Call me an optimist, but I’d like to think that spring is almost upon us and warmer longer days are lurking tentatively round the corner. For most of us winter is something that must be tolerated, but life starts to look a whole lot rosier once the sky turns blue and the sun pops out.
However, there is one thing that goes hand-in-hand with the changing seasons … the summer wardrobe. We suddenly have to start revealing parts of our body that hitherto have remained nicely concealed beneath layers of winter knitwear. Since most of the UK only reaches modest temperatures I’m not even contemplating bikinis or crop tops, but even more modest seasonal attire can nonetheless induce fear and panic!
Many people flock to their GP at this time of year; with all sorts of hidden dermatological conditions which they have been more than happy to put up with during the dark winter months. But now spring has sprung action must be taken!
One of the commonest skin conditions, affecting approximately a third of us, is something called keratosis pilaris. Essentially it is causes rough, dry and bumpy skin. It is sometimes describes as ‘chicken skin’ and can feel like tiny permanent goose bumps (see photo below). It’s most commonly affects the backs of the upper arms, the thighs and buttocks. It can also affect the cheeks and the upper back. Some people many find the rash is itchy, but not always.
Keratosis pilaris runs in families and is more common in people with eczema. Women appear to be more frequently affected than men.
If you are one of the thousands of people affected by this skin condition, what can you do?
Happily it has a tendency to naturally improve with warmer weather, so as you are starting to get your pins out, the bumpiness should be easing off.
If that isn’t sufficient to make you want to switch your jeans for a pair of hot pants then moisturising is everything.
· Creams that contain salicylic acid, lactic acid or urea are best and shouldn’t break the bank
· Try gentle exfoliation and washing with cleansers rather than soap which has a tendency to dry the skin out further
· Lastly, run the shower lukewarm rather than scalding hot as this also helps to keep your skin more hydrated.
Fingers crossed if you follow these simple measures your skin will be looking smoother and softer in no time. Just remember that it won’t cure the keratosis pilaris so you need to keep on top of it, or the goose bumps will return.