Dermatology/Keratosis Pilaris

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QUESTION: Hello Doctor Fisher, I am a 21 year old male from England. I have a question regarding the skin disorder keratosis pilaris, of which I have been a sufferer these past five years. I understand the condition has become increasingly common in recent decades and, like many other sufferers I have been told it is a very under funded subject of research and there is currently no effective treatment, let alone cure.
Having done some research on my own I see that the condition, like most undesirable traits, is genetically dominant. My question is, since it is dominant and has been spreading rapidly, won't it eventually become the default condition of the skin of every person on earth? This question could of course be extended to any other undesirable yet dominant genetic trait.

Thank you for your time!

ANSWER: 1
Use an ammonium lactate cream. You can get a prescription for this medication from your doctor. This lotion should smooth and soften the rough patches as well as treat the tiny bumps caused by
2
Apply a retinoid cream, like Tretinoin, to troubled spots. This is another prescription medication that can be used on keratosis pilaris. Do not use in conjunction with any ammonium lactate cream, both medications should be employed separately.

3
Use a gentle cleanser on the affected areas. Soaps and exfoliants can exacerbate and irritate patches of keratosis pilaris, so try to use a gentle cleanser that is free of perfumes like Dove soap

4
Start using a lactic acid lotion. You won't need a prescription to use this type of product, and it can be used as an adjunct treatment to medicated creams. What a lactic acid lotion will do is remove excess protein from your skin, which will aid in softening these trouble areas.

5
Moisturize your skin. Since the roughness or coarseness of skin is essentially dry, you should use a moisturizer daily. This can be used in conjunction with prescription lotions.

You are correct. Eventually everyone will have keratosis Pilaris

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: That's quite a lot of advice, I wasn't really expecting so much. I do already use Dove soap though. I have asthma, eczema and severe allergies as well, and apparently they all come together as a horrendous package deal.

If it's true that everyone will eventually be afflicted with this awful condition, why has there been so little interest in the research and study of keratosis pilaris? It may not be life threatening but for some of us it certainly is life ruining. This would also have dire implications for the international cosmetics industry, so I would be extremely surprised if they have not been funding research into this condition.

Answer
Right now about 40% of the population have keratosis Pilaris. However, some of these cases are very mild. Thus, most people are not that worried about keratosis Pilaris and the pharm companies believe that they could not make enough money to produce a product that would treat keratosis Pilaris.

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Michael S. Fisher, <B>Ph.D., M.D.</B>

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