SKIN TALK: How I Control My Keratosis Pilaris

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As the title suggests, this post will be about a skin condition called keratosis pilaris (or KP), which is something that I have. According to the Mayo Clinic's official website, KP leads to dry, rough patches on the skin that look like very tiny red or white bumps. Some people compare its appearance to chicken skin. The reason why the bumps form is because too much keratin builds up and blocks the hair follicle openings. No one really knows what exactly causes KP, but some experts hypothesize that it's partially due to genetic factors. KP also tends to be more common during harsh winters, when the air is dry.

KP isn't a serious medical condition. But let's face it: KP ain't pretty. And it could be really annoying. Most people with KP often get these rough patches on the back of their arms, their legs, and bums. Some, including myself, get KP on their face. My bumps tend to appear right around my mouth and lower cheeks, especially when the outside temperature drops below freezing. As a result, my cheeks look dull and feel rough.

Luckily, KP disappears as you age. But being the impatient person I am, I can't wait that long. Thus, I've committed to a few habits that have minimized the appearance and severity of KP. These are the things that helped me:

1. Exfoliating Gently
I use exfoliation as a preventative measure. As I mentioned, KP occurs when there is too much protein build up around the hair follicles; thus, I rely on gentle exfoliation to prevent the keratin from building up excessively. I emphasize the word "gentle" because harsh exfoliators can really aggravate your skin and worsen the appearance of KP. My favorite way to exfoliate is to use a Japanese Konjac Sponge (affiliate link) every other day. This is a really effective yet gentle tool that I can use on my sensitive skin. This has really helped to prevent KP from rearing its ugly head.

2. Using a Gentle Cleanser
I avoid using cleansers with Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), because this ingredient unnecessarily strips away moisture, which can really aggravate the dry patches on my skin. I've been using Shiseido's Gentle Cleanser for about a year and a half, and it's been working amazingly well for me. It makes my skin feel clean without feeling taut and dry. Other cleansers that I like are HABA Squa Powder Wash Cleanser with Papaya Enzymes (affiliate link) and cleansing oils like Mizon's No. 1 King;s Berry Cleansing Oil and Kose Softymo Deep Cleansing Oil (affiliate link). Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser (affiliate link) is also a great option for no-makeup days.

3. Retaining Moisture in My Skin
I use products with hyaluronic acid to help retain moisture in my skin, which is an ingredient we naturally have in our bodies. The reason why I use products with hyaluronic acid is because it is a hydorphylic molecule (i.e., it loves water); in fact, it is known to bind up to 1000 times its weight in water (see Fessler, Liselotte, & Fessler, 1966). My favorite serum is Mizon's Hyaluronic Acid 1000, which contains 50% of this awesome ingredient and is designed to absorb well into the skin and facilitate the absorption of other skincare products.  In addition, I also make sure I use a highly emollient face cream, day and night. My current favorite for the winter is Shiseido's White Lucent Brightening Moisturizing Cream W; not only is this super moisturizing, but it has ingredients that help with skin's cell turnover (i.e., dead skin cells get replaced with new ones).  This seals in all the previous products I apply and makes my skin feel incredibly soft.

4. Using a Humidifier
When winter hits, people love to crank up the heater in my office and apartment buildings. While I do prefer the toasty temperature to the harsh winter cold, heaters actually dry out my skin and make KP much worse. This is why I decided to buy a humidifier, like the EWARE Mini Ultra-sonic Humidifier (affiliate link). I turn this on while I sleep, and the next day, my skin is soft, supple, and full of moisture. This humidifier has been working well for me, and I love how cute and compact it is.

5. Keeping Myself Hydrated
Last, but definitely not least: I drink LOTS of water! I can definitely tell if I'm dehydrated just by looking at my skin; it appears dull, dry, and tired. I am a believer in facilitating beauty from within. So even if you don't have KP, I highly suggest that you keep yourself hydrated.

So there it is folks--my personal favorite things to do to keep KP at bay. If you have KP or any other skin conditions, feel free to share your habits and products below in the comments!

Till later,


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