Dermatologists weigh in on popular hacks from the keratosis pilaris Reddit thread.
Let’s be real: r/skincareaddiction is an absolute goldmine for beauty lovers looking to discover skincare hacks. The subreddit always seems to have a pulse on everything, from inexpensive product dupes to the latest treatments for troublesome skin (hello, skin-gritting).
But one thread we’ve become particularly fascinated with is “The Keratosis Pilaris Holy Grail Thread,” which details clever “chicken skin cures” ranging from heavy-hitting products like Stridex pads to home remedies like coconut oil.
But before we jump into the keratosis pilaris Reddit thread, we should first explain what KP is. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, the skin condition is caused by the buildup of dead skin and keratin protein in the hair follicles. This results in tiny, dry, rough bumps on the skin that are typically found on the backs of the arms, legs, buttocks, or cheeks, and are often surrounded by patches of redness. Although the bumps can be annoying, they are harmless and pretty common in adults.
And while there is currently no “cure” for keratosis pilaris, there are plenty of things you can do to manage the skin condition. That’s where the Reddit thread comes in—it’s full of product recommendations, lifestyle changes, and helpful hacks to lessen the appearance of bumpy skin. But the question is, do they really work? From body brushing to chemical exfoliants, we asked skincare experts to weigh in on some of the thread’s most talked-about treatment ideas.
Keratosis Pilaris Reddit Hacks
Exfoliation is a common theme in this Reddit thread. And while the original poster suggested using a loofah to buff away dry skin cells, body brushing is also recommended before showering by user r/Cntessofmontecristo. “Body brushing three to five minutes before showering can help unclog blocked hair follicles associated with keratosis pilaris and provide essential exfoliation to dry and rough skin,” says board-certified dermatologist Debra Jaliman, MD. Using a body brush with natural fibers, gently massage affected areas while the skin is dry to slough off dead cells. Dr. Jaliman suggests moving your body brush in long, upwards strokes for best results.
A lot of Redditors also suggested using an adapalene gel. Typically used to treat acne, adapalene is a type of retinoid that affects the growth of skin cells and promotes cellular turnover, explains board-certified dermatologist Marie Hayag, MD. “Using it allows new skin cells to rise faster to the surface, flattening out skin bumps as a result.” As Reddit user r/Espressomaschine claims, applying adapalene at night knocks out any bumps on the upper arm area by the morning. However, proceed with caution as the powerful ingredient can cause peeling, itching, dryness, and/or sun sensitivity.
Virgin Coconut Oil
It’s not shocking that coconut oil popped in the keratosis pilaris Reddit thread. It’s praised for its natural ability to hydrate everything from skin to hair by locking in moisture. But that’s not all this nutrient-rich oil is good for. As Reddit user r/chordsimple (who loves using it on the arms and legs) pointed out, coconut oil contains lauric acid, which works to break down follicle-clogging keratin. Anya Stassiy, PA-C, founder of the New Jersey-based High Point Med Spa, confirm that coconut oil has both moisturizing and keratolytic benefits when applied topically.
Stridex pads are another favorite keratosis pilaris remedy found in the thread. In fact, Reddit user r/enternetfriend claims that using these pads regularly has prevented new bumps from appearing on the skin. “Some patients may benefit from Stridex pads that are formulated with salicylic acid, since it’s a keratolytic that promotes deep exfoliation,” says board-certified dermatologist Fayne L. Frey, MD, FAAD. “However, since some Stridex pads are actually formulated with alcohol instead of salicylic acid, they can be very drying to the skin, further exacerbating the problem.” If you want to give this product a shot, be sure to check the ingredient list first and only swipe over affected areas.
The enthusiasm for tretinoin is high in this thread, as Redditor r/kavush exclaimed it made her butt “SO SMOOTH.” However, dermatologists say to proceed with caution. “Tretinoin is a vitamin A derivative that is available by prescription only,” Dr. Frey explains, adding that it can help manage keratosis pilaris by “inhibiting keratin plug formation.” While some patients may find tretinoin helpful, others often find that the medication is too drying or that it actually exacerbates KP bumps instead of hindering them, she says.
Sulfur Soap Bars
Reddit user r/LopsidedZebra7 swears by using these cheap bars of soaps two to three times a week for keratosis pilaris treatment. Alas, Stassiy says sulfur soap bars can in fact be very beneficial to those struggling with the bumpy skin condition. “Because sulfur has a keratolytic effect, which helps to remove dead skin cells, using a sulfur bar soap may help unclog plugs and lessen the look of bumps,” she explains. “For the best results, combine it with other ingredients such as salicylic acid, lactic acid, lanolin or retinol.”
As with all “hacks,” it’s usually best to consult your doctor first and always to a patch test before trying something new on your skin.