What is pediatric keratosis pilaris?

Updated: May 27, 2021
  • Author: Derek H Chu, MD; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
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Keratosis pilaris is a very common, benign, heritable disorder of keratinized hair follicles. [1] It is characterized by grouped, horny, keratotic, follicular papules, predominantly located over the extensor surfaces of the proximal extremities, most commonly the posterolateral upper arms and anterior thighs. Though the papules are typically asymptomatic, affected individuals may be bothered by the cosmetic appearance. There can be significant individual variation in the prominence and severity of keratosis pilaris. It is often described in children with underlying xerosis, atopy, or ichthyosis vulgaris. Treatment is marginally effective and only provides temporary relief. [2, 3]

Images of keratosis pilaris are below (also see Physical Examination).

Keratosis pilaris occurs most commonly on the late Keratosis pilaris occurs most commonly on the lateral upper arms and upper thighs.
Close examination of keratosis pilaris shows kerat Close examination of keratosis pilaris shows keratotic papules associated with hair follicles. Keratinocytes at the follicular orifice are retained, producing keratin plugs.

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