January 8, 2009


Left : Normal skin; Right : Keratosis Pilaris

As you who follow my blog know it's about this time of the year when I'm confined indoors by the harsh Chicago winters that I come down with a malady I have dubbed the "epatoozies " which is what we Southerners use to label things when we don't know what it is. An angry red rash that resembles chicken skin appears on my neck, arms and face and no treatment that I've tried has worked to clear it up.

Last year my doctor prescribed the best medicine : Florida for the month of February. I kid you not the rash disappeared once I got out into the wonderful sunshine.

Now I can no longer call it the epatoozies because I've finally got a diagnosis : a common skin condition known as Keratosis Pilaris ( thus the label " chicken skin " ) which affects 1 in 3 people and 40-50 per cent of the world's population. So I'm not in this alone. Many have it and don't even know what it is. Thank god it's not serious ( some forms of Keratosis are precancerous ) but it's very annoying and unsightly. It's caused by an excess build up of keratin or protein in the skin and is worse in winter when confined indoors.

I'm currently treating it with a topical steriod cream prescribed by my doctor and a skin regime of exfoiliating the affected areas to get rid of the excess protein buildup. If it doesn't work I have no alternative but to wait for the Spring cure.

I've always disliked the skin on a chicken and I certainly don't like it on me.


  1. I always get "dried rashy skin" on my wedding ring finger, right where my rings go. This has been happening now for the last 3 or 4 years and happens only in the winter months. I have to super moisturize my hands otherwise it gets really bad.
    Hope your regiment clears up the problem and you can wait for spring chicken skin free!

  2. Oh how frustrating! I think it's time you just drop everything and head to Florida. Seriously. At least, that's what I'd be thinking...not that I could actually 'do' it...

    I hope the cream will work for you:)

  3. Is this anything like roseacea? I think that is what I have but it only affects my face.

  4. Nothing like roscacea Phillip. Roscacea is caused by dilation of the blood vessels and some hormonal activity whereas Keratosis is a build up of excess protein on the skin. Both are extremely annoying.

  5. HI Pat and Happy New Year. I've had that irritation as well. Unlike a lot of people with Keratosis my skin is not dry.

  6. Don't think I haven't thought of that Jan :-) ! What's stopping me is a bundle of joy , my first grandchild for whom I am caring for.

    I've thought about visiting a tanning salon for treatment. I've heard it helps.

  7. Hey, me too! Unlike you, though, I've been going to the dermatologist since I was a small child for it (runs in the family too - we call it "winter bumps").

    I'm actually in pretty good shape now due to exfoliation, beta hydroxy lotions, and fish oil. Really: getting enough omega-3 oils does help, albeit slowly. None of those are quite as nice as a doctor-prescribed trip, though!

  8. Hi LCShores. I've finally updated my blogroll and you're on it.

    So we share something in common, the winter bumps. I've actually been taking fish oil for years.

    My new regime is exfoilation, retinol and Eucerin ultra healing cream. Hope it works.

    Thanks for stopping by and Happy New Year to you.

  9. I'm sorry Carolyn, hope you lick this. Of course I know you had such a wonderful trip last Winter, that I'm sure you wouldn't mind taking another! ;-)

  10. I have keratosis too and have been trying coconut oil to no avail. I've read that, for some people at least, it will clear up with Dr. Bronner's eucalyptus soap. That will be my next attempt.

  11. I'm sorry to hear about this Carolyn. I'm glad you've found a cream that is supposed to help. I wondered, when I read this, if you'll be heading south to counteract the epatoozies this winter as you did last year. I remember how it really helped your wellbeing (and it helped some of us, who vicariously went to Florida with you via your blog.)

  12. Hey Jodi and Happy New Year. Good to hear from you.

    The only thing keeping me in Chicago this winter is my brand spanking new and first grandchild Lea, 7 weeks old and cute as a kitten.

    We just had another 10 inches of snow ( something you're used to )and I'm getting plenty of exercise digging out.

    Hope you are progressing from your surgery.

  13. I get this too on my upper arms (more noticeable in the winter). So far I do nothing for it because I dont think it's that bad (yet). But I also heard (like LCShores) that Beta hydroxy lotions are supposed to help.

  14. Hi. A good exfoliating scrub with alpha-hydroxy will work wonders on your skin. I had it, but don't anymore since I started using the alpha-hydroxy skin care. Juice Beauty has a good one. Take care.


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