How to get rid of Keratosis pilaris or ‘chicken skin’ in men
We’ve picked the most effective Keratosis pilaris treatment lotions, creams and scrubs to help you get rid of your chicken skin
I f you have dry, rough skin, or you have small, painless bumps on your skin, you may be suffering from a condition called Keratosis pilaris (KP).
Keratosis pilaris is a harmless condition, but if you’re experiencing it, you’re probably wanting to soothe your skin and make it less noticeable.
Thankfully there are creams and exfoliants to treat Keratosis pilaris that you can buy without a prescription. There isn’t a cure as such, but there are lots of options available to help improve your skin, which can help get rid of keratosis pilaris over time.
It’s also worth noting that Keratosis pilaris can get worse in the colder months, so as we head towards winter you’re going to want to find a cream to help treat it as soon as possible.
Creams for Keratosis pilaris will help loosen and remove dead skin cells, as well as moisturise and soften your skin.
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Best Keratosis pilaris treatment
1. Paula’s Choice 2% Bha Body Smoothing Spot Exfoliant– £31
2. Facetheory Glycolic Acid Scrub – £10.99
3. Exfolikate Resurfacing Body Scrub – £24
4. Sunday Riley Charcoal Smoothie Body Scrub – £32
5. Cerave Sa Smoothing Cream With Salicylic Acid – £20
6. Ameliorate Transforming Body Lotion – £22.50
7. Zenmed – AHA/BHA Complex – £23
8. Aveeno Skin Relief Body Lotion – £11.99
Paula’s Choice 2% Bha Body Smoothing Spot Exfoliant
£31 | Buy now
This exfoliant from Paula’s Choice helps get rid of bumpy, rough skin and protects your skin from environmental damage.
You can use it on your arms, legs or anywhere else you suffer from Keratosis pilaris. You can either cover your whole body or just use it in targeted areas.
The 2% BHA is ideal because it unblocks your pores, which is where the build-up of keratin that’s causing your rough and bumpy chicken skin is likely to be found.
It also contains salicylic acid, which is one of our recommended ingredients because it helps to get rid of any dead cells and leaves your skin looking more silky and radiant.
Elsewhere, the botanical extracts including green tea and willow herb also help to soothe and heal your skin, while the Vitamin E is highly moisturising and an antioxidant.
This is the best keratosis pilaris treatment for breakouts and it deals with them quickly. It’s also a great option to use if you also have any blackheads or acne on your back (bacne).
FURTHER READING: The best skincare products for getting rid of acne once and for all
Facetheory Glycolic Acid Scrub
£10.99 | Buy now
You can use this Facetheory scrub for Keratosis pilaris on your face or body to make your bumpy skin much smoother.
The glycolic and salicylic acids (two of our recommended key ingredients) work really well to clear your blocked hair follicles (the cause of your rough, bumpy skin) but won’t cause your keratosis pilaris skin to become irritated or inflamed.
Meanwhile, the alpha and beta hydroxyl acids (AHAs and BHAs), plus jojoba work well at removing any of your skin’s surface oil and any dead skin cells.
We’ve featured the unscented version of the Face Theory acid scrub, but it’s also available with a mandarin scent.
FURTHER READING: The science of oily skin and how to get rid of it for good
Buy now from Facetheory
Exfolikate Resurfacing Body Scrub
£24 | Buy now
This body scrub from Kate Somerville includes salicylic acid and lactic acid, two of the best Keratosis pilaris treatment ingredients.
It gently removes dead skin cells and buffs away your dry, bumpy and flaky patches without leaving your skin feeling stripped.
It has a light, gritty texture but shouldn’t irritate your Keratosis pilaris. Instead the caffeine, honey and soybean oil will leave your skin feeling smoother.
It has a bigger price tag than other Keratosis pilaris treatment products we’ve featured, but it’s one you’ll notice the difference with straight away. In fact, 94% of people in an independent clinical study said that they had smoother skin after just one use.
Sunday Riley Charcoal Smoothie Body Scrub
£32 | Buy now
As with all Sunday Riley products, which are loved by celebrities including the likes of Victoria Beckham and Helen Mirren, you get quick, visible results with this Charcoal Smoothie Body Scrub.
This is another product featuring two of our key ingredients – salicylic acid and lactic acid – and this combination helps to smooth out your skin’s rough patches and Keratosis pilaris bumps. It also includes natural exfoliating powders to help remove dead skin cells.
The activated charcoal in this body scrub will work with the Manuka to pull impurities and dirt up and out of your skin. The coconut water and avocado oil then help to nourish and rehydrate your skin.
You’ll want to use this body scrub in the shower and after applying it to your skin in your bumpy skin areas, leave it on for 1-2 minutes before rinsing off.
Cerave Sa Smoothing Cream With Salicylic Acid
£20 | Buy now
Developed by dermatologists, this smoothing cream with salicylic acid helps clear your Keratosis pilaris rough skin, whilst also protecting your skin’s natural barrier.
As well as the three essential ceramides that all CeraVe products contain, it includes 10% urea and lactic acid and if you have bumpy, rough skin you’ll benefit so much from the moisture of this cream, which will help keep your skin hydrated all day.
This smoothing Keratosis pilaris treatment cream also comes in a handy squeezy tube if you want to use it when travelling or during the day.
FURTHER READING: The best CeraVe products for all your skincare concerns
Buy now from Boots
Ameliorate Transforming Keratosis pilaris treatment
£22.50 | Buy now
Another great Keratosis pilaris treatment is the Transforming lotion from Ameliorate.
You may well have spotted this one on TikTok because it’s regarded as a cult favourite and has become incredibly popular in recent months.
It has the key ingredient lactic acid, which helps to exfoliate the top layer of your skin and stimulates the renewal of healthy skin cells.
This body lotion for keratosis pilaris also has six humectants that draw moisture into your skin and keep it there, helping to make your skin look and feel softer and healthier.
In fact, it’s clinically proven to significantly increase moisture levels for up to 12 hours after application, which is great news for anyone suffering from Keratosis pilaris chicken skin
Buy now from Ameliorate
Zenmed – AHA/BHA Complex
£23 | Buy now
Although Keratosis pilaris is most commonly found on your arms and thighs, if you have Keratosis pilaris on your face then this Zenmed toner will help to make it less noticeable.
This is an acid toner that will remove flakey skin and give your skin a much better overall complexion.
It contains both glycolic acid and salicylic acid, which as well as helping your Keratosis pilaris will help to reduce your fine lines and wrinkles.
To apply you need to wash your face. Pat dry your skin and then with a cotton pad sweep this toner over your face and neck.
FURTHER READING: The truth about the acids lurking in your skincare – from hyaluronic, to glycolic, lactic and salicylic
Buy now from Dermacare Direct
Aveeno Skin Relief Body Lotion
£11.99 | Buy now
This Keratosis pilaris treatment from Aveeno will help to soothe your dry and irritable skin.
As well as being good for KP, it will also help to improve the balance of your skin’s natural microbiome.
Your natural microbiome is essentially your skin barrier and is composed of a variety of organisms, including bacteria, archaea, fungi and small arthropods that are important for your overall health.
It’s essentially the layer that protects you from the outside world.
This body lotion, which is clinically proven to restore the skin’s barrier, will help make your natural microbiome more resilient and your skin look healthier.
Buy now from Boots
What is Keratosis pilaris?
Keratosis pilaris is caused by the build-up of keratin, which is a hard protein that protects your skin from harmful substances and infection. The keratin blocks the opening of your hair follicles, which leads to patches of rough and bumpy skin. It’s often referred to as, ‘chicken skin’ because of the way it looks.
Common areas to find keratosis pilaris bumps are on your arms, thighs or bum.
If you have keratosis pilaris the bumps on your skin will most often match the colour of your skin, but they can also be red on white skin or brownish-black on darker skin.
How to get rid of Keratosis pilaris?
Keratosis pilaris gets worse when your skin is dry, so it’s vital to have an appropriate skincare routine that involves regular moisturising.
If you suffer from Keratosis pilaris then it’s best to avoid perfumed soaps or fragranced bath products because these can dry out your skin. You’ll also want to keep to cool or lukewarm showers or baths and when you get out try to pat your skin dry, rather than rubbing it.
The ingredients that work well in Keratosis pilaris treatments include:
It’s a good idea to exfoliate if you have Keratosis pilaris, but be aware that too much exfoliation can leave your skin irritated. Scrubbing your skin hard will make Keratosis pilaris worse, so make sure to gently scrub it if you’re exfoliating manually with grains or beads.
We would suggest instead, that the best Keratosis pilaris treatment is one that involves AHAs, BHAs or PHAs. These are chemical exfoliants and they can help remove dead skin cells and build up to give it a smoother look and a more even texture.
Bear in mind that after using an exfoliating acid your skin is a lot more sensitive to sunlight, so make sure to use an SPF after use.