What ingredients should you avoid with Keratosis Pilaris?

Avoid coconut oil when treating keratosis pilaris, and most skin issues, frankly. It’s comedogenic, meaning it clogs the pores and tends to make everything worse (with KP, the pores are already clogged, so this would be a double-clog situation). Treating keratosis pilaris is about unclogging those pores, so don’t waste your time with coconut oil. Jojoba oil is a milder oil and might help lessen redness and inflammation around KP bumps.

Do's

Moisturize

This is the most important. Maintaining soft skin is how you avoid the hard plugs that clog the hair follicles, causing KP.

Urea

A wonder ingredient that exfoliates and moisturizes.

Alpha Hydroxy Acids (“AHA’s”)

Gentle chemical exfoliants, including lactic acid, glycolic acid, mandelic acid.

Salicylic Acid

A common skincare ingredient, especially in acne products, it’s a chemical exfoliant as well.

Vitamin A (AKA Retinol)

Common in anti-aging products, or by prescription.

Don'ts

Fragrance

Can irritate skin, causing inflammation which exacerbates KP. Look for products marked “fragrance free.”

Coconut Oil

Clogs pores (see above).

Certain Clothing

Rough fabrics like wool, and tight clothing (like athletic leggings).

Scratching

Though tempting, scratching or “popping” KP will inflame skin.

Hot Showers

Will dry out skin, encouraging more KP.

Chlorinated Water

Another cause for dry skin. Be sure to rinse and moisturize if you go for a dip.

Contributing Experts

Dr. Michele Farber, MD, FAAD

Board-Certified Dermatologist

Dr. Michele Farber, FAAD is a board-certified dermatologist at Schweiger Dermatology in New York.

Endorsement Disclaimer: Soft Services works with experts to strengthen the information provided on Mass Index. Please note that they do not endorse our products.

More Information

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Keratosis Pilaris

Small, harmless bumps of dead skin cells that form around the hair follicle.

Also Called

KP, chicken skin, bumpy arms, permanent goose bumps

Looks Like

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Frequently Found On

Back of upper arms, outer thighs, back of thighs, outer calves

Related Concerns

Learn More: Keratosis Pilaris