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Pediatric Keratosis Pilaris Follow-up

  • Author: Derek H Chu, MD; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
Updated: Apr 07, 2014


Secondary bacterial infections can occur in traumatized lesions in individuals with keratosis pilaris.



The overall prognosis for patients is very good. Keratosis pilaris tends to improve over time, though it can persist with a waxing and waning course in some. Keratosis pilaris does not tend to leave scars.

A study performed by Poskitt demonstrated the following course[2] :

  • The condition dramatically improves in approximately 35% of patients, usually by late adolescence (mean age of improvement is 16 yrs).
  • The condition remains unchanged from the time of diagnosis in approximately 43% of patients.
  • Approximately 20% of patients experience a worsening of symptoms over time.
  • Approximately 50% experience a worsening of symptoms during wintertime, but only 60% of those who worsen improve over summertime.

Patient Education

Reassurance and gentle skin care are the most important recommendations the clinician can offer.

Contributor Information and Disclosures

Derek H Chu, MD Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Dermatology, Stanford University School of Medicine

Derek H Chu, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Dermatology, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Medical Association, Society for Pediatric Dermatology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Specialty Editor Board

Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference

Disclosure: Received salary from Medscape for employment. for: Medscape.

Robert A Schwartz, MD, MPH Professor and Head of Dermatology, Professor of Pathology, Pediatrics, Medicine, and Preventive Medicine and Community Health, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School; Visiting Professor, Rutgers University School of Public Affairs and Administration

Robert A Schwartz, MD, MPH is a member of the following medical societies: Alpha Omega Alpha, New York Academy of Medicine, American Academy of Dermatology, American College of Physicians, Sigma Xi

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Chief Editor

Dirk M Elston, MD Professor and Chairman, Department of Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery, Medical University of South Carolina College of Medicine

Dirk M Elston, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Dermatology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Additional Contributors

Andrea Leigh Zaenglein, MD Professor of Dermatology and Pediatrics, Department of Dermatology, Hershey Medical Center, Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine

Andrea Leigh Zaenglein, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Dermatology, Society for Pediatric Dermatology

Disclosure: Received consulting fee from Galderma for consulting; Received consulting fee from Valeant for consulting; Received consulting fee from Promius for consulting; Received consulting fee from Anacor for consulting; Received grant/research funds from Stiefel for investigator; Received grant/research funds from Astellas for investigator; Received grant/research funds from Ranbaxy for other; Received consulting fee from Ranbaxy for consulting.


Mark A Crowe, MD Assistant Clinical Instructor, Department of Medicine, Division of Dermatology, University of Washington School of Medicine

Mark A Crowe, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Dermatology and North American Clinical Dermatologic Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Steven J Escobar, MD Staff, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Naval Medical Center, San Diego

Steven J Escobar, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Chest Physicians, American College of Physicians, and Society of Critical Care Medicine

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

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  2. Poskitt L, Wilkinson JD. Natural history of keratosis pilaris. Br J Dermatol. 1994 Jun. 130(6):711-3. [Medline].

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  7. Al-Maawali A, Marshall CR, Scherer SW, Dupuis L, Mendoza-Londono R, Stavropoulos DJ. Clinical characteristics in patients with interstitial deletions of chromosome region 12q21-q22 and identification of a critical region associated with keratosis pilaris. Am J Med Genet A. 2014 Mar. 164(3):796-800. [Medline].

  8. Sallakachart P, Nakjang Y. Keratosis pilaris: a clinico-histopathologic study. J Med Assoc Thai. 1987 Jul. 70(7):386-9. [Medline].

  9. Novick NL. Practical management of widespread, atypical keratosis pilaris. J Am Acad Dermatol. 1984 Aug. 11(2 Pt 1):305-6. [Medline].

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  11. Breithaupt AD, Alio A, Friedlander SF. A comparative trial comparing the efficacy of tacrolimus 0.1% ointment with Aquaphor ointment for the treatment of keratosis pilaris. Pediatr Dermatol. 2011 Jul-Aug. 28(4):459-60. [Medline].

  12. Saelim P, Pongprutthipan M, Pootongkam S, Jariyasethavong V, Asawanonda P. Long-pulsed 1064-nm Nd:YAG laser significantly improves keratosis pilaris: a randomized, evaluator-blind study. J Dermatolog Treat. 2012 Mar 4. [Medline].

  13. Alcántara González J, Boixeda P, Truchuelo Díez MT, Fleta Asín B. Keratosis pilaris rubra and keratosis pilaris atrophicans faciei treated with pulsed dye laser: report of 10 cases. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2011 Jun. 25(6):710-4. [Medline].

Keratosis pilaris occurs most commonly on the lateral upper arms and upper thighs.
The lesions of keratosis pilaris are evenly spaced, consistent with the follicular origin of this disorder.
Close examination of keratosis pilaris shows keratotic papules associated with hair follicles. Keratinocytes at the follicular orifice are retained, producing keratin plugs.
Bacteria associated with the follicular papules of keratosis pilaris may cause some lesions to become erythematous or pustular.
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