In what I guess you could call a happy accident, getting rid of my keratosis pilaris wasn’t even in mind when I opened my latest tube of body moisturizer. As someone who is obsessed with hydrating my arms and legs, I had simply run out of cream and needed a replacement that wasn’t too fragrant or heavy, stat. Chantecaille’s Retinol Body Treatment ($98; nordstrom.com) fit the bill, smelling faint of roses and having a thin, milky, and almost liquid consistency, so I popped it open. Every morning and night after showering (I’m religious about moisturizing), I gently rubbed it into the skin on my arms and legs.
The first thing I noticed was that my arms and legs were softer than usual, which isn’t exactly a groundbreaking result from a body product, but I was pleased. But then after probably another week of usage, I noticed the little red, raised, blotchy bumps that have always been on the back of my arms since I was about 12, seemed to be smoother in texture. Interestingly enough, I had pretty much given up finding a cure to my keratosis pilaris. I used to be very insecure about it—opting for long-sleeves that would cover the rosecea rather than a bell sleeve or a tee—but learned to accept the skin condition as I got older.
If you’re unfamiliar with the condition, dermatologist Dr. Patricia Wexler explains that it is a buildup of keratin that forms a scaly plug and blocks the opening of the hair follicle. "When many occur, this causes patches of rough, bumpy, sandpapery skin. The exact cause is unknown,” she says. However, Dr. Wexler does note it’s associated with conditions like eczema, which I’m prone to and experience.
But as it turns out, retinol, the very key ingredient in this brand’s body treatment, is proven effective for my very concern.
While Dr. Wexler didn’t recommend this particular product to me, she did explain the benefits of using a retinol-based product for this skin issue.
"Treatment with the retinoid can be very effective, by promoting cellular turnover, and preventing plugging of hair follicles. Clinically, this results in smoother, softer skin,” she explains. "This stops working when the retinoid is stopped.” She says some examples of products commonly used are Renova, or Retin A., and Tazarotene.
VIDEO: Celebrities Who Have Struggled with Psoriasis
While I’m sticking to this tube until I run dry, there are other ways I can combat the prob. Dr. Wexler recommends exfoliation or creams containing alpha hydroxy acid, lactic acid, salicylic acid, or urea to help remove dead skin cells, moisturize, and also soften the skin.