Pediatric Keratosis Pilaris Medication

Updated: May 10, 2022
  • Author: Derek H Chu, MD; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
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Topical Skin Products

Class Summary

Alpha hydroxy acid is a normal constituent of tissues and blood. Acids act as humectants when applied topically and may decrease corneocyte cohesion.

Topically applied urea has a hygroscopic effect by increasing the water retention in skin. This helps to reduce pruritus.

Salicylic agents produce desquamation of the skin's horny layer. They are keratolytic at concentrations of 2-6%.

Salicylic acid topical (Clean & Clear Advantage, Neutrogena Acne Stress Control, Neutrogena Oil Free)

Salicylic acid topical removes excess keratin.

Ammonium lactate (Lac-Hydrin, AmLactin, Geri-Hydrolac 12)

Ammonium lactate is an emollient available in 225- and 400-g bottles and promotes hydration and removal of excess keratin. It contains lactic acid, an alpha-hydroxy acid that has keratolytic action, thus facilitating the release of comedones.

Urea cream 20% (Carmol 20, Ureacin 20, Gormel, DPM, Uramaxin)

Application of 20% urea promotes hydration and the removal of excess keratin.


Retinoid-like Agents

Class Summary

Retinoic acid decreases cohesiveness of follicular epithelial cells, stimulates mitotic activity, and increases turnover of follicular epithelial cells.

Tretinoin topical (Retin-A, Avita, Renova, Refissa)

Tretinoin topical reduces cohesion among keratinized cells.



Class Summary

These agents elicit anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive properties.

Triamcinolone topical ( Oralone, Triderm, Zytopic, Kenalog)

Triamcinolone topical is a moderate-potency steroid with anti-inflammatory properties. It treats inflammatory dermatoses that are responsive to steroids. It decreases inflammation by suppressing the migration of polymorphonuclear leukocytes and reversing capillary permeability.

Hydrocortisone topical (Cortaid, Cortizone,Westcort)

Hydrocortisone topical is a moderate-potency adrenocorticosteroid derivative suitable for application to skin or external mucous membranes. It has mineralocorticoid and glucocorticoid effects, resulting in anti-inflammatory activity.

Mometasone (Elocon)

Mometasone is a moderate-potency steroid with anti-inflammatory properties. It treats inflammatory dermatoses that are responsive to steroids. It inhibits the activity and release of factors responsible for the inflammatory process.