We all would like our upper arms to look like this, baby soft and smooth, unfortunately for some this is not the case, and is something my 11 year old daughter is currently suffering from, I have experienced myself during my teens and a few of my clients are also experiencing. Bumpy skin, mottled, with small red or white spots under the skin on the upper arm area, so I thought I would shed some light on what it is. It is called Keratosis pilaris, it is not sore or itchy it’s not contagious or dangerous but it can be a little unsightly and more of an annoyance. It usually appears as small white heads or red goose bump type spots on the backs of the upper arms, it can appear on the cheeks, thighs and buttocks as well. It is usually hereditary hence my self and my daughter suffering and is really common, 50 – 70 % of teens and 40% of adults worldwide are affected.
It is caused by an excess of keratin a natural protein in the skin, and can be affected by the hormonal changes that go on in the body, it is not something that is curable it usually has to run it’s course but there are things you can do naturally to help reduce it’s appearance.
– Try to avoid too long in super hot baths or showers as the hot water can dry the skin and inflame the area increasing the redness.
– Dry brush the area with a body brush to help slough off dead skin cells and increase blood circulation and nutrients to the area. But don’t get carried away, gentle is best and once or twice a week is all that’s needed. (there are lots available on line, amazon has a large selection of natural bristle body brushes)
– A gentle body exfoliant could also be used once or twice a week, you could even make your own
– Avoid conventional soaps, shower gels and body washes, these are only going to dry the area and possibly irritate, go for an organic soap, something as natural as possible.
– Moisturise after a bath, keeping the area soft and hydrated will help reduce the appearance.
– Don’t be tempted to pick at visible spots this will only leave red marks and the risk of scaring.
– Look at your diet, reduce the amount of dairy and make sure you are eating lots of deep green leafy vegetables, broccoli, kale, cabbage all full of vitamin A, which in tests a diet high in vitamin A has been proved to be helpful.
– Things to look for in your skincare include Green tea, safe for children and helps with inflammatory skin conditions, an antioxidant so helps protect from free radicals that cause damage at a cellular level, Vitamin E oil, this has been proved to help keratosis pilaris, adding some oil to a luke warm bath to soften your whole body. All the omega oils especially omega 3, many clients with KP don’t get enough fatty acids in their diets, taking a supplement may also be helpful.
– Some sun is good, it is common for KP to be worse in the winter months when the area is covered up and is not exposed to any sunshine, so when you can, go sleeveless.
– Massage the area, the skin on the backs of the arms can be an area of sluggish circulation, massaging the skin with a suitable oil (Sea Buckthorn, castor oil, Vitamin E) will help get the circulation and skins natural processes working more effectively.
– Supper fruit ingredient Sea Buck thorn is one highly recommended to try, it is known as an immune system booster and in tests has been proven to be very helpful to some people.
Weleda have a whole range of Sea buckthorn products including, body oil, wash, hand cream and juice as a daily supplement
Lavera have an orange and seabuckthorn body oil and wash.