Keratosis Pilaris: Why Are the Backs of My Arms Always Rough?

There are many medical dermatology conditions Florida women and women bring to our team at Skin Wellness Physicians. One is keratosis pilaris (KP), an inherited, genetic condition that results in rough, red, or both rough and red follicles on the back of the arms, most commonly over the triceps area. In rare cases, one can find this on the thighs or lower backs of individuals.

KP is what is known as an autosomal dominant disorder. Autosomal dominance refers to the fact that a given individual has a 50 percent probability of giving it to any one of their children. People with KP will frequently believe their arms to be too dry as a result of failing to moisturize or from the use of drying soaps—however, the arms’ rough and dry feeling is simply from the body’s programming.

Treatment is often directed at the predominant complaint. Unfortunately, very little can be done for the redness. Attempts at laser treatments have been made, but clinical studies have demonstrated that the improvement is modest at best. As for the rough follicles, moisturizing creams that contain lactate or urea are what most patients describe to be the most helpful. Chronic and consistent use are what will result in the greatest benefit.

Most importantly, understand that KP is not a dangerous condition—nor is it eczema. If you have it, one of your parents most assuredly had it to some degree as well. Staying consistent with topical creams or moisturizers containing lactate or urea can give the best results.

For more information about skin conditions and their treatment, contact our team at Skin Wellness Physicians. Call us at (239) 732-0044 or send us information via our contact form so we can get started with your care.

Dr. Daniel Wasserman

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