A to Z of EDS: K is for Keratosis Pilaris

Keratosis Pilaris is quite a common condition in the general population. It is estimated to effect up to 50% of children and adolescents. However, most grow out of it. Except, it seems that in adults with EDS, it remains a problem. 

I was going to describe it as a condition caused by excessive production of keratin, which is a protein in the upper layers of the skin. That’s what’s usually said to cause it. However, this fascinating study suggests that it could actually be caused by defective (twisted) hair shafts, with the excess keratin being a reaction to the irritation that causes. Which means that laser hair removal may be a novel approach to treatment, although no studies have been done on this to date. 

Whatever the cause, the result is a mass of ‘goosebumps’ on the skin, usually the upper arms. It’s usually pretty harmless, apart from some itching. My sister has it pretty bad (she calls it her ‘chicken skin’) but myself and the kids have it too. Mine doesn’t usually bother me, but I do find that sometimes it gets replaced by lots of tiny scabs, presumably from me scratching it off. 

The treatments for it seem to be pretty hit and miss. (Like a lot of things to do with EDS) Moisturisers and exfoliation may help. Sunlight seems to help for some. A lot of folks just cover it up with clothing. I don’t do anything much for mine, as it’s not too bothersome. It’s just one more quirk of having EDS. 

[image of a yellow background with the words ‘K is for Keratosis Pilaris’ in black.]

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