Hello readers and fellow skincare fans!
I have suffered from keratosis pilaris, sometimes known as chicken skin, on my upper arms for a LOOOOOOOONG time. I honestly can’t remember when it started, but it seems like it’s been there forever. There really hasn’t been a moment where I haven’t it, and I just sort of accepted my fate that I’m stuck with it until the day I die.
But once I moved from Texas to Colorado, it got worse!
It seems like the bumps multiplied, got bigger in some areas, and breakouts were appearing like crazy. Plus, my arm got itchy, like REALLY itchy. I decided enough was enough, and I’m going to find something to help me with this.
I researched multiple websites on what to do to minimize because fun fact: there is no actual cure for KP.
Exfoliating is always the recommended thing to do to minimize it, but that’s not going to be enough. We need an exfoliant with AHA, BHA, and PHAs. Here’s what they are in a nutshell:
- AHA = Alpha Hydroxy Acid: this is going to be acids that are made from certain foods like sugar cane, fruit, and milk. Examples of AHAs are glycolic acid, lactic acid, and tartaric acid.
- BHA = Beta Hydroxy Acid: these are mild acids often used to treat acne and oily skin. Examples of BHAs: salicylic acid, trethocanic acid, and tropic acid.
- PHA = Poly-Hydroxy Acid: a chemical exfoliant that’s known for being gentler than AHAs and BHAs, and great for those with sensitive skin. Examples of PHAs: gluconolactone, galactose, and lactobionic acid.
So, where does one begin to find an exfoliant with these ingredients? There are a lot of products you can find with them, but having an exfoliant won’t be enough. You’re going to need the right serum and moisturizer. Yes, we’re going full-steam ahead on minimizing this KP because it’s so annoying and I want it gone, but I’ll settle for it being reduced in appearance.
WARNING: it’s going to take a lot of time and PATIENCE! Don’t expect this to work overnight or be a cure for KP. Also, the following products are going to exfoliate the absolute heck out of your skin, make sure you put sunscreen on if you go out during the day regardless if the sun is out or not. Nighttime is the only exception for not putting it on. Also remember, what works for me might not work for you. Everyone’s skin is different.
DISCLAIMER: I’m not affiliated with or sponsored by any of the following brands I will be talking about in this blog. Most of these items I’ve bought with my own money and tried for myself. The ones I haven’t bought, I’m just suggesting based on ingredients.
My Journey and the Products I Used
My journey to minimize my KP took a long time to figure out. At first, I used a scrub and lotion with AHAs and BHAs (more on what I used later!), but I found that this wasn’t going to be enough. Also, the products I used were good, but I wanted to try something new. So, I decided to add a serum to my routine. So for my arms, I use serum, lotion, and SPF (whenever I go out during the day regardless if my sleeves cover my upper arms).
Here are what my arms looked like back in December when I started my new routine. This was after I took a shower. I realize now that I should’ve taken a photo before the shower because my arms looked a lot worse, and my after photos are after I’ve taken a shower. Sorry about that.
As you can see, my arms are pretty bad with a lot of breakouts and red bumps that stand out. At the time of this photo, I used the Peach and Lily KP Bump Boss Microderm Body Scrub a few days before.
I decided to add the Good Molecules Overnight Exfoliating Treatment and Shea Moisture African Black Soap Soothing Body Lotion to my routine since I ran out of my Dr. Teal’s lotion and the Truly Beauty serum.
Without further ado, here is my routine on how I treat my KP, and my thoughts on the products themselves.
Good Molecules Overnight Exfoliating Treatment
Good Molecules is a brand I’m sure we skincare enthusiasts have seen at Ulta whenever we walk through the skincare aisles. Their products are at a very good price (like cheap!), and when looking at the ingredients, they make it simple by not only listing them on the box but also showing what percentage the ingredients are at. Very transparent, which I love. I had this product for a while and initially used it to treat some dark spots, but I decided to try it out on my arms because it has a lot of AHAs and BHAs, which help in reducing breakouts and exfoliating the skin.
Oh boy, does this product deliver!
This photo was taken the night AFTER that photo above. Yes, that before photo was taken on December 5th and this picture right here was taken on December 6th. And this photo was taken the next morning before I put anything on.
To say that I was impressed by this overnight treatment would be a huge understatement. I was not expecting my breakouts to minimize so quickly, but that’s exactly what this treatment did.
The Overnight Exfoliating Treatment works, but let me give you a warning: IT WILL STING.
Yes, it stings when applied, but it doesn’t last long. Use this only at night because this has salicylic acid, lactic acid, and glycolic acid. These are some pretty potent exfoliants so please don’t use this during the day. But if you do, you MUST put on SPF, which you should be doing anyway if you go out during the day.
Now…you’re probably thinking this treatment must cost a pretty penny right? Results like this usually cost around $20 to…well insanely expensive. But prepared to be surprised!
Yes, $6 as in SIX dollars. Not $16. Not $60. But $6 as in the single number. Don’t believe me? Check it out here on Ulta’s website.
So, is this product worth trying out? Absolutely! I would recommend it to anyone asking my opinion. I’ve kept this as a part of my routine since December and it keeps my KP to a minimum. One pump is enough to cover one arm for me. I use it 2-3 times a week. Sometimes I use it on the same day when I use my Peach and Lily scrub, and it stings the absolute hell out of my arms, but my arms feel so smooth afterward.
SIDE NOTE: If your skin is on the more sensitive side, please don’t use these two products on the same night. I only use them on the same night because I know my skin’s tolerance, and it’s not sensitive.
It’s not the perfect solution for KP, but it’ll definitely help in reducing it, and helps with breakouts. Plus, you only get 1 oz. of product, but mind you this was made to be used on the face. But I’ve made my last for about three months, so really it’s not a bad choice to try out.
Peach & Lily KP Bump Boss Microderm Body Scrub
On its own, this scrub is pretty good and worth the $29. It has AHAs like lactic acid and glycolic acid and PHAs. When using this scrub, it feels pretty gentle which is surprising since most body scrubs I’ve come across are pretty abrasive and a little hard on the skin. While this product is good on its own, I feel like it’ll need a little help if people want to see results for their KP.
Paired with the Good Molecules Overnight Exfoliating Treatment, I feel like this duo is a great set. This scrub is also good for all over the body and helps with preventing ingrown hairs from shaving, and it does temporarily brighten underarms (which I also use it for). Overall, I would say this scrub is good if you can find a serum and/or lotion that has AHAs, BHAs, and/or PHAs in it.
More info on this product on Ulta
Shea Moisture African Black Soap Soothing Body Lotion
Now, some might think that KP equates to having clogged pores which might cause them to think that their skin is oily or producing too much of it. But this isn’t the case. KP is a build-up of a protein called keratin that develops around the hair follicle which causes the red bumps to appear and is often accompanied by dry, scaly skin.
So, this means you’re going to need a good body lotion. I know most of us love our body lotions with fragrances and want to smell nice after a shower or whenever you apply it. However, you might have to make an exception (and sacrifice) for your upper arms, or wherever your KP is.
Yes, I’m saying you’ll have to get a different lotion for the area affected by KP if you want to keep it to a minimum.
For me, I’ve been using the Shea Moisture African Black Soap Body Soothing Lotion (that’s a mouthful!) for about six months. It has ingredients that are great for treating dry skin and reducing redness like vitamin E, oats, and aloe. There aren’t any AHAs, BHAs, or PHAs in it, but I personally felt that I’m doing enough with my scrub and serum/overnight treatment. My skin is tough, but I’m not going to tempt fate just yet by getting a lotion with those exfoliants. Plus, it keeps my body from getting itchy during the cold months.
I use this all over my body because it’s so dry where I live, and this lotion is great at keeping my skin moisturized. It’s a little on the thicker side, so try not to put too much on when applying it.
More on this product at Ulta
Other Products I Used That Could Work, & My Thoughts on Them
I did try Truly Beauty’s Blueberry Kush Body Oil for a few months until I ran out. I used it at the time I was using Dr. Teal’s lavender lotion.
At first, I was considering getting Truly’s KP kit, but I didn’t because one: it was out of my budget, and two: looking only at the ingredients, I figured the Blueberry Kush body oil would be a better choice for me. I saw on Truly Beauty’s website for the KP kit they chose the Purple Rain serum and think the ingredients are good for the serum they chose, and maybe with the other products in the kit, it’ll be great. But that price tag was a little much for me.
These are the ingredients for the Purple Rain, Blueberry Kush Face Oil, and Blueberry Kush Body Oil.
As you can see, the face and body oils are almost the exact same. The main difference is that the face oil has tea tree oil and baobab oil. Also, it’s a smaller bottle. I decided to go with the body oil because I felt it was at a better price point and it has more AHAs and BHAs than the Purple Rain oil.
Overall, I think the body oil is good and could work with other products that have exfoliating ingredients. But the $44.90 price tag is a bit too much for me, especially when compared to the Good Molecules Overnight Exfoliating Treatment. If you want to try it out, go for it, but make sure you pair it up with a good scrub and moisturizer.
More on this product at Ulta
Skinfix Resurface+ Duo
I found this duo on Sephora’s website about a year and a half ago and decided to try them both out even though my bank account begged me not to.
Both of these products have glycolic acid, lactic acid, and willow bark extract (a natural form of salicylic acid). My KP wasn’t as noticeable when using these products, but it was obvious that these two weren’t enough. I think a serum with exfoliating ingredients could’ve given them a much-needed boost. Overall, I felt that they’re good, but their price tags are VERY hefty. I personally won’t be buying them again, but I think paired with a good serum, this duo can help in minimizing KP.
Here’s more info on the scrub
Here’s more info on the lotion
There are plenty of skincare products out there that have AHAs, BHAs, and PHAs, and it’s all a matter of researching products and seeing what their ingredients are. But I think it’s safe to say that scrubs alone aren’t enough. You’re going to need a serum since it goes deeper into your skin to treat it and prevent more bumps from developing. You’re going to need a good lotion. I know we all love our fragranced lotion that smells amazing, but a lotion with exfoliants and/or calming ingredients.
If you’ve made it this far, thank you for taking the time to read this. What are your tips for treating KP? Have you tried any of these products? If not, are you going to? Leave a comment down below. 🙂