Does Keratosis Pilaris Affect the Scalp?

Keratosis pilaris (KP) is a skin condition of when keratin (essential protein that protects the skin from harmful things) goes awry and causes excessive buildups that block the opening of hair follicles. It is commonly found on the extensor of convex and extremities areas such as buttock. But does it affect the scalp, too?

How do you get it?

It is thought as the results from the excessive buildups of keratin (an essential protein that is important to protect the skin from infection or other harmful substances, as noted before). These buildups form scaly plugs that can obstruct the openings of hair follicles.

image_illustration319The blocked openings of hair follicles lead to bumpy ‘chicken skin’ (patches of rough, they feel like sandpaper to touch). Unfortunately, currently no one knows why keratin goes awry and trigger these buildups.

In other words, KP is not fully understood yet. But there are some theories. Experts believe that it may be linked to genetic conditions, dry skin, or other skin problems (particularly like atopic dermatitis /eczema).

If you have KP, the way of your skin care to keep your skin moist can significantly help control the problem. The weather has a role, too. Dry skin is more likely to get worse in the low humidity environment or during winter, and will improve in the summer.

The same thing goes for KP. It is more likely to clear up in the summer. And it tends to flare up in the winter. You may have a chronic course of remissions and exacerbations.

In general, women are affected more often than men. It is commonly found in the first decade of life that may get worse during puberty or in adolescence.

The good news, it usually improves and clears up on its own with age, though the prognosis can be quite variable from person to person (see more this issue in this article).

The most significant risk factor of the problem may be a positive family history. As noted before, it is often associated with genetic conditions. Experts believe if somebody has a family history of KP, she/he is at higher risk than others to develop the same condition.

Is it dangerous condition?

The affected skin can be rough and unsightly. You may think that it can be a serious condition.

Fortunately, keratosis pilaris is usually benign condition. The treatment is often not suggested since the problem doesn’t pose to any health risk.

So, there is usually no any serious complication of this chicken skin condition. However, there is also a chance for scarring or pigmentary changes to occur.

And since the skin can be unsightly, some people may consider taking the treatment. In other words, the treatment is usually used due to cosmetic reasons.

Keratosis pilaris can affect the scalp, how common is it?

KP affects about 40 percent of adults, and almost 50 to 80 percent of all adolescents. But many times, most people with this chicken condition are unaware of the problem.

As mentioned before, KP is commonly found on the buttocks, cheeks, upper arms, and thighs. But there is also a chance for the problem to occur on the face, too (see also KP on the face)!

Theoretically, keratosis pilaris can occur on all skin surfaces with hair follicles (where hair grows). Rare variants of this chicken skin condition can affect scalp, eyebrows, or even the entire body!

So, KP on the scalp is not common, but it can occur. On the scalp, the bumps may be also found on the hairline, making them become unsightly.

There is currently no cure for KP, but there are plenty of options to help cope with the problem. The following are some of these options:

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