a vitamin A deficiency. Don't overdose on vitamins, though. 2) Physical exfoliation with a bath puff or sisal sponge or something similar 3) Lac-Hydrin or another chemical exfoliation. Lac-Hydrin 12% cream contains lactic acid, a chemical exfoliant, and is available by prescription in the US or over the counter in Canada. Some over the counter exfoliants to look for are AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids), which should be available in 10% or less in over the counter stuff. Start with a lower percentage 2% or so and work your way up if needed.
I know several people who have significantly reduced or gotten rid of KP using chemical exfoliatiants.
------------------ Ash Scarleteen Advocate "The level of our success is limited only by our imagination and no act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted"--Aesop
Hey Chelle, I have the exact same thing as you, I also have the little bumps on my thighs and some on my face. I've never really been made fun of for it, but I too, am really self conscious about it. But its no big deal to me anymore because 1. I don't have it very severly and 2. I have noticed that many of my peers (guys and girls) have the same thing, so I don't really worry about it anymore.
But.. if you feel you have it very severely and that it interferes with your life and causes you to miss out on things like swimming, or wearing sexy shirts, then go see a different dermatoligist, I went to the dermatologist last year and he said you will never fully grow out of it but as you get older it will eventually become less severe and less noticable.
have you tried gentle exfoliation on your upper arms? that helps a lot...you can use products like Apricot scrub or sugar scrub, or you can make your own with a bit of sugar or cornmeal mixed with Cetaphil...just add a little sugar or cornmeal until you get a bit of grit, then massage gently for about 1-2 minutes/arm.
Copyright 1998, 2014 Heather Corinna/Scarleteen
Scarleteen.com: Providing comprehensive sex education online to teens and young adults worldwide since 1998
Information on this site is provided for educational purposes. It is not meant to and cannot substitute for advice or care provided by an in-person medical professional. The information contained herein is not meant to be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, or for prescribing any medication. You should always consult your own healthcare provider if you have a health problem or medical condition.