Rough, bumpy patches on your skin, otherwise known as Keratosis pilaris or “chicken skin,” can be a total pain. The good news, however, is that it’s a totally normal, common, and harmless condition, and there are some things you can do to better manage it.

“Keratosis pilaris is something I see every day in my practice,” says Heather Downes, a board-certified dermatologist. “It’s a largely hereditary condition where scaly, pink bumps occur at the hair follicles. The most common place for Keratosis pilaris is the backs of the upper arms, but I also commonly see it on the thighs. Keratosis pilaris can be a lifelong problem for some. Since there’s no cure for it, I recommend strategies that minimize its appearance.”

So if you’re dealing with Keratosis pilaris, follow the expert tips below.

Avoid foods that cause flare-ups
It’s no secret that what you eat can affect every part of your body. When your gut microbiome isn’t healthy and well-balanced, it can affect your immune system responses and lead to the development of skin issues. To help manage Keratosis pilaris, Sharon Holand Gelfand, a functional diagnostic nutritionist, suggests being mindful of the food you’re eating. “I recommend keeping a journal and writing down what you eat and paying attention to when you have flare-ups,” she says. “You may have a food sensitivity and a damaged gut. Focus on shifting from processed food products to foods that are anti-inflammatory.”

We know it’s tempting to want to scrub the bumps off, but doing so will only irritate the skin and make the bumps look redder and more visible. Instead, Downes recommends washing with a mild, non-irritating cleanser such as Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser. Be sure to wash with just warm water as hot water can make it worse.

When you’re dealing with Keratosis pilaris, it’s super important to moisturize. Downes suggests using a daily moisturizer right after each shower when your skin is still damp. “My go-to moisturizer is DerMend Alpha + Beta Hydroxy Lotion,” she says. “The alpha and beta hydroxy acids in it exfoliate and smooth the skin. It’s like magic.” Keep in mind that this moisturizer is strong, so it works best for arms and legs.

Keep your skin protected
Lactic acid-based products are often recommended becuase lactic acid can help to break down excess keratin in the skin, but it can also make your skin more susceptible to sun damage. If you’re using a lactic acid-based product, be sure to keep your skin protected by always applying SPF.

Try an over-the-counter treatment
If you need something a little stronger, try talking to your dermatologist about over-the-counter treatment options. Boris Zaks, a Beverly Hills-based dermatologist, suggests Differin Gel. “It’s officially approved for acne because it works to exfoliate or peel away the top layer of the skin,” he says. Plus, you only need to use two to three pea-sized amounts at night and wash it off in the morning.

One thing that might help improve your skin? Skin fasting. Here’s everything you need to know.

xx, The FabFitFun Team