It was inevitable that I would develop chicken skin at some point in my life, having had every other skin condition including the ones (eczema, sensitive skin, acne) associated most commonly with it's development. Chicken skin, or Keratosis pilaris in fancy doctor speak, are those hard red/brown/beige bumps that develop around hair follicles. Most common on the upper arms (but also anywhere there are hair follicles so legs, toosh, etc.) they are sometimes itchy but mostly just annoying. It's possible I've had them for a long time but didn't notice them because of my freckles but in the persistent Chicago heat they have become the reddish pink bane of my existence. So obviously I turned to the internet and started guinea pigging myself of the various treatments I found. Here's what works for me:
1. Dramatic exfoliation. You may recall this post about the amazing detox powder that made my chicken skin disappear overnight. It works by using chemicals to literally unplug the hair follices and clear out the dirt around it. It's awesome. But it is also super potent, not to be used more than once a week (lest you want a scary new rash of some other kind) and those damn things plug themselves back up again without regular maintenance so...
2. Daily exfoliation with a gentle charcoal soap. You may be noticing a trend here, charcoal is definitely a hero ingredient. It works to draw out impurities and had as anti-bacterial properties. It's also super gentle and mild, safe for daily use and has no smell or perfumes, making it perfect for treating skin that's already behaving sensitively.
3. Lotion with Urea. This unpleasant sounding ingredient is essential for treating chicken skin. "Urea cream is a debriding agent. It works by helping the breakdown of dead skin and pus, which helps to loosen and shed hard and scaly skin." Yum, right? But that's what those little bumps are.
It's also touted as having a good PH to help balance skin, and over time with regular use can actually work to prevent the formation of the dread KP. The cream isn't super pleasant to use (it's thick, takes a while to absorb and can be a little sticky) but it works. The cheaper the cream the less pleasant it is to use - I am currently using Amlactin (two gigantic bottles for $17!) I've heard amazing things about the Eucerin 10% Urea Emulsion ($20 for a smallish bottle) and the fancy fancy DermaDoctor KP Duty ($38 for a small bottle but feels and smells amazing?!)
With diligent application I noticed a significant improvement in the formation of new bumps in about 2 weeks. Just to see if it was actually the products I stopped using them for a week and they came back in force so it took me another few weeks to get them under control again. Please enjoy these unedited photos of my arm skin demonstrating 1) how cute my dog is and 2) how smooth my skin is capable of getting!
Wearing Stan Smith Sneakers | Reformation Dress