Keratosis Pilaris Remedies

| Modified on Feb 10, 2024

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.

African Black Soap

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Lorieamore (Colorado) on 06/09/2013

KP is a build up of keratin, the protein. African black soap and oils is what have cleared mine.

Apple Cider Vinegar

10 User Reviews
5 star (9) 

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 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...

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

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)

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.

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

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 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 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.

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by TK (NYC, NY) on 12/16/2008

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 Lasvegaslady
(Las Vegasw, Nv, Usa)

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!!!

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

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!

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

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

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, Bentonite Clay

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Chad (Georgia) on 10/09/2014

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.

Borage Oil

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Daisy (Auckland, New Zealand) on 09/23/2012

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

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)


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

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?

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)


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 (4) 
4 star (1) 

Posted by Mina_mtl (Montreal) on 01/22/2017

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.

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