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 Keratosis Pilaris

Keratosis pilaris is a very common skin disorder that can occur at any age. The skin appears as small, rough, reddened patches or bumps primarily around hair follicles. KP has been described as "goose pimples" or "chicken skin." KP is often mistaken for acne among teens. While the condition is chronic and may seem unsightly, it is benign, not contagious, and easily managed cosmetically.

 What are the symptoms of KP?

KP usually appears on the upper arms, legs, and face. Signs and symptoms include small bumps which resemble acne. Painless, skin-colored bumps can appear which can become red and inflamed. Dry, rough patches may become itchy. KP has often been mistaken for acne because it is common among children and teens and temporarily resolves during summer months. KP can be distinguished from acne on the face in that it is generally not pustular in nature and may leave small scars.

 What causes KP?

There is no specific cause for KP, although a genetic predisposition has been linked. Keratosis pilaris results from the excessive production and accumulation of keratin in the epidermis (hyperkeratinization). Keratin is a protein in skin tissue, like collagen and elastin, responsible for structure and protection. Excess keratin forms a plug that can block the hair follicle, resulting in rough, bumpy patches. Sometimes the plug may cause ingrown hair in the follicle. The epidermal layer may produce dilation of the capillaries, resulting in redness or a flushed appearance. Dry skin may exacerbate KP.

 How is KP treated? Do they work?

There is no cure for KP and the condition often eventually resolves on its own. Treatments, however, are available to manage outbreaks and improve appearance.

Treatment strategy for KP involves regular moisturization and exfoliation: Hydration is essential for softening thickened patches and preventing dryness. Proper hydration supports normal cell function in the skin tissue to address hyperkeratinization. Keratolysis (exfoliation) stimulates the natural shedding of the epidermal layer to reduce keratin build up (plugs) and regeneration of normal dermal tissue.

Effective agents include hyaluronic acid, hydroxy acid peels and retinol. Severity of the condition determines the concentrations and frequency of use.

Hyaluronic Acid
Hyaluronic acid is naturally produced by the body for lubrication and connective tissue maintenance. As an essential component for the biologic scaffold, hyaluronic acid corrects tissue degeneration, promotes hydration and enhances structural support for collagen synthesis and elastin production-critical for tissue rejuvenation and repair. Topical applications of hyaluronic acid are absorbed by the body and it is effective in combination with other dermatologic ingredients.

KAVI Hyaluronic Acid 95 contains the highest concentration of hyaluronic acid in a topical humectant. It an active ingredient included in KAVI serums and enzyme masks to promote skin hydration and tissue repair. KAVI Hyaluronic Acid 95 and the KAVI Glycolipidic Moisturizer are a powerful combination to treat dry skin.

Vitamin A - Retinoids
Retinol is one of the most usable forms of vitamin A, which is essential for proper cellular function. Topical formulations of retinol stimulate keratolysis and promote tissue hydration and dermal repair. Retinol penetrates the skin through the sebaceous glands to produce antiseptic and mild anti-inflammatory effects, reducing acne-causing bacteria and stimulating keratolysis by stimulating cell production in the deeper dermal layers. Retinol stimulates normalized cellular function, which includes an increase in production of healthy epidermal cells, enhanced collagen production for maintenance of a hydrated scaffold necessary for dermal repair, and reduction of melanin synthesis to correct pigmentation variance. As a topical form of vitamin A, retinol supports normalizing epithelial function with minimal to no systemic absorption.

Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) - Glycolic Acid
Glycolic acid is derived from sugar cane. It is the preferred form of AHA in topical applications because it is a small, water-soluble molecule, better able to penetrate the epidermal layer. Glycolic acid promotes keratolysis (exfoliation) and stimulates collagen synthesis for repair and rejuvenation of the underlying tissue. Glycolic acid stimulates the skin's own natural mechanisms to shed the epidermal layer and build the dermal matrix.

High concentrations of glycolic acid can cause burns and irritation. KAVI Glycolic Acid products are available in highly purified therapeutic concentrations and contain a buffered formulation to reduce the risk of burns. All KAVI Glycolic Acid treatments are prepared with naturally soothing witch hazel to reduce inflammation (instead of SD alcohol which can dehydrate the tissues). For more information on choosing the appropriate glycolic acid product, click here.

Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA) - Salicylic Acid
Derived from the bark of the willow tree, salicylic acid is a commonly used BHA for comedolysis and keratolysis. Salicylic acid binds with and dissolves excess oil (sebum), penetrates clogged pores, and stimulates keratolysis. Once inside pores and hair follicles, salicylic acid produces an antiseptic effect, reducing any bacteria inside. Salicylic acid is often considered as the first stage of treatment for moderate to severe KP. When combined with other products that promote hydration and collagen repair, salicylic acid facilitates the penetration of these products to the lower skin layers.

As with all acid peels, salicylic acid can cause burns and irritation. It has a significantly shorter application time than buffered glycolic acid. KAVI Salicylic Acid products contain highly purified therapeutic concentrations with a normalized pH of 2.35. All KAVI Salicylic Acid treatments are prepared with peppermint oil extract (menthol) to soothe the skin during application. KAVI Salicylic Acid products contain an alcohol base that enhances penetration into the skin. For more information on choosing the appropriate salicylic acid product for your skin and treatment goals, click here. For a comparison between the KAVI alpha and beta hydroxy acid products, click here.

 What can I expect from treatment?

Depending on the type of treatment and the active ingredients in the product, superficial to deep exfoliation can be produced with hydroxy acid peels or retinol. Treatment cycles typically run six to eight weeks. Dryness and sensitivity to sunlight are common side effects to glycolic acid and retinol treatment, and regular use of moisturizers and sun block applications are recommended. Maintenance regimens that include KAVI serums, cleansers, and moisturizers promote sustained results and help maintain healthy dermal function. All KAVI products are formulated with natural ingredients that invigorate cellular processes to safely and effectively restore your skin's natural balance and beauty.

 How can I prevent KP?

Since there is no known etiology or specific diagnosis for keratosis pilaris, preventive measures have not been determined. KP is generally unpredictable, erupting and subsequently resolving over time. The best approach between flare-ups is maintenance, and immediate attention following an eruption will help constrain the extent of the break-out and shorten the recovery period. A healthy skin regimen and regular keratolytic treatments are recommended.

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