OUR SKIN: HOW I HELPED MY KERATOSIS PILARIS
Skin conditions aren't always just visible on the surface; many of us feel frustrated and deflated on the inside when experiencing a flare up, too. So, let's give a warm welcome to Our Skin Series, where members of our Tropic team who have truly been there (and got the proverbial T-shirt) talk to me about their relationship with their skin, and what has helped it stay happy and healthy over the years!
From eczema as a tiny tot to teenaged acne and scaliness in our senior years, our skin is constantly shifting and reshaping, much like our relationship with it. Where a single spot at school may warrant wild heights of humiliation, as we mature we often gain a greater understanding of our skin as a signal of what’s going on underneath, affording us a more respectful relationship with our body’s best protection.
However, it’s not always plain sailing, and some of us have no choice but to pay a little more attention to what’s going on up top. Skin conditions can work against the waves of our skin’s changing tides, creating a current of stress and frustration for those experiencing them. So, we thought we’d talk to a few members of HQ about their experiences with dermal conditions who are keen to help others in the same boat.
ELIZABETH KENNEDY, CONTENT MANAGER
Please can you tell me a little about your skin condition?
I’ve had keratosis pilaris on my arms since my early teens and it was only in my twenties that I really found products and techniques to reduce how visible it was. It’s usually worse in winter and I get red lumps, pimples, and sometimes when it’s particularly bad it looks a bit like I have a heat rash on my arms.
What did you previously use on your skin to alleviate your symptoms?
I used to use moisturising lotions when I was younger, not realising that what I really needed was to exfoliate more. I later started to use an exfoliating mitt, but I think I over exfoliated and often made the skin on my arms sore and irritated from all the scrubbing.
How did your skin condition make you feel?
I used to feel pretty self-conscious coming into summer months as I’d want to wear clothes that showed my arms, but I just felt like they looked bumpy and horrible. In hindsight, probably nobody noticed, but I remember being very aware of them at the time!
What products eventually worked for you?
One of the best things I’ve found for my keratosis pilaris (KP) is warmer weather and letting air get to my skin, but that can be tricky when I don't feel like getting my arms out! At the start of summer this year it was particularly bad because I think I’d been pretty relaxed about an exfoliating routine during lockdown.
I knew Clear Skies had worked really well at clearing blocked pores and bumpiness on my face, so I thought I may as well try it on my arms, and it worked so well! I apply it all over the tops of my arms for a minute and then rinse with a Bamboo Face Cloth in lukewarm water, gently exfoliating with the cloth as I go. Then, once my skin is dry I apply Perfect Skin. I do this every evening and my skin on my arms is now visibly more even and it feels so much smoother than before!
If you could give one piece of advice to someone who is feeling self-conscious of their keratosis pilaris now, what would it be?
I guess the first thing is that it’s super common, and there will almost definitely be another friend or family member you know who has it too, so you’re not the only one and they may have handy tips to share too. Secondly, anything you’re really self-conscious about probably isn’t on anyone else’s radar, so always remember to speak kindly to yourself and not be too hard on your skin!
And I guess my final tip would be that once you find a routine that helps, be sure to stick to it. If I get a bit lazy and drop mine for a week then I’m often back to square one, so set time aside each day to apply the products that work for you because it’s worth it in the long run!
Please note that all information provided in this article comes from one individual tackling their personal skin ups and downs. Any results from products used or lifestyle changes are unique to their own skin's reactions and might not work for everyone. If you are experiencing a skin condition, please speak to a doctor or dermatologist before using any product on your skin.