Keratosis pilaris: This is what causes those little red dots on your skin

Ever noticed patches of small red spots, more or less rough, on your skin? Don't panic, it's nothing serious! We'll tell you exactly what they are.

Keratosis pilaris
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Keratosis pilaris

Although those little red spots on the skin, otherwise known as keratosis pilaris, may be making you feel self-conscious, fret not, they are not as serious as one might think.

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What is keratosis pilaris?

This skin condition stems from too much keratin being produced. Keratin is a type of protein that makes up our hair, skin and nails. So in theory, it is a very good thing that our bodies produce this protein, but as always, too much of a good thing is a bad thing.

According to the NHS:

Keratosis pilaris happens when your hair follicles become blocked with a build-up of keratin.

Specialists don't exactly know why keratin builds up, but it tends to be more common in young women with white skin, and it is said to run in families. It can also be more pronounced in winter, due to the cold and friction of clothing.

You should know that keratosis pilaris is not infectious.

Small, painless bumps on your skin Getty Images

How do you get rid of keratosis pilaris?

Unfortunately, keratosis pilaris cannot be completely eradicated. It is often your body that takes care of it: indeed, as we age, we naturally produce less keratin. But if this is a problem for you at the moment, there are simple methods to reduce it. The NHS recommends:

  • Keep your skin moisturized
  • Use mild and unperfumed soaps and bathing products
  • Gently scrub your skin with a washcloth or exfoliating mitt
  • Have cool or lukewarm showers and baths
  • Pat your skin dry instead of rubbing it after washing
What your skin is trying to tell you about your body What your skin is trying to tell you about your body