Bumpy arms, bobbly thighs, speckled face. Sound familiar? If so, you may have a harmless skin condition called keratosis pilaris, a.k.a. chicken or strawberry skin. You are amongst the 50-80% of teens or 40% of adults who have this condition.
Keratosis pilaris is simply caused by a build-up of keratin (the main protein in your skin) at the opening of hair follicles. This causes a pointy plug on the surface of the skin, like little keratin mountains climbing up the base of the hair. This causes bumpy, rough skin with a rash-like appearance.
While it's nothing to be ashamed of, the rough texture can sometimes catch on jumpers or other textured clothing and feel pretty uncomfortable. Unfortunately, there isn't a magic cure to banish strawberry skin forever, however, there are things you can do to keep it under control. Just like you can't take one shower and be clean forever, the key is to weave your anti-strawberry skin regime into your weekly self-care routine.
1. Use a gentle body wash
Regular body wash can really dry out your skin, which won't be at all helpful if you have keratosis pilaris. Switching to a fragrance-free, gentle body wash can really help to reduce the dryness you can feel after using a fragranced body wash.
Sanex Dermo Micellar Hypoallergenic Shower Gel, Buy Here
2. Use products containing AHAs and BHAs
If you don't know about AHAs and BHAs, you better get used to them because they are about to become your best friends. They stand for alpha hydroxy acids and beta hydroxy acids, and they do absolute wonders for strawberry skin.
AHAs are water-soluble, so work on the surface of your skin. They act like a gentle chisel on your skin, releasing the dead skin cells which have built up around the hair follicles. Once this dead skin has been removed, it reveals the newer, smoother skin underneath and allows moisturiser to penetrate.
BHAs are oil-soluble, so can hitch a lift with your natural oils and sebum, deeper into the hair follicle. Once inside, the BHAs unclogs the follicle, clearing out the keratin build up and drawing out excess oils, reducing strawberry skin and acne.
The best way to spot products with AHAs and BHAs is to look for lactic acid, glycolic acid and/or salicylic acid in the ingredients list. The higher up the list, the more concentrated it will be. These acids are safe for your skin, but they are still acids so need to be used carefully. A good rule of thumb is to use weaker solutions every other day and stronger solutions no more than 2-3 times per week. If you start to notice your skin becoming tender or sore, reduce the frequency of application.
• Best BHA Budget: Boots Ingredients Salicylic Acid Serum- £7
• Best BHA Concentrated: Nip and Fab Salicylic Fix Tonic 2%- £19.95
• Best BHA Topical: Mario Badescu Drying Lotion- £15.50
•Best AHA Budget: Me+ AHA Booster- £7.99
•Best AHA Peel: Versed Shortcut Overnight Facial Peel- £9.50
•Best AHA Concentrated: Nip and Fab Glycolic Fix Liquid Glow- £29.95
•Best Budget Body Lotion: Palmer's Cocoa Butter Anti-Aging Smoothing Lotion- £4.49
•Best AHA Body Lotion: Pixi Glycolic Body Lotion- £24
•Best Scented Body Lotion: Soap and Glory Sugar Crush Body Lotion- £10
•Best Overall Body Lotion: CeraVe Smoothing Cream- £12
One final tip before we go, although it may be tempting to scrub your skin within an inch of its life, please don't! The goal isn't to sand down to surface, you want to unclog below the skin. Scrubbing hard with a sugar scrub or harsh loofah can just make your skin inflamed and sore. Stick to the exfoliants and find the combination of AHAs and BHAs that works best for your skin type.