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How To Get Rid Of Those Stubborn Bumps On The Back Of Your Arms And Legs
I could spend a few hundred words explaining what keratosis pilaris (KP) is, but here's the CliffsNotes version: Small, red, or white bumps and rough patches on the arms, legs, or butt that give your skin a goose flesh-like texture, and just don't seem to go away. While you'd have to set up an appointment with a doc or dermatologist to really pinpoint the cause of chronic bumps on your skin, a good clue is to look at your family. KP is an autosomal dominant inherited disorder, which means that if either parent has it, their offspring has a 50-50 shot at getting it, too.
Though KP is totally harmless (the bumps merely signal a buildup of the natural skin protein keratin in your hair's follicle), it does ruin all chances at having smooth skin. Or so I thought—until I tried a combo of products that cleared the bumps on the backs of my legs once and for all.
What worked for me
There are two kinds of exfoliation: physical (think salt and sugar scrubs) and chemical (such as glycolic or lactic acid). So when I came across the Dermadoctor KP Duty Body Scrub (; ), which, unlike run-of-the mill body polishers, was also packed with skin-smoothing lactic acid and azelaic acid, I had a hunch it was pretty powerful stuff.
I started massaging it on the backs of my legs (my KP trouble zone) every day before hopping in the shower, and following up with Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Body Cream (.50, ) on damp skin when I hopped out. After about two weeks of daily use, my bumps had flattened and my skin was smooth for the first time since I hit adolescence. Now I keep up with the routine 2 to 3 times a week to maintain bump-free skin.
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What the MD says
Sachin Shridharani, MD, a plastic surgeon based in New York City, confirmed that my strategy was on the right track, since incorporating both physical and chemical exfoliation and moisturizing skin on a regular basis is essential. Dry skin worsens KP because keratin, the protein that forms the scaly plug, blocks hair follicles, Shridharani explains. But the products I use aren't the only route to smoother skin.
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Shridharani says chemical exfoliants like salicylic acid pads (try Neutrogena Rapid Clear Treatment Pads; .29, ) or 20% urea lotions (try Excipial Skin Solutions 20% Urea Intensive Healing Cream; , ) work well, as do traditional physical scrubbers like body polishes (try Herbivore Coco Rose Coconut Oil Body Polish; , ) and exfoliating bath sponges (try Body Benefits Loofah Bath Sponge; , ). And you'll need to use both chemical and physical options to see real bump-reducing results—they're more powerful together than alone.
To keep skin hydrated, he recommends taking steps like swapping harsh, drying soaps for moisturizing options like creamy body washes (try Dove Deep Moisture Body Wash; , ), keeping the temp in your shower warm, rather than hot, and applying body lotion to the area as soon as you get out of the shower.
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