After years of skincare infatuation, there’s no wonder why we’re always analysing every single patch of our bodies.
And while beauty products tend to focus on smoothing, refining and plumping our face and necks, not enough is said about the skin covering the rest of our bodies.
Any skincare savant would know that breakouts and bumps don’t just stop at the face, in fact, irritation can occur all over the body. From troubled hair follicles to blocked pores, our skin can foster all kinds of unwanted additions, which is why we’re always on the hunt for the smoothest skin possible.
For many of us, any routine body care moments can see our fingers glide over little, rough bumps that make your skin feel more like sand paper than silk.
If you can relate, then you might be on the receiving end of keratosis pilaris, otherwise known as ‘KP’ or ‘chicken skin’.
Persistent and a temptation to pick at, once KP starts, it’s difficult to be rid of it entirely. But, not all hope is lost. While KP will likely never leave your body for good, there’s actually a rather easy way to treat the irritation and maintain smooth skin, and it only requires three products.
Below, everything you need to about keratosis pilaris and how to bid adieu to ‘chicken skin’.
What Is Keratosis Pilaris?
First and foremost, there’s no way to rid yourself of the stubborn keratosis pilaris without truly understanding what it is.
A very common type of skin condition, KP causes rough, dry patches of skin, along with clusters of tiny bumps that are typically located on the upper arms, thighs, cheeks and even your behind.
The good news is that KP is relatively harmless, since it doesn’t cause itchy skin, isn’t able to spread over the body and isn’t contagious to others.
Essentially, the reason that KP exists is because of a buildup of excess keratin (which is a hair protein) in the skin follicle which ends up blocking the pore, as per the Mayo Clinic. As for why it’s called ‘chicken skin’, well, because it can feel rough and/or resemble goosebumps.
But why do we get keratosis pilaris? Well, some say that it’s all down to genetics, as per Osmosis. On a more literal level, KP’s build-up of dead keratin cells collect within the hair follicle, because of our tiny and transparent hairs can’t guide everything out onto the skin. This leads to blockages, which we see as bumps, and for some, that blockage causes irritation, which leads to redness.
The drier your skin, the more havoc keratosis pilaris can have on your body. So, this is the reason why we tend to have more flare ups in winter and improved skin on warmer holidays.
How Can I ‘Get Rid’ Of Keratosis Pilaris?
Ready to bid adieu to the dreaded skin bumps? It’s important to note that KP never really goes away, but you can definitely get rid of its stark appearance—but only through committed maintenance.
If you’re keen to commit—and say au revoir to unwanted bumps and persistent spots—then listen up and take notes. There are three simple steps that will get you on the way to smooth, clear skin: exfoliating, tightening and hydrating. But why? Below, we run through why those steps can help lessen the appearance and texture of keratosis pilaris.
When it comes to managing KP, arguably the most important step that you should never skip out on is exfoliation. Not only does it help to prepare the skin for the upcoming vital steps, but if you find yourself skipping the exfoliation period, then the rest won’t be nearly as effective as it should be.
As for what you should be using to exfoliate, the options are almost endless. You could opt for more traditional methods like a loofa or exfoliating glove. But if those feel too harsh for your skin, then try reaching for something less abrasive but still effective, like a body scrub.
When you hop into the shower, apply a body scrub or start using your loofa/exfoliating glove on wet skin and buff the areas where your KP lives. All that’s needed are a few circular buffs, there’s no need to be aggressive and over-buff, because it could leave you with irritated skin and microabrasions.
Shop our favourite body exfoliators below.
Brown Sugar Body Polish by fresh, $56 at Sephora.
Bath Gloves, $9 at The Body Shop.
Sugar Crush Body Scrub by Soap & Glory, $16 at MECCA.
Once you’ve exfoliated, it’s time to start introducing chemical components to deep clean, exfoliate and tighten pores. The easiest, most convenient way to do so is through your body wash.
When hunting for a body wash to beat KP, look for products containing alpha and beta hydroxy acids (AHAs and BHAs). When flicking through the product description, also keep an eye out for offerings that include lactic, salicylic or glycolic acid to help smooth skin.
Both hydroxy acids work as chemical exfoliants that help to remove dead skin cells from the skin’s top layer. For some, they find that AHAs and BHAs also have anti-ageing effects by smoothing fine lines and improving texture.
So, when you’ve finished physically exfoliating, wash with one of these body washes as a chemical exfoliant and feel the difference in skin texture.
Shop our favourite chemical exfoliant body washes below.
AHA Botanical Body Soap by Mario Badescu, $12 at MECCA.
Weightless Body Treatment with 2% BHA, $41 at Paula’s Choice.
AHA Smoothing Body Cleanser by Revolution Skincare, $12 at Adore Beauty.
When it comes to beating KP, a long game is a good game. One of the most important rules is to make sure your skin stays hydrated. Basically, the role of making sure you moisturise is to keep your skin soft and hydrated, not only from the KP but from the physical and chemical exfoliation.
But which moisturisers should you be using? Opt for products with either more chemical exfoliating properties (i.e. AHAs and BHAs) or with a deeply hydrating chemical makeup, like ceramides.
When you’ve come out of the shower, simply apply your moisturiser to your entire body with a particular focus on your areas with KP.
If you’re about to start tackling KP, try this three-step method once a week and monitor for any irritation. If your skin is enjoying your remedy, then up the ante to a few times a week.
Shop our favourite body moisturisers below.
KP Smoothing Body Lotion by First Aid Beauty, $43 at Sephora.
AHA Smart Renewal Body Serum by REN Clean Skincare, $62 at MECCA.
SA Smoothing Cream by CeraVe, $18.99 at Chemist Warehouse.