What Causes Keratosis Pilaris?
Keratosis Pilaris is a skin condition, also (unfortunately) known as "chicken skin," that is caused by a buildup of keratin. Keratin is the primary structural fibrous protein that makes up the outermost layer of skin. When excess keratin builds up it plugs the hair follicle and creates a bump. When multiple follicles become blocked, it creates rough skin that is covered in pink, brown, or white bumps. Keratosis Pilaris is most commonly found on the backs of the arms and legs, but can also be found on the face or back.
Like all chronic skin conditions, the root cause of Keratosis Pilaris is the result of a internal imbalance. All chronic skin conditions indicate that the internal organs are not properly processing nutrients and/or toxins. Any toxins that build up in excess are pushed outward to the skin as a last resort for elimination, because the other elimination organs are not able to process the toxic load. Some skin conditions can also be caused by a lack of essential nutrients.
To truly heal means to rectify the imbalance that is the root cause of the condition, which is internal - and to use topical treatments in conjunction with the internal treatments.
How to Cure Keratosis Pilaris
Here are 10 steps to help you move towards healing Keratosis Pilaris:
1) try a temporary food elimination diet
Remove any foods from your diet that worsen your condition. Keratosis Pilaris is usually caused by food intolerances or food allergies. The number ONE cause of Keratosis Pilaris is the inability to process the Casein (dairy protein) found in all dairy products. Casein is a very common allergen and is particularly hard on people who have chronic illness. So, the first thing to do is to remove all dairy products from your diet right away.
I do like Colostrum - which is low in Casein and very healing to the gut and immune system. Click here for my favorite: Surthrival Colostrum. It is now also possible to find Whey protein that is Casein-Free: Click here for Tera's Goat Whey, which is lower in allergens than Cow Whey and is Casein-Free. And one of my most favorite dairy-free, casein-free high protein healing foods is, Collagen. This is the Collagen I eat daily.
I have seen first-hand Keratosis Pilaris go away completely when dairy was removed from the diet and come right back, as soon as it was added to the diet again. I, myself, was vegan for nearly a decade. Long term, I found that not eating animals foods or meat depleted my constitution too much, so I'm not recommended veganism here . . . but rather, detoxification and a healthy vegan diet when employed temporarily is detoxifying. Try reducing dairy and meat intake or trying a few weeks without out to see how you do. Just make sure you get enough plant protein during this time.
All animal proteins, when eaten excessively, can potentially cause Keratosis Pilaris, so also remove eggs, or any other animal products if the condition doesn't disappear after about a month after removing dairy first and second meat. I have had reports that eggs was the cause of KP for several people.
Each food should be singled out and removed for at least 6 weeks to see if the Keratosis Pilaris improves. If it does, try adding it back in, if you'd like, and see if it makes things worse. If so, consider removing it from your diet completely or reducing the amount.
2) Eat a whole-food, real-food, gluten-free, low-glycemic diet
For treating Keratosis Pilaris (and for health in general) it is also important to eliminate: sugar, processed foods, fried foods, hydrogenated oils, and artificial ingredients. Allergy to gluten can also contribute to Keratosis Pilaris. In my opinion, gluten is not helpful for anyone, it is just hard for the body to process, even with no specific allergy present. As a final step, eat a low-glycemic diet - removing all sugars (even natural sugars like fruit or honey), starches, and carbohydrates (except for vegetables). Again, single out each individual food and remove it for at least 6 weeks to see if the Keratosis Pilaris improves.
3) Get plenty of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
The best sources of of Omega-3s are
3) Cleanse your system
Flush out the build-up toxins from foods or substances that are causing irritations in your system. The best way to remove congestion in the body is to cleanse with Colon Hydrotherapy. If you don't have a Colon Hydrotherapist near you, try enemas at home. Coffee Enemas are particularly powerful liver cleansers and are an ideal cleansing technique. I do coffee enemas at home four days per week. I consider them essential for anyone with skin conditions or chronic health issues. This is a great enema kit with everything you need. If you just can't fathom the idea of colonics or enemas, my favorite herbal formula is Intestinal Movement Formula by Healthforce. It is safe, gentle, and yet effective. While doing any detox, it is crucial to take a formula to absorb toxins that are being released so that they don't get reabsorbed in the colon. I suggest Intestinal Drawing Formula. I use this regularly and it's a great full spectrum formula.
4) Balance your Intestinal Flora
When you have Keratosis Pilaris, one of the most important things you can do is to make sure that your intestinal flora is healthy. After cleansing or Colon Hydrotherapy, it’s important to repopulate your body with probiotics. Do not take grocery or drug store probiotics. They have no viablity as far as living, quality probiotics. These are the probiotics I personally take and trust:
Klaire Labs Ther-biotic Capsules
Klaire Labs Ther-biotic Powder
Genestra HMF Intensive
HLC High Potency Capsules
You can also make fermented foods at home for daily doses of Probiotics - make your own coconut water kefir, fully cultured kombucha, or sauerkraut and pickles. Do NOT eat fermented foods if you have Candida overgrowth. Get the Candida under control first.
5) Aid your Digestion with Enzymes
Lack of nutrient absorption can cause malnourished and dry skin and can contribute to Keratosis Pilaris. Digestive enzymes can help improve nutrient absorption and increase digestive fire. My favorite digestive enzymes are, Digestion Enhancement Enzymes.
6) Eat foods rich in Vitamin A & Vitamin C
Once possible nutrient deficiency that is at cause for Keratosis Pilaris, is Vitamin A. Without enough Vitamin A, the skin cells manufacture excess keratin. Keratosis Pilaris, again, is caused by the build up of excess keratin. The best sources of vitamin A are chlorophyll-rich foods like Spirulina or green food Blends, like Vitamineral Green
Vitamin C reduces inflammation and is required for collagen formation, so it helps to keep the skin healthy. The best sources of Vitamin C are Acerola Berry , Amla Berry, and Camu Camu Berry. I also use Liposomal Vitamin C daily, click here for my favorite. Vitamin C that is not inside liposomes is not well absorbed.
7) Eat Coconut Oil
There are a lot of claims from people who saw a reduction in their Keratosis Pilaris from applying coconut oil to it directly. Moisturizing is a huge help when it comes to Keratosis Pilaris, and coconut oil is wonderful for skin, but since Keratosis Pilaris is caused by internal issues, like all chronic skin conditions, try eating Extra Virgin Coconut oil instead to receive it's greatest benefits. Enjoy up to 3 tablespoons per day in meals. Tropical Traditions Gold Coconut Oil is the only Coconut Oil I use. Most Coconut Oil contains mycotoxins (mold), this one does not. The quality far surpasses any other coconut oil I've tried.
External Keratosis Pilaris Treatments
8) Use a Dry Skin Brush
If used regularly, a dry skin brush can have a transformative affect on Keratosis Pilaris. Dry Skin Brushing can help prevent the hair follicles from becoming clogged. Dry skin brushing also has many other benefits such as increasing circulation, treating cellulite, stimulate lymphatic drainage, and improving skin health and appearance.
Dry skin brush daily. Start at your feet and brush briskly in small, circular patterns toward your heart. Next, brush your hands, arms, torso, and neck.
Natural Alpha Hydroxy Acids are the best topical treatment for Keratosis Pilaris. For Keratosis Pilaris, you'll want to exfoliate in two ways for best results, first by using Glow - Exfoliating Fruit AHA Dew, then by using a "mechanical" exfoliant - Cacao Goji Berry Antioxidant Scrub. The two types of exfoliants work together to most effectively renew skin and remove and prevent the hair follicles from getting clogged.
Prime the skin with Glow - Exfoliating Fruit AHA Dew, a natural Alpha Hydroxy Acid fruit and flower treatment that helps the skin turn over properly and treats Keratosis Pilaris. Glow - Exfoliating Fruit AHA Dew also helps with acne, hyperpigmentation, age spots, wrinkles, and Milia.
Next, use a scrub over the areas of Keratosis Pilaris. Cacao Goji Berry Antioxidant Scrub is a delicious chocolatey, fruity, nutty superfood scrub that polishes skin, is anti-inflammatory, and infuses it with powerful antioxidants. Cacao Goji Berry Antioxidant Scrub is formulated to be gentle enough for face, so it is perfect for using over Keratosis Pilaris, without irritating it and revealing smoother, healthier skin. Leave it on as a mask for as long as possible prior to scrubbing, for best results in dissolving Keratosis Pilaris.
For more delicate areas and face, use Pineapple Illuminating Polisher instead in Cacao Goji Berry Scrub.
Practice this exfoliation routine daily, or at least 4 days per week until you see and feel an improvement in your Keratosis Pilaris.