The 7 Best Lotions For Keratosis Pilaris, According To A Dermatologist

Figuring out exactly which products to use for your skin type can be confusing enough, but add in a tricky condition like keratosis pilaris and you might feel completely lost. But when you finally find one of the best body lotions for keratosis pilaris things become a whole lot clearer — your skin included.

Keratosis pilaris, or KP for short, usually appears as small but persistent red bumps on your upper arms, outer thighs, butt, cheeks, and even eyebrows — but the good news is that there are simple ingredients that can help manage KP.

According to Dr. Faiyaaz Kalimullah and Dr. Kevin Cavanaugh, board-certified dermatologists at the Center for Dermatology and Aesthetic Medicine in Chicago, KP is a common genetic condition that's most often seen in children, but can last into adulthood. While the exact cause of KP remains unknown, they explain that "those with KP produce too much keratin" which causes plugs to form in the hair follicles, leading to those familiar bumps.

The dynamic dermatologist duo goes on to note that, genetics aside, it’s crucial that your skin care habits are in check, as an improper or neglected routine can exacerbate the symptoms of KP. Gentle cleansing, a mild acid exfoliator like AHA, BHA, or glycolic acid, and a daily dose of moisture are essential are all essential to managing KP.

These seven body lotions contain dermatologist-approved ingredients that help to dissolve keratin plugs and add a boost of hydration to dry skin.

1. An Ultra-Hydrating Cream Made With Urea

I asked Kalimullah and Cavanaugh for one of their top ingredients for soothing KP, and they chimed in with Urea as it has the ability to "gradually smooth out the skin" without causing irritation. This lotion is formulated with 10 percent urea to nourish and hydrate dry, itchy skin while gently exfoliating at the same time. Fun fact: Urea has been used by dermatologists for over 100 years!

2. A No-Frills Body Cream That Provides Serious Hydration

While it's important to be using products that dissolve the built up keratin (we'll get to that!) it's also essential that you're keeping your skin generally hydrated, too. “Because KP is so closely tied to dry skin, it's important to maintain proper skin hydration,” explained the duo.

3. A Fragrance-Free Lotion With AHA & Urea

While this cult-favorite lotion contains both derm-suggested urea and AHA to exfoliate and smooth out the skin, "you should also try to avoid products with fragrances or dyes, as these can often irritate dry, sensitive skin, suggests Kalimullah and Cavanaugh.

4. A Linoleic Acid-Rich Treatment That Prevents Moisture Loss While It Dissolves Keratin With BHA

There's another key ingredient to keep an eye out for when searching for a KP remedy that may not receive as much attention as others. "Linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid naturally found in plant oils like sunflower oil, has been shown to help improve the barrier function and prevent moisture-loss from the skin," explains Kalimullah and Cavanaugh. Moisturizers containing linoleic acid, such as this reviewer favorite from Paula's Choice — can be a good option for those with KP. It also contains 2 percent BHA (remember what the docs said about dissolving the keratin) and has been known to have a visible smoothing effect after just one use.

5. An Exfoliating AHA Cream That Nourishes Skin, Too

The doctors also explained that alpha hydroxy acids "help remove the excess keratin from hair follicles," and while many creams aimed at treating KP contain these natural acids, this cream (a gylcolic and lactic acid mix) also has soothing, nourishing, hydrating, and anti-inflammatory benefits due to the addition of green tea, Vitamins A and E, avocado oil, aloe leaf juice, and chamomile extract — that's one impressive blend!

6. A High-Strength Exfoliating Lotion With 17.5% Glycolic Acid

If you've tried a few things and you feel like it's not strong enough or you're becoming immune to the results, give this exfoliating lotion made with 17.5 percent glycolic acid a whirl. Samantha Conrad, MD, dermatologist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago suggests using a product with glycolic one-to-two times a day. Reviewers said that despite the high level of acid, they didn't experience any irritation.

7. A Lotion That Softens Skin With Vitamin A & Lactic Acid

This fast working KP cream relies on a combo of lactic acid and Vitamin A to dissolve rough skin. Conrad notes that regular use of products such as these is key to keeping KP at bay. This treatment is made with U.S. Pharmaceutical Grade raw materials — the highest grade for skin care products — so it's definitely worth experimenting with.

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