It’s a skin condition that SO MANY people have. A condition for which names have been passed through the generations, as this is a genetic condition. In my family, we call it “chicken skin.” I have no idea how the name originated, but it’s what we always call it. It’s those tiny red bumps that cover the backs of our arms and even our thighs, that make it embarrassing to go sleeveless. Those bumps that my grandmother told my mother would never go away and to learn to live with it, and my mother then told me the same, so we just learned to deal.
When I first met my husband, he was an intern at Virginia Mason doing a month long rotation on the Oncology unit where I was working.
I. was. Smitten.
Butterflies, nervousness, anxiety, distraction, you name it, I had it. I looked for every chance possible to chat it up with him, and when I found out he was going into dermatology, I thought here’s my big chance! So I pulled him aside and asked him to look at the backs of my arms and tell me once and for all what the heck this crap was and is there anything I can do about it?! And lo and behold, “chicken skin” has a name! It is KERATOSIS PILARIS. Great, so it has a name, but how do you get rid of it? Much to my disappointment….. he didn’t have an answer. He recommended a few lotions to try, Amlactin and lotions containing Urea. I tried them, but they are thick, smelly, and leave your arm looking chalky until your next shower. Needless to say, I didn’t keep up with it. You certainly don’t see results right away with these lotions, and so it’s hard to stay motivated to use it every day. So Alas, I may be married to a dermatologist, but he can’t do much to help me with my ONE skin issues that has bothered me my whole life.
Last week, Arlo did a little test on my arms, using a glycolic acid peel applied for 2 minutes. The results were instantaneous, my arms felt smoother! They were probably 50% less bumpy, but the red dots were still visible. So this week he did it again, this time he applied it for 5 minutes. And now? My arms have never looked better in my life! The redness of the bumps has gone way done, and the actual bumps are basically gone! To me it’s nothing short of a miracle. As a teenager I remember daydreaming about being visited by a fairy who would grant me three wishes. My first wish was ALWAYS to have all of my red bumps go away (the second was for a new car and the third was certainly related to whatever boy I had a crush on….). So to me, this is life changing.
The only bummer is you have to keep doing it to keep the bumps away. We are not sure yet just how often, and it is likely to depend on the person and the severity of the KP, but it is a very quick office visit to get it done, the sting is honestly not bad at all, and if cost is an issue you could always just have it done during sleeveless season or before a big event.
I always told Arlo if he could cure KP he would be a millionaire. He may not have cured it (yet?) but he has discovered a treatment that really works, and is going to change the lives of many, many people, myself included.