What is keratosis pilaris?
Keratosis pilaris is a very common, dry skin condition caused by keratin accumulation in the hair follicles.
The Latin term keratosis means ‘scaly skin’, and pilaris means ‘hair’. Keratosis pilaris usually starts in childhood but becomes more obvious during the teenage years and adulthood. It is harmless and is not infectious.
What causes keratosis pilaris?
Keratosis pilaris occurs due to abnormal keratinisation of the upper portion lining of the hair follicle. The keratin fills the follicle instead of exfoliating.
The cause of keratosis pilaris is not fully understood, but it is thought to have a genetic association with autosomal dominant inheritance. Correlations have been made with mutations in filaggrin (a key protein in skin barrier function).
Keratosis pilaris tends to be prominent in the winter months and is likely due to the reduced moisture content of the air.