Keratosis Pilaris Remedies

| Modified on Feb 20, 2018
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Discover Keratosis Pilaris treatment using inexpensive natural cures like apple cider vinegar, coconut oil, goat’s milk, coconut milk and borage oil. Although this can be been a frustrating condition to have and to cure, keratosis pilaris can be cured naturally.  Another bit of good news about keratosis pilaris is that it is usually gone before someone reaches the age of 30.

What Is Keratosis Pilaris?

A fairly common condition, keratosis pilaris affects the skin, causing rough patches and small, acne-like bumps, typically on the arms, thighs, cheeks and buttocks. Unlike typical acne, however, keratosis pilaris bumps are usually white and rarely red. The condition generally does not itch or hurt but can be difficult to treat. Inflammation, redness and scarring may occur.

Keratosis pilaris can occur at any age, yet it is most common in young children and typically disappears after age 30. This condition tends to appear worse  in the winter. Because keratosis pilaris may resemble goose or chicken flesh, it sometimes goes by the unfortunate name of "chicken skin".

What Causes Keratosis Pelasis?

Keratosis Pelasis is caused by a buildup of keratin, a protein that forms to protect the skin from infection and foreign substances. However, when too much keratin develops, a scaly plug forms that blocks the opening of the hair follicle. As several plugs form, rough, bumpy skin is often the result. The exact reason for the buildup of keratin is unknown, but it may be linked to genetic disease, another skin condition or dry skin.

Natural Treatments for Keratosis Pilaris

While most cases of keratosis pilaris resolve naturally, treatment can shorten the duration of the condition. Keratosis pilaris treatment often requires the application of topical treatments including apple cider vinegar amd coconut oil. Fish oil and borage oil are other useful home remedies. Dietary changes such as avoiding dairy and drinking raw green juices may also be tried.

Apple Cider Vinegar and Virgin Coconut Oil

When used as topical treatments, ACV and coconut oil have been successful in treating keratosis pilaris.

Dietary Changes

Some feel that keratosis pilaris reflects an intolerance for animal proteins and casein, found in dairy products.  It will require trial-and-error testing to determine which food(s) are causing the problem. Juicing raw, organic, green leafy vegetables is recommended.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Fish oil supplements have been a successful cure.  Other sources of omega-3 fatty acids are sprouted chia and flax seeds and black cumin seeds and oils.  Borage is very good for the skin in general; it has omega-6 fatty acids and is included with fish oil in some supplements.

Additional treatment options include MSM, DMSO and aspirin applied to the site of the condition. Continue reading below for more many detailed tips from Earth Clinic readers.

Apple Cider Vinegar

8 User Reviews
5 star (8) 

Posted by Tms (Stone Wall, Never Land ) on 06/12/2013

Yesterday I read about putting ACV on your arms for Keratosis Pilaris. So last night I mixed up some ACV and water, exfoliated my arms well and then put it on. It burned my arms, and just made them more red. I have a moderate/severe case of it, and I really want it to go away. Is the burning/initial redness normal? I know I've only done it once, but I'm wondering if it will eventually help. I'm also drinking an ACV/baking soda/water mix. I want to wear a dress in 2 days and I need my arms to look better. HELP! PLEASE!

Replied by Chad

Apple cider vinegar and bentonite clay have been like a miracle for my bumpy arms. Cured in less than two applications. I maintain with 1 /wk applications.

Replied by Lesley
(Hesperia, Ca)

In response to the girl who said she exfoliated her arms before using ACV----- you should never use any type of abrasive scrub on your arms. Only Glycolic Acids (like fish oil supplements ).... And ALAs as gentle peels. Never use vinegar on sensitive skin...

Replied by Jay

Hi Chad, what was your measurements- clay and apple cider vinegar?

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Len D (Toronto, Ontario, Canada) on 01/26/2012

Just had to write: I was doing some research on what was causing crusty white patches on my hands. I find out it was solar keratosis (too much time spent in the sun).

Anyways, I found this apple cider vinegar (ACV) site and discussions regarding "healthy skin" and decided to give it a try. Got some apple cider vinegar and started to drink it with 1 tsp in 1 cup of water and started sipping during the day. I noticed three days later, the keratosis spots had diminished by 80%. They are now just light brown spots that resemble skin (and not crusts). I'm a believer.

The only caution I have is after every sip I rinse with clear water. The apple cider vinegar (being acidic) and teeth don't play nice together.

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Vocrc (Sacramento, California) on 07/06/2011
5 out of 5 stars

I have used the recipe mentioned:

4 oz of organic coconot oil
1 table spoon of soy lecithin (emulsifier)
4 oz of organic apple cider vinegar

It has worked very well for me. I found the Coconut oil and ACV at Trader Joe's. I bought the soy lecithin at a vitamin store near my house. All the products cost me about $15. I melted the coconut oil in the microwave. 4oz is about 1/2 a cup. I mixed the products and left it in a plastic container under my bathroom sink. After I shower I use a cotton ball to apply the mixture to my skin. If it is relatively warm in your home the mixture will not solidify- otherwise you may have to throw it in the microwave for a few seconds to make it a liquid again. It will smell (due to ACV) until it dries and then the smell goes away. I use this every morning and the Keratosis behind my legs has vastly improved! You do not need to moisturize afterwards because the coconut oil hydrates your skin. Good luck...

Replied by Happylittle Helen
(Norfolk, Uk)
5 out of 5 stars

I am using the remedy on one arm and not the other as an experiment and am noticing a difference after only 24 hours so am very hopeful this will be my saving grace! Thank you for the recipe.

One point to make however is DO NOT microwave coconut oil! It is full of electrolytes and will cause severe arcing in the microwave.

Replied by Mary
(Quebec, Canada)

Im considering trying this recipe. I've had KP on my arms and legs for as long as I can remember. I was just wondering if it comes back after you stop applying? Or does it have to be applied continuously?

Replied by Mike
(Dallas, Tx)

Are you supposed to wash off this mixture after a few minutes or leave it? It is very oily

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Susan (Stroudsburg, Pa) on 01/26/2009
5 out of 5 stars

I too had a lifetime of "chicken skin" as its called on the back of my arms. I read here about the ACV and coconut oil. I was worried about your ingredients mix, as I thought I would smell like ACV if I applied it. So I take an empty and cleaned hand soap container, fill it with [...] Raw ACV and keep it in the shower. I wash my arms with the ACV. When I exit the shower I put organic extra virgin coconut oil (unrefined, unbleached) on my arms straight out of the container as a lotion. I now am constantly rubbing my SMOOTH ARMS, just feel to them, as I never had them without bumps before. It's a great feeling, and I will not be embarrassed to wear short sleeves anymore.

Replied by Celina
(Aliso Viejo, California USA)

When using ACV in the shower, how long do you leave it on? Also, do you wash with soap or do you just rinse with water?

Replied by Dazy
(Harwich, Ma)

I can't wait to try this. I'm also a believer in mind/body connection. Louise Hay suggests that skin problems are connected to anxiety, fear, old buried guck, being threatened. It is curious that my KP didn't flare up until I entered a new situation in life which provoked fear/anxiety. Looking forward to trying the remedy in conjunction with positive affirmation (and addressing the situation). Will report back on my progress.

Replied by H-town Kr
(Houston, Texas)

A better remedy to get rid of the bumps and to not deal with the smell of ACV is to exfoliate everyday. Get a natural loofah and buy an exfoliating gel or liquid soap (one that has oatmeal or walnut bits in it) and exfoliate in the shower daily. You will need to scrub well and it will be a bit rough on your skin. Apply non scented lotion afterward to soothe your skin. If you do this daily, your KR will improve. It will take at least a month to notice the difference but it really works. I've had KR for over 20 years.

Replied by Loubuggly
(Zanesville, Ohio)

I have been told by my derm that I have severe KP on my face, neck, legs and stomach. Even water irritates it if the water isn't dried fast. I find that vinegar helps a little, but irritates my KP. If your skin isn't extremely sensitive, I would suggest trying this remedy.

Replied by Mommy Of E
(Three Rivers, Mi)

My daughter is 14 months old and started developing these bumps that her pediatrician diagnosed as Keratosis Pilaris when she was around 7.5 months old. Now it covers her legs, is on her arms, and lightly on her cheeks. I switched her to a paraben free bath soap and at first I was trying an ezcema lotion, which had some success in keeping it at bay. Then my sister read that it was possibly an omega 3 deficiency so I stopped the ezcema lotion and we tried an omega 3 infant vitamin. No success there. It actually just continued to get worse. We then tried a calamine cortizone cream because my sister said it helped her skin. Still no luck, but that one was just a test, as I didn't figure it would help since it dries the skin instead of moisturizing.

We are now on day 5 of coconut oil. I wasn't sure about application, and I don't give her daily baths, so I either apply it when she gets out of the bath or before bed. So far it doesn't seem to be working, but I'll keep at it for a few weeks to see. If it doesn't help then I was going to try the AV. My only concern is how to apply that to her when she is in the bath. Should I put it on and rinse her off right before she is about to get out? Then put the coconut oil on? And does this have to be done daily? Because daily baths are honestly a pain and I figured they'd just dry her skin more. But if I have to start giving her daily baths to rid her of this then I will.

I also just wanted to say that, for her at least, there's not a possibility that she has this due to anxiety or stress as she is just a baby, nor is it caused by laundry detergant. No, we haven't switched detergants, but all summer long she has been in a onsie or sundress, shorts and T shirt, and her trunk does not have KP at all. It is her arms and legs and cheeks, which are not subject to clothing with detergant chemicals on it that have KP. And it has just continued to get worse over the summer, even though some say it goes away/gets better in the summer.

I hope you all find what works best and that I can figure out what works for my little girl!

(Tulsa, Ok)

I hate to say this but birth is very traumatic and yes, babies have stress. Source - I work in Mental Health.

Replied by Jenny
(Gotenburg, Sweden)

I had the very same problem with my two toddlers. It went away when I started to give them cod liver oil.

Your daughter could have a vitamin A or K2 deficiency which becomes worsen when the vitamin D levels gets to high during summer. This since they're often used together. You could try giving her more egg yolks, fish and butter or feed her cod liver oil or other suplement. You can read more about the issue if you google Chris Cresser.
Good luck

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Elaine (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) on 07/05/2007
5 out of 5 stars

I have Keratosis Pilaris and I have read on how ACV can help this condition I have. I have tried oil pulling with sunflower oil for the last 3 months but I dont see much improvement with my keratosis condition. However, having tried applying ACV on my skin for only the last 3 days I can see improvements already! However, I need to know what is the RIGHT way of consuming ACV for health benefits, be it for skin conditions or even for weight loss. There seems to be too many methods of consuming ACV here, so Im kinda confused :( Thanks!

Replied by TK
5 out of 5 stars

I was so glad I found this.. I have really bad KP.. I have taken what I have read here and taken it a step further by creating my own creme and WOWOWOWOWOW. my skin is sooo smoooooth. I cannot believe it.. I could cry! To know that this is so simple and has been here all this time.. ok here goes:

4 oz of organic cold press coconot oil
1 table spoon of soy lecithin (emulsifier)
4 oz of organic apple cider vinegar

I warm a sterilized pan and melt coconut oil, add soy lecithin and then vinegar then I whip it up into a smooth creme then cool and bottle it up.. I have been using now for 4 days.. I am so impressed!

Replied by Jenna
(Kansas City, KS)

The question I have is in response to the recipe to treat kerotosis pilaris by using coconut oil, soy lecithin, and ACV. I made the recipe but was not sure how often to apply it and if it should be stored at room temp or in the fridge. Also, it has a strong odor so should this just be applied in the evening? Please respond. Thank you.

Replied by Lasvegaslady
(Las Vegasw, Nv, Usa)
5 out of 5 stars

I've been reading for hours on different remedies for different ailments I have. This one in particular caught my eye. I was diagnosed with keratosis pilaris over 10 years ago by a dermatologist who said there was nothing he or I could do about it. Stated it was "just something some women get" and that it was tied to hormones. He gave me a lotion-type prescription to use to make my skin not-so-bumpy, but it didn't work. I bought some products from a website that touted they could get rid of "chicken bumps". Initially I did feel and see a slight difference, but it didn't last. I was so self conscious about the way my arms looked and felt. It was so bad that whenever anyone touched my arms, they would always think I was cold and would try to rub them more to warm me up. To get over that, I stopped wearing short sleeved shirts, even when it was 100 degrees outside! Anyway, I tried this recipe and I PROMISE you it WORKS!!! The very next day after I made and applied the mixture, my arms felt smooth and touchable. Everyday when I get out of the shower, I spray on the mixture (I keep it in a small spray bottle) and rub it into my skin. I've been following this regimine for about a month now and I don't even notice the ACV smell. While my upper arms still look "bumpy", they feel totally smooth to the touch. I'm so glad I read this article and took a chance on trying the home remedy. Its summer time in Las Vegas, and I was burning up wearing my long-sleeved shirts... Now I have no problem going sleeveless again!!!

Replied by Tvm
(Deltona, Fl)

Hello LasVegas Lady! I have tried the ACV and have not seen any improvement in my KP. I also use the virgin coconut oil too and still have these pesky bumps on the back of my arms. I have been daily commited to the regimen for approx 3 weeks now and it almost seems like it's getting worse! Please share how exactly your routine is so that I can enjoy bump free arms, too! Thanks so much! :o)

Replied by Renee
(Chicago, Il)

Hi, Juan, I'm of fair complexion with dry, sensitive skin so have suffered with keratoses pilaris, eczema, cracked skin on hands during winter and various rashes at different times in my life. I've found that when my diet is clean (free from foods and beverages high in fat, additives and preservatives) my skin tends to be clear also. I supplement my diet with a probiotic in capsule form daily, which also seems to help prevent colds and gastro-intestinal maladies by boosting the immune system through balance of the intestinal flora and keeping yeast (fungus) in check. I also use ginger, chili powder, cumin, turmeric, garlic and onion regularly in my cooking. When I was in my twenties, I went for a series of 11 colonics over ten weeks. I was amazed that the keratosis pilaris on my buttocks had completely disappeared and my skin, as smooth as silk. It was clear that the detoxification of my system through the colonic regimen had created the desired effect. Hope this helps!

Replied by Maz
(Milford, Michigan)

What type of soy lecithin do I need? I have found it in granules. Will this work?

Replied by Seth
(Redwood City, Ca)

Does this remedy also remove the appearance of red bumps or does it only smooth out the skin?

Replied by Seth

Did this remove the redness to or just smooth out the bumps?

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Julie (Sacramento, CA, USA) on 04/19/2007
5 out of 5 stars

I have had keratosis pilaris for many years. I tried apple cider vinegar as suggested and I am amazed at the results. Its only been 4 days and the Keratosis is 80% gone. I also noticed that Im not having spastic colon episodes and for the first time in years I am not needed a sleeping pill to get to sleep. I do have a question if you can kindly answer..Is putting vinegar on food (i.e. popcorn) as helpful as drinking it??

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Julie (Sacramento, CA, USA) on 04/19/2007
5 out of 5 stars

I have had keratosis pilaris for many years. I tried apple cider vinegar as suggested and I am amazed at the results. Its only been 4 days and the Keratosis is 80% gone. I also noticed that Im not having spastic colon episodes and for the first time in years I am not needed a sleeping pill to get to sleep. I do have a question if you can kindly answer..Is putting vinegar on food (i.e. popcorn) as helpful as drinking it??

Borage Oil

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Daisy (Auckland, New Zealand) on 09/23/2012
5 out of 5 stars

borage oil has been helpful... Think it helps to cut out dairy as well - which I shall be doing. borage oil is GLA (omega 6) if you can't get borage oil, evening primrose oil is also GLA (omega 6).

Castile or Goat Milk Soap

2 User Reviews
5 star (1) 
1 star (1) 

Posted by Lisa (Columbus, Oh) on 04/22/2010
5 out of 5 stars

For Keratosis Pilaris I have discovered that washing with castile soaps with a loofa works wonderfully. I've been using this soap for a few months now and the bumps on my arms almost gone. I have also used soaps made with goat's milk and they work very well also, but for me the castile soaps seem to work a little better. Rinsing in a little bit of cooler temperature water also seems to help.

Replied by Lou
(Tyler, Tx)
1 out of 5 stars

I just bought some goats milk soap and my bumps are back!!!

Castor Oil Packs

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Lynda ( California) on 01/21/2018
5 out of 5 stars

Re; Bells Palsy and Keratosis pillars:

I was using castor oil on my face for Bells Palsy. I applied it on my face with cotton ball and covered my face with plastic on each side (left opening for nose so I could breath) then put a"moisture" heating pad that you warm in microwave over my face for 20 minutes every night. Can't be sure if it's helping my Bells Palsy but after literally years and years of going to doctors for kreatosis polaris and using suggested home remedies, the castor oil "completely" cured my Keratisis polaris within in a couple of weeks. I first noticed within a couple of days it was resolving. I've had the condition for at least 10 years.

Replied by Marnie
(Madera, Ca)

Very interesting!
Did you have the keratosis pilaris on just your face? Or was it on other parts of your body? And did you only apply the castor oil on your face?

Replied by Amy

How did you apply the castor oil for your kp?

Coconut Milk

1 User Review
4 star (1) 

Posted by Nicole (Melbourne Australia) on 09/29/2013

Hi everyone, I've been doing a lot f research on the internet and found a few people saying they either switched their milk to coconut milk or used coconut milk soap and their Keratosis Pilaris (kp) has reduced by about 90% or completely gone. I've had kp for a long time and I've always had trouble drinking milk. I find it too heavy for my stomach but I am going to try coconut milk and I will let you know how I go. I apply coconut oil on my skin after I shower and that seems to help me a lot but there still is a lot of kp left and I want to find a way to get rid of it completely. I hope some of you will help me try this remedy and see if it works, wish me luck :)

Replied by Nicole
(Melbourne Australia)
4 out of 5 stars

Hi everyone I stopped using the coconut milk because it was hurting my stomach and as I said before I have a intolerance to some kinds of milk and unfortunately coconut milk was one of them, however I did start to eat coconut cream.

I buy raw coconut cream from my super market and I eat 1/3 of the can everyday because the can is only good for 3 days. It's been a week and so far and I can see a lot of improvement in my skin and my kp has reduced, maybe I need to eat more of it a day to completely get rid of the kp. I will keep trying and I'll let you know how I go J wish me luck.

Coconut Oil

5 User Reviews
5 star (3) 
4 star (1) 
1 star (1) 

Posted by Mina_mtl (Montreal) on 01/22/2017
5 out of 5 stars

I have found coconut oil very helpful for KP, which I've had for over 20 years. I use virgin, cold pressed, organic CO directly on the skin after showering. I also eat a spoonful a day, usually melted into my coffee. After doing this for about a year, plus a number of other dietary changes (please see my first, big post if you want details), my KP is 80-90% reduced. But I saw positive change almost right away, including reduction in redness, itchiness, and bumpiness. Dry brushing increased the positive effects for me. At first I had to dry brush every day (to help shed the dead skin) but now I only need to dry brush 2-3x/week. I still eat and apply coconut oil every day.

Coconut Oil
Posted by Amazed (Australia) on 02/11/2015
5 out of 5 stars

I just wanted to comment on the amazing results we have had using Coconut Oil for Keratosis Pilaris. My 10 year old daughter has had the bumps on her upper arms and just a small amount on her cheeks for as long as I can remember but as it was not too noticeable we have just always moisturised it but otherwise left it alone. Just recently seemingly overnight her whole face became covered with it. She was becoming quite anxious about it so we tried a few different things which only seemed to inflame it. After reading some other posts on this website I decided to give the Coconut Oil a try as we already had some that I use in cooking so I thought it couldn't do too much harm. I have to say this stuff is amazing for your skin. After just one application overnight there was over 50% improvement. We have been applying it twice a day now for just over a week and I would say about 95% of the bumps have gone. Her skin is glowing and smoother than it has ever been. Thanks to those who suggested it.

Coconut Oil
Posted by Grace (Pdx) on 11/17/2013

I researched and read that it a result of too much protein or dairy I'm going to stop both and see what happens, also vitamin A levels should be checked .I'm doing tea tree oil and coconut oil mixed and seeing some results. I wonder if it is liver overload. My Chinese medicine doctor says, " What is going on the inside of the body is being seen on the outside of the body ." Please sure that your using Organic virgin coconut oil made from FRESH coconuts dried coconuts have mycotoxins

Coconut Oil
Posted by Nicole (Melbourne, Australia) on 01/17/2013
4 out of 5 stars

Hi everyone, I have suffered from KP since the age of 4 that's as far as I can remember, I had it all over my legs and for the past year I got it on my arms. I have now been applying organic extra virgin coconut oil cold pressed on my arms and legs everyday for the past 3 months and I have noticed a big difference. The red dots have gone especially on my arms I would say about 90% gone but I still have the bumps both on my arms and legs, there is an improvement but maybe I need to keep using it or maybe even ingesting it might help me more but I thought I would put it out there and I will write back in a couple of months and let you know if it's gone completely or not. I also use goat's milk soap and apply the coconut oil after my shower before bed.

Thank you earth clinic for all your help and good luck to everyone.

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