keratosis pilaris

"What are these little bumps on the back of my child's arms?"

This is an condition so common that it is probably a normal feature of humans. Small (1 to 2 mm), rough, follicular papules or pustules appear on the backs and sides of the upper arms and on the front part of the thighs. Usually the child offers no complaints about the eruption, but it bothers the parents. Rarely the bumps may resemble bacterial folliculitis, particularly on the thighs.

Most people just put up with it; I counsel lotions and lubricants. A good new lotion for keratosis is Eucerin Plus - a combination moisturizer and exfoliant (helps remove the top dead layers of skin, including the bumps). Short courses of topical steroids like 1% hydrocortisone cream reduce redness. Lac-Hydrin cream can also be used to reduce the roughness. Tretinoin (Retin-A®) is a prescription medication that can be used, but is is usually too irritating.

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