“Strawberry skin” is a term that is used to describe a skin condition called keratosis pilaris.
What is keratosis pilaris? This is a skin condition that appears often as small pink-to-red dots or small rough bumps on the skin. These bumps are likened to strawberry skin, goosebumps or the skin of a plucked chicken. Sometimes my patients may confuse these bumps for small pimples. But the difference is that these bumps feel rough and dry like sandpaper, are more noticeable in winter or a dry climate, and at times may be itchy.
Why does these occur? These rough-feeling bumps are caused by an overproduction of dead skin cells called keratin. These dead skin cells then plug the opening of the hair follicle, which is also known as a pore. As these dead cells accumulate they form a hard scale and redness around the pore. And that is why it looks pink and feels like sandpaper. Hormonal changes, family history, dry skin, asthma, eczema, obesity and genetic skin conditions that cause very dry skin (also known as ichthyosis vulgaris) have been shown to increase a person’s risk of getting keratosis pilaris.
Though this skin condition is not contagious nor life threatening, it may have a significant impact on one’s self-esteem, self-confidence and body image. Many of my patients voice concerns about feeling embarrassed and self-conscious about wearing certain outfits that may expose the rough and bumpy rash.
The rough, red bumps typically is more prominent during the summer months. Eucerin Roughness Relief lotion contains an ingredient called Urea along with other moisturizing factors (such as ceramides). Urea helps to increase the moisture in the skin by dissolving and softening the excess keratin (rough, dead skin). There is no cure for keratosis pilaris, but this is a helpful way to help better control the redness, roughness and overall appearance and feel of the skin.