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By the way, doctor: What is keratosis pilaris?

February 01, 2008

Q. Ever since my teens, I've had a rash that looks like goose bumps on my arms and legs. My doctor says it's keratosis pilaris. What do you know about this condition?

A. Keratosis pilaris is a harmless skin condition characterized by tiny bumps on the back of the upper arms, the front of the thighs, the buttocks, and sometimes the cheeks of the face. The bumps are about the size of pinheads and evenly spaced. They are usually skin-colored or whitish-gray and may be individually ringed in red. The affected area may feel rough, like coarse sandpaper or "gooseflesh." The condition affects as many as 40% of adults — women more often than men. It usually begins in childhood and worsens during puberty, but — thankfully — it often improves in adulthood.

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