November 02, 2015

How I Healed My Keratosis Pilaris (KP) Naturally: Part One

Keratosis Pilaris. Also commonly referred to as KP or chicken skin. Put more simply, those annoying little bumps on the back of your arms. If you have them you know what I am talking about. If you don't, you are lucky, and I am jealous. I have struggled with them for years. I was told by various dermatologists that they were hereditary and would never go away. For a long time I believed this and just tried to ignore them. I took my dermatologist's advice and washed with a gentle soap, and applied the various topical creams and emollients that they recommended. However, instead of getting better, overtime they turned into the pustular form of KP. Think acne-like lesions with white heads that were often painful as they were coming in. In hindsight I realize this started happening when my bowel symptoms were at their worst, but I never made that connection until more recently. Again, I figured there wasn't anything I could do about these annoying, ugly bumps and just tried to ignore them. Until a few months ago....

In August I finally decided it was time that I try and actually do something to heal my KP. And I have had amazing results in just 3 short months (see my photos below). So I decided to put together a series of posts to help you heal your own KP. Because trust me, you can!

Note: You will see in the photos that I still have some residual scars from when my KP was severe, and my next mission is to work on reducing those as well.

Before Treatment (many red and angry looking lesions)

3 Months Later (residual scarring)

The Keys To Healing KP

1. Exfoliation

Exfoliation. I cannot say enough about this. Exfoliation can do wonders for your skin! How I didn't realize this earlier I do not know. But I am a total believer now.
Exfoliation is the process used to remove dead skin cells from the skin's surface. There are both mechanical and topical ways to exfoliate. I have been using both to help heal my KP.
There are a number of benefits to exfoliating your skin including:

  • Increasing cell turnover 
  • Detoxifying the skin
  • Getting rid of dead, dull skin cells
  • Improving skin tone
  • Killing bacteria and helping prevents breakouts/rashes
  • Improving topical product penetration and treatment results
So how have I been exfoliating? First, I have been using dry brushing everyday, and second I have been using a scrub on my arms once a week. I have used both Neal's Yard Remedies Frankincense and Mandarin Body Polish as well as Beautycounter's Lustro Sugar Scrub and would recommend either product. They both smell amazing, and leave my skin feeling so soft and smooth. 

But a little more about dry brushing since I know this is a new concept for many of you. 

Dry brushing is the process of rubbing your dry skin with a hard bristled brush. Sounds a bit crazy doesn't it? But there are so many benefits of doing this to your skin! So many in fact that I will have to do an entire post dedicated solely to dry brushing in the future. But in terms of healing KP there are a few ways it is beneficial:
  • It sloughs off dead, dry skin to improve skin's appearance and allows moisturizer to penetrate more effectively
  • It improves the movement of lymph fluid into the local lymph nodes to help remove waste products 
In order to dry brush you first need to have the proper brush. One with a long handle, and firm bristles. I use this one made by Bernard Jensen. You can also find body brushes at most health food stores or spas (just be willing to pay a pretty penny at some of these places). I dry brush first thing in the morning before I shower, but you can do it any time of day. Simply start at your feet, and move the brush in vertical/upward movements over your skin. Slowly work your way up and over your whole body. Simple as that. It only takes a few minutes and your skin should feel smoother immediately. The first time you do this you may not like the sensation of those hard bristles on your skin (I sure didn't) but once you do it a few times you actually start to enjoy feeling.  

2. Moisturization 

Proper skin moisturization is key to healing your KP. But you need to make sure you are moisturizing with the right products. Think natural, chemical and toxin-free products. Because remember, your skin has the second largest surface area of any organ in your body (after your gut) and anything that you put on your skin gets absorbed into your bloodstream within seconds. So if you are putting toxins on your skin, they are getting into your body. And instead of helping heal your skin, your body will have to fight off those toxins, ultimately doing more harm than good. So please go and throw out those prescription or store bought lotions and potions immediately. Your body will thank you I promise!

There are a few key products I have been using to moisturize naturally. The first is jojoba oil, and the second is Neal's Yard Remedies Wild Rose Beauty Balm.  A great alternative to the Beauty Balm is Beautycounter's Nourishing Cleansing Balm. Both of these products are extremely moisturizing, without being greasy!

Jojoba oil is a great choice for natural skin care because it is the only oil that resembles human sebum (an oily substance that is naturally produced by your skin), which means it doesn't clog your pores. It not only moisturizes, but also has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, all of which are helpful in healing KP (and many other skin conditions). I add lavender essential oil (which also promotes skin healing) to my jojoba oil and apply this to my arms after I shower. If I'm at home I will also apply it throughout the day. I notice a difference in my skin if I miss just one or two days of this. It's that powerful.

The other products that I cannot say enough about are Neal's Yard Remedies Wild Rose Beauty Balm and Beautycounter's Nourishing Cleansing Balm. These products have been key in helping heal my KP. They both contain many organic oils and butters as well as many healing essential oils. I use these products interchangeably and apply one of them every night before I go to sleep for some deeply nourishing and healing moisturization.

That's it! Those are the external steps I have been using to heal my KP. It really hasn't been that hard, and I wish that I had started this mission sooner. Hindsight is always 20/20 isn't it? My next set of posts will focus on the dietary strategies that are key for healing KP, as well as the supplements and mind-body interventions that have so helpful for me.

** Update (May 2016): I have now posted my dietary strategies for healing KP from the inside out. Click here to be taken to that post!

Sign up for my newsletter below to be informed when these posts go live!

If you have any questions, as always please let me know! I am always happy to chat and love hearing from you guys!

Until next time, happy eating!

You Might Also Like

*** Pin This Post For Later ***

** Disclosures: This post contains links to certain products, and by clicking on these links I may make a small percentage of the purchase value. These earnings help me keep Pure and Simple Nourishment running and I truly appreciate your support. I was also gifted a jar of Neal's Yard Remedies Wild Rose Beauty Balm to help with this post, but am not monetarily affiliated with this brand and make no money if you click on the Neal's Yard Remedies links.


  1. I am curious about dry brushing! I tried to buy a brush & some lavender oil off, but it's being super annoying. Sometimes amazon drives me crazy.

    Anyway, I notice my arms are so much better when I'm more mindful of how I'm eating & my omega ratios are good. My psoriasis is also significantly better, which is so awesome!

    1. Amazon can be totally annoying hey? what's with that! And mine is definitely worse with certain foods too. Nuts seem to be a big trigger for me sadly since I love them.

  2. I stopped eating gluten and high fructose corn syrup and mine went away, so did my migraines.

    1. Heidi you're right diet is so important for skin! I'm actually going to do a whole post on this topic in the future since food is definitely medicine when it comes to skin care!

    2. Gluten does cause KP according to all the new studies!

    3. I completely agree! gluten can cause a whole laundry list of skin problems... acne, eczema, psoriasis... the list goes on and on! diet is so key to healing so many things! thanks for posting :)

  3. I'm definitely going to try the brush thing. And the oil. I'm 16, I've had KP for 6 years now. I've tried a hundred different creams my dermatologist prescribed me. None of them really seemed to work. The one thing that helped was bathing in saltwater. Didn't heal it but it helped.
    I've also tried light/sun therapy. Also didn't work.
    It really affected my self confidence.And I'm tired of people asking me what's wrong with my arms.

    Thanks for the tips, I really hope it works. :)

    1. Oh I hear your pain! Honestly I was so embarrassed to wear short sleeves that I rarely did. I really hope some of these tricks work for you. I had honestly almost given up! I would also look at changing your diet if you haven't yet. Gluten in particular can definitely trigger KP (along with many other foods). Good luck!

  4. The biggest factor in getting rid of my KP was giving up dairy. I was intolerant of dairy and soya when I was a baby, then grew out of it but both allergies/intolerances resurfaced when I hit my 20s. Giving them both up I immediately noticed a difference in the KP on my arms. If I stay off the dairy, exfoliate and moisturise regularly, drink plenty of water and don't eat too much bread my arms are as smooth as a baby's bum :)

    1. It's amazing how big a factor certain foods can be in skin conditions. Dairy and gluten are the first things I tell people to eliminate for any kind of skin issue. So glad you found a solution! xoxo

  5. When I read this story I realized just how similar it was to my condition. I suffered from KP for over 15 years and I was desperate to find anything that would help me. I hated to wear tank tops because I got so self-conscious that people stared at my arms all the time.

    Even my friends would make comments like, "Is that leprosy on your arms?"

    I didn't want to go out so I stayed home and got really depressed.

    Doctors and medications were of little help and even made my keratosis worse many times. Then I came some simple natural remedies that finally made the bumps, the redness, and the picking disappear for good.

    In fact, you might want to check out this article, it really helped me a lot:

    Hope it helps anyone reading this!

  6. Hello. Thanks for sharing! I was just wondering about the portions for the jojoba oil/lavender essential oil mix? Do you just mix a few drops at a time or...?

    1. Oh good question. To be honest I never actually measure. I just dump a bunch of drops into my jojoba oil bottle and leave it at that. I am guessing I add about 20-30 drops but this will also partly depend on the type of lavender essential oil you are using. Some brands are more potent than others. I would say as long as it smells like lavender when you put it on you have enough!

  7. Pity your blog is ruined by a gatekeeper "subscribe here" that won't allow viewing until you enter the fields with nonsense...

    1. If you don't want to fill in your "nonsense" all you have to do is hit the close button in the top right corner on the pop up...

  8. Hello!
    I am from Brazil and I am very happy to read an article as complete as yours.
    I suffer a lot with KP and I will follow your advice, especially on the brush!
    There is a very cool article about KP, written by a Brazilian. Try to read, even if you need to use the translator, it can help you a lot too! Follow the link:
    Kisses from a very grateful Brazilian! Together we can fight KP!

  9. I really wished I found your website sooner.. I am Asian and Asians are notorious for inheriting KP. My mother doesn't have it, so I got it from my father, and when I was younger, stupid me, starting scratching and plucking at my skin because I thought they were pimples. I still have KP but also inflammation scars. I hope your process works for me as well...

  10. Thank you so much for this valuable information.

    It is people like you that really make a difference in the lives of people with keratosis pilaris.

    I suffered for 12 years from keratosis pilaris and nothing I tried worked.

    Drugs, nutrition, all types of name it--the suffering never really went away.

    Fortunately, I found out about a natural way that finally got rid of my keratosis pilaris for good.

    This article talks about it...

    Hope it helps and keep up the good work!

    Keith Johnson

  11. Great Post Thanks for sharing

    Read More Information : jojoba oil

  12. I’m only 14 but I’ve has this condition for around 3 years I have it the back of my arms but also on my cheeks . This is really helpful , do you think I could dry brush my face ? Also can I use coconut oil instead of jojoba oil ?

  13. Keratosis Pilaris is a skin disorder which can affect people of all age groups. Keratosis Pilaris Herbal Treatment is to soften the bumps by diagnosis properly. Swollen and reddened bumps on the skin are symptoms of Keratosis Pilaris.

  14. wonderful tips. these tips will surely help. thanks
    skin treatment in Bangalore

  15. I am 14 and had KP for as long as I can remember. I was super embarrassed to wear short sleeved clothes and people always thought that I have allergies and avoided hugging me. i came across this article and my arms are smoother now and I feel so much more confident!!! Thankyou.

  16. in what ratio should i mix jojoba oil and lavender essential oil ?

  17. Natural Treatment for Keratosis Pilaris learns about the Symptoms, Causes and Diagnosis. Natural Herbal Treatment for Keratosis Pilaris with Herbal Product Kerneton Natural Supplement for a skin disorder. Treatment can ease the Symptoms of and Keratosis Pilaris help you see clearer skin.