Keratosis Pilaris Treatment Using Coconut Oil

Life with KP can be stressful, especially as summer approaches. Here's a natural way to treat your Keratosis Pilaris with coconut oil.

Keratosis Pilaris Treatment Using Coconut Oil

Contents

  1. What is keratosis pilaris?
  2. What are the signs of keratosis pilaris?
  3. What are the causes of keratosis pilaris alba?
  4. How is keratosis pilaris alba usually treated?
  5. Coconut oil and keratosis peralis
  6. The benefits of coconut oil
  7. Is coconut oil effective in treating keratosis pilaris?
  8. Things to remember when using coconut oil to treat keratosis pilaris
  9. Coconut oil exfoliant for keratosis pilaris
  10. Coconut oil moisturizer for keratosis pilaris
  11. Coconut oil with apple cider vinegar for keratosis pilaris
  12. Coconut oil body butter for keratosis pilaris
  13. Ingesting coconut oil for keratosis pilaris
  14. Things to remember when treating keratosis pilaris

What is keratosis pilaris?

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Keratosis Pilaris, also known as keratosis pilaris alba, pronounced ker-uh-TOE-sis pih-LAIR-is, is a relatively harmless skin disease in that it's not contagious. It's not painful, and it doesn't typically itch. Keratosis pelaris alba causes rough, dry patches and small bumps that usually appear on the upper arms, butt, thighs, and cheeks. It's not curable or preventable but it is treatable, and KP usually goes away by age 30. Keratosis pilaris can also appear on your face and can sometimes be accompanied by redness or swelling of affected areas.

Anyone can get keratosis pilaris. It is a skin condition that is really common in children and adolescents, but it is also seen in many adults. Females may be affected more frequently than males. Keratosis pilaris typically begins within the first 10 years of a person's life and may get worse during puberty. However, keratosis pilaris can start at any age. Keratosis pilaris seems to be inherited and has commonly been seen in twins. Keratosis pilaris is also seen in people with atopic dermatitis and people with dehydrated skin.

What are the signs of keratosis pilaris?

Keratosis pilaris alba is pretty common in young children, but it can happen at any age. If you start to notice things like tiny bumps on your thighs, upper arms, butt or cheeks that do not hurt; dry skin that is rough; bumps that start to resemble goose flesh — all of which seems to get worse when the weather gets colder, then you may have KP.

It is rare for keratosis pilaris to occur all over the body. The bumps found with keratosis pilaris most often involve the back of the upper arms, but other familiar locations include the back, thighs, buttocks and occasionally the face. It does not affect the eyes, mouth, palms, or soles.

Typically, people with keratosis pilaris have skin with a scattered, patchy rash composed of tiny red or tan bumps. Often, anywhere from 10 to hundreds of tiny slightly rough bumps can be scattered in one area at a time. The affected area may have a fine, sandpaper-like texture. Some of the bumps may be slightly red or have a light-red halo indicating inflammation. Sometimes, there's a small, coiled hair is that becomes trapped beneath one of the rough bumps. People with keratosis pilaris may notice a rough texture and an irregular appearance of the skin. Their cheeks may appear pink, red, flushed, and be studded with very small bumps.

Other medical conditions can look like keratosis pilaris. Keratosis pilaris may mimic acne, milia, folliculitis, eczema, atopic dermatitis, facial rosacea, or just plain old dry skin. Keratosis pilaris may also resemble uncommon skin conditions like lichen spinulosus, pityriasis rubra pilaris, phrynoderma (vitamin A deficiency), ulerythema ophryogenes, ichthyosis vulgaris, eruptive vellus hair cysts, keratosis follicularis (Darier disease), Kyrle disease, lichen nitidus, lichen spinulosus, perforating folliculitis, and trichostasis spinulosa. If you're not sure that you have keratosis pilaris, consult with a doctor. You may have it, or one of these other conditions that are very similar to KP.

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What are the causes of keratosis pilaris alba?

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Keratosis pilaris alba is caused by a buildup of a protein called keratin. Keratin is a protein that keeps the skin safe against infections and harmful substances. Sometimes, the keratin creates a scaly plug that blocks the opening of the hair follicle. These rough bumps are actually plugs of dead skin cells. The plugs appear most often on the upper arms and thighs. Children may have these bumps on their cheeks. Rather than one plug forming, multiple plugs form, creating the clusters of dry, rough, and bumpy skin. There's no answer as to why this buildup occurs, but some believe that it could happen in connection with other skin conditions or genetic diseases.

There seems to be a problem with overproduction of the keratin part of the skin producing "hyperkeratinization." The majority of people with keratosis pilaris have family members with it, and thus are genetically predisposed. Keratosis pilaris can be present with ichthyosis vulgaris, dry skin, seasonal inhalant allergies (hay fever), rhinitis, asthma, eczema, and atopic dermatitis.

The bumps in keratosis pilaris seem to happen because of the excessive accumulation of keratin from the superficial layer of skin at individual hair follicles. When doctors examined the skin of a person with keratosis pilaris, they noticed that the skin demonstrates mild thickening and perforation of the hair follicle. They also noticed that the upper skin layers had some dilation of the small superficial blood vessels, giving the skin a red or flushed appearance.

How is keratosis pilaris alba usually treated?

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Typically, creams with acids such as hydroxy acid, lactic acid, salicylic acid are used in the treatment of keratosis pilaris alba, because they tend to remove the dead skin cells. These not only remove the dead skin cells, but they moisturize the skin. However, they can't be used in children because they tend to cause redness, stinging or skin irritation. There are other creams used for treatment, that don't contain acid and that come from Vitamin A, known as topical retinoids. These promote cell turnover and prevent hair follicles from plugging. The problem with these is that they can cause your skin to dry out even more, and can cause skin irritation. It also isn't recommended for pregnant women and women who are nursing.

Treating dry skin rather than trying to focus on treating the keratosis itself often helps. Dry skin can also make these bumps more noticeable. A lot of people say that the bumps tend to clear during the summer only to return in the winter. If you decide not to treat these bumps and live in a dry climate or frequently swim in a pool, you may see these bumps year round.

Coconut oil and keratosis peralis

As stated in the last section, there are so many issues that come up when using a chemical-filled cream as a treatment for keratosis pilaris. Children can't use these to find relief because of the awful reactions, and the same is the case with pregnant women. Coconut oil, on the other hand, is excellent for the treatment of KP. It does not contain any harmful chemicals, and it is a great moisturizer. Coconut allergies are so very rare, meaning that there is a meager chance that someone would react to it. The oil contains a safe and healthy acid that can do the same thing as the chemical filled creams, and break down layers of keratin and dead skin cells all while leaving your skin feeling moisturized and hydrated.

The benefits of coconut oil

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Coconut oil is completely natural and has proven health benefits. It poses no danger to your skin or overall health. You're not exposing your skin to harsh chemicals, preservatives, or any other items that could prove harmful. A lot of people use it to cook with, as it is a healthier alternative to butter and other oils. Women of color use it as a way to help moisturize their hair. Many people use it as a natural makeup remover. Coconut oil does not clog your pores and leaves your skin moisturized and healthy. It’s very affordable, and you can put it on your skin, or you can eat it plain, use it to cook with or put it in coffee and smoothies. Since the oil is very mild, it can be used by people of all skin types. This isn't just some home remedy that works for some and not others. Coconut oil has multiple benefits and has been proven to improve health for everyone.

Coconut oil contains lauric acid, which is a saturated fat. Lauric acid is used in the treatment of viral infections like the swine flu, avian flu, and your standard influenza. It has also been used to treat colds, blisters, cold sores, herpes, and genital warts, bronchitis, gonorrhea, yeast infections, chlamydia, intestinal infections caused by a parasite called Giardia lamblia, ringworm, and has also been used to prevent the transmission of HIV from mothers to their children. Coconut oil also contains vitamin E, which is essential for the health and radiance of your skin. Vitamin E prevents the skin from drying out and cracking by repairing the skin and moisturizing it, making it smooth and clear. Coconut oil has a high protein content, which helps to mend damaged cells and tissues in the skin.

Is coconut oil effective in treating keratosis pilaris?

A lot of people have cited positive experiences with using coconut oil as a treatment for keratosis pilaris alba. This seems to one of the most effective and highest praised ways to treat it. You don't only treat your keratosis when you use coconut oil — you're treating various issues in your body that you may not even be aware of. The build-up of your skin causes clogged hair follicles. These clogged hair follicles result in what people call "chicken skin," or the bumpy dry skin, as well as inflammation. Fatty acids in coconut oil help reduce inflammation.

Coconut oil contains lauric acid, which helps in breaking up the build-up of keratin. Keratin is a major cause of keratosis pelaris as it clogs the hair follicles, causing those small, rough bumps to form. Since coconut oil is rich in both antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, it is super efficient in treating any present cases of keratosis pilaris, and in preventing the occurrence of keratosis pilaris in the future. The oil plays a huge part in soothing any underlying inflammations on the skin, reducing redness, as well as sanitizing and moisturizing the skin. Coconut oil works so well because it is highly capable of penetrating deep into the skin, allowing it to be able to treat and heal the keratosis pilaris from the inside.

Things to remember when using coconut oil to treat keratosis pilaris

Make sure that you're exfoliating your skin regularly. One of the reasons why people get keratosis pilaris is because the dead skin cells don't shed off, so you need to do something to get rid of that buildup. Try to use a natural loofah to lather up the virgin coconut oil when taking a shower, or try using a coconut oil scrub. Sugar scrubs are easy to make and are a great remedy for keratosis pilaris. Sugar is a natural glycolic acid, and when paired with coconut oil, you get both the exfoliating and healing benefits at the same time.

Be mindful of your diet — making sure that you're eating healthy foods. Try staying away from foods that contain trans fats. Trans fats tend to appear in hydrogenated oils and margarine. Instead of using a hydrogenated oil or margarine, opt for coconut oil. It has no trans fats and is a really good, cheap alternative to those less healthy fats.

When you shower, your pores open up, allowing the coconut oil to penetrate deep into your skin and moisture it. Make sure that you're using some form of coconut oil each time you shower. Make sure you also moisturize with the oil after each shower. Coconut oil is a really good natural moisturizer. You can apply a small amount of coconut oil to your damp skin and rub it in, wiping away any excess oil if you feel like you need to.

Coconut oil is super dynamic as it can be used in nourishing hair, preparing food, and treating skin. When you're looking to treat your keratosis pilaris, you can either do it topically or internally. A lot of people are familiar with and use the topical application. Here are a few ways you can use coconut oil to treat your keratosis, both topically and internally.

Coconut oil exfoliant for keratosis pilaris

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You can use coconut oil as an all-natural exfoliant by turning it into a sugar scrub. All you need are white or brown sugar and coconut oil. To create more of a paste than a scrub, you can use honey as well. This process can be repeated twice a week until you get the desired results.

Step One: Add two tablespoons of the coconut oil and two tablespoons of the sugar to a bowl. If you're using honey, add a spoonful of that to the bowl as well. Mix.

Step Two: Apply the mixture to your skin and gently scrub for about 10 to 15 minutes and then wash it off with water.

Coconut oil moisturizer for keratosis pilaris

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The most common way to use coconut oil in the treatment of keratosis pilaris is by applying it directly to the skin.

Step One: Make sure you exfoliate your skin in the shower before applying the coconut oil, which ensures that the area is clean, and that the dead skin cells have been removed.

Step Two: If the coconut oil is solid let it warm up in your hands before applying it to your skin. Gently message the oil onto the infected area for about a minute, which ensures that the oil has been well distributed and has had a chance to penetrate into the skin.

Coconut oil with apple cider vinegar for keratosis pilaris

This is similar to the first method, but with the inclusion of apple cider vinegar. A lot of people find this method to be a little more effective because of the antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. You will need coconut oil, unfiltered apple cider vinegar, and honey.

Step One: Mix equal parts of the coconut oil, vinegar and honey together in a bowl until it reaches a lotion like consistency.

Step Two: Exfoliate the skin, ensuring a clean canvas.

Step Three: After exfoliating, moisturize the affected areas with the coconut oil, vinegar and honey mixture for about twenty minutes.

Step Four: Wash the areas off with cold water.

Coconut oil body butter for keratosis pilaris

The mixture of shea butter and coconut oil help to moisturize, soothe and sanitize dry skin, while also preventing the formation of bumps. You will need coconut oil, shea butter, liquid vitamin E, and essential oil (optional).

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Step One: Whip two spoons of coconut oil, one spoon of shea butter, a teaspoon of liquid vitamin E, and a couple of drops of essential oil (if using) until it forms a smooth, light consistency.

Step Two: Apply to the areas affected by the keratosis pilaris. You may leave it on for up to an hour.

Step Three: Wash it off in the shower.

Ingesting coconut oil for keratosis pilaris

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Incorporating coconut oil into your daily diet actually works by helping the keratosis pilaris from the inside out. You will notice improvements to your keratosis, as well as to your overall health. There are two ways to ingest the coconut oil.

Option One: You can consume the coconut oil by taking a teaspoon of it daily. Make sure that you're taking unrefined, virgin coconut oil. You can slowly raise the quantity ingested up to two tablespoons twice a day. Make sure that you are increasing the amount consumed at a pace that is comfortable for you. Allow your body to get used to taking the coconut oil before increasing the amount ingested. You can also do something called coconut pulling, which is when you take some coconut oil and swish it around your mouth each day. Try to push the oil through your teeth, and don't add any liquid to your mouth or to the oil to make it easier to move around if it is not in liquid form.

If you'd like to try coconut oil pulling, here's what you need to do: Don't brush your teeth when you first wake up. Instead, take a tablespoon of coconut oil and swish it around your mouth for about fifteen minutes. The taste and texture bothers a lot of people, so if it bothers you or you think it may, you can try adding xylitol and lemon essential oil (which also adds extra pathogen fighting power). Make sure when you're done you spit out the coconut oil into the garbage and not down a drain. Coconut oil solidifies and could clog drains. When you're done you brush your teeth and go about your day.

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Option Two: You can cook with it. Replacing coconut oil with your normal cooking oil or butter, will also help to improve your keratosis from the inside out, and is a better option if you're weary about ingesting straight coconut oil. You can put it in your coffee (yes, I know it sounds weird), but it's good for you and it actually tastes pretty good too. If you have smoothies in the morning, you can add a bit to your smoothie.

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Things to remember when treating keratosis pilaris

No matter how much oil you apply, the outcome will be the same. Using a giant handful of coconut oil in one area will not speed up the healing process or reduce visibility any more than it would if you used a normal amount. In the winter time, when skin is especially dry, it may be necessary to use a bit more. People notice results as soon as three days after application. The first thing they notice is a reduction in the appearance of redness and the size of the bumps. You may notice a drastic difference after three weeks, with the bumps being barely visible, and your rough, dry skin is restored to its smooth and radiant state.

Try to cut down on dairy if you're trying to treat your keratosis. Dairy contributes to inflammation, so if you're trying to heal your KP, but you're eating dairy, it's kind of counterproductive. Try not to use any harsh items like loofas in the affected areas. Make sure you apply a little bit of coconut oil to the affected regions, no matter which method from above you're using. Vitamin D plays a huge role in helping your keratosis pilaris, so try to regularly expose yourself to sunlight. You can do this by going outside and walking around for about half an hour each day, or you can sit outside and take a sunbath (use sunscreen!!).

Always make sure you are using virgin, organic or cold pressed coconut oil to help in keeping your skin moisturized. Don't use any skin care products, soaps or lotions that cite harsh chemicals as ingredients, or that have artificial perfume, mineral oils, or that contain petroleum as a base. Instead, try buying coconut oil based skin care products like lotions, creams, and moisturizers, in place of your usual items. If you don't want to make your own coconut-based products, you can look for coconut oil skin care products like Nubian heritage coconut and papaya soap, pure Fiji spa coconut sugar scrub, Nutiva organic extra virgin coconut oil, or organic Fiji sugar polish.

Omega-3 deficiency has also been cited as a cause behind keratosis pilaris. Try to take a fish oil supplement to make sure that your body is getting the needed nutrients. Stay away from wheat and dairy products, as consuming these could aggravate your keratosis pilaris symptoms. Try eating foods that are low on the glycemic index. Incorporate healthy food into your diet. Eat foods that are rich in vitamins. Consume a lot of green leafy vegetables, fresh fruits, cold water fish, and nuts.

When you exfoliate or wash the areas of your skin affected by the keratosis, remember not to put excessive pressure on the skin because it will just cause the keratosis to worsen, and it creates more inflammation as well as irritation. Make sure that you are patting the affected area dry, rather than rubbing, and use a soft, clean towel or washcloth. Do not use any pieces of cloth that have a rough texture.

Writer

Chelsea S
Hi! My name is Chelsea, and I’m currently in school for journalism. My two passions in life are writing and music. My end-goal is to combine the two and create my own music news website. My goal is to have a music news website like Pitchfork or Complex’s Pigeons and Planes.