Medically speaking, keratosis pilaris is not a serious skin condition. It is quite a serious aesthetic problem though. About its treatment, there is some good news for those who prefer the natural approach. There are some great essential oils for keratosis pilaris that can be used with carrier oils for an efficient synergy.
Here are the topics you’ll find details about:
- A few words about the way essential oils act on keratosis pilaris (KP) and their benefits for the skin.
- Pros and cons about some of the best aromatic oils that can be used to improve or even treat some forms of KP.
- Pros and cons about the best carrier oils for keratosis pilaris, and what makes them so.
- How to use these oils for the best results, no matter the season.
- Recipes with all the mentioned oils for a strong synergy blend to deal with KP.
- More info on keratosis pilaris plus some medical facts and discoveries. And a few safety words about the use of Aromatherapy ingredients as natural remedies.
- Finally, some useful tips to improve and prevent this condition naturally and effortlessly.
Short Intro and the Best Essential Oils for Keratosis Pilaris
The name of this skin disorder may sound a little too pretentious for what it actually is. Keratosis pilaris is also known as KP or chicken skin. It is represented by some keratinous plugs in the pores of follicles. Keratin is the enzyme that makes the skin, nails and hair.
Those plugs will prevent the hair from growing normally. That is how you get ingrown hairs. Blocked pores can also get inflamed and cause a painful rash.
Nonetheless, KP is usually harmless; only its appearance is bothersome. It makes people take immediate action, especially when the summer season is nearing.
The upper exterior of the arms, the neck, the buttocks and the legs are the most affected areas of the body.
Dry skin is the most common cause for keratosis pilaris. That’s why natural oils are such a great natural remedy for most skin disorders, including KP.
Vegetable oils or carriers are fats that hydrate and nourish the skin. They contain lots of essential fatty acids that help the skin regenerate. They also maintain it elastic and protected against external damaging factors.
Essential oils are volatile aromatic essences extracted from various plant or fruit parts. They are very concentrated, so they always need to be diluted with a carrier before being applied topically.
Both types of oils work a lot better if they’re combined. Carriers and essential oils for keratosis pilaris can:
- Maintain the skin soft, smooth and nourished.
- They can also maintain it elastic and hydrated.
- With their help, the skin can maintain its protective barrier intact.
- Essential oils have the power to kill bacteria, germs, fungi and viruses.
- They can also relieve any itchiness that KP might cause.
- Both carriers and essential oils may act as astringents. That can help the pimples dry out and prevent further inflammation.
- Redness and irritation can also be soothed by using essential oils for keratosis pilaris.
- Some oils have cooling effects, which help with inflammation, redness and itchiness.
I will begin with the best essential oils that can help with keratosis pilaris.
1) Tea Tree Essential Oil
This oil is one of the most popular essential oils out there. Cosmetics and skin care industries use it in their products for all sorts of problems. Studies also show it has an impressive effect on many bacteria and viruses. For example, it is good against P. acnes, Staphylococcus Aureus and Candida.
- Tea Tree oil can be used for keratosis pilaris in a simple and safe manner. It is very accessible and affordable.
- The oil of Tea Tree has been found effective in the treatment of psoriasis and eczema. This means it can stop the itching or burning sensations, and soothe the pain.
- It is highly antibacterial and anti-inflammatory, which helps in preventing KP infections.
- The oil of Tea Tree has other close relatives, so you mustn’t confuse it this way. You’ll need the Melaleuca alternifolia variety for keratosis pilaris.
- The smell of this oil may be too medicinal and unpleasant for some. Nonetheless, its skin benefits make it a must-have oil in your first-aid cabinet.
Why I like it:
Since it is so popular and safe to use in moderate amounts, I like to use Tea Tree essential oil in my keratosis pilaris blends. I always have it on hand, so it’s easy to go to for all sorts of other skin problems, not just KP.
2) Lavender Essential Oil
Another very popular essential oil in skin care, Lavender is very gentle to the skin. That and its other benefits make Lavender beloved among aromatherapists. Almost all natural remedies contain this oil, because it actually is good at a lot of things.
- Lavender oil for the treatment and relief of keratosis pilaris is non-irritant.
- It can soothe inflammation, itching and burning sensations.
- Lavender can also help the skin cells regenerate and build back their protective barrier.
- The oil also protects against infections.
- It can easily be adulterated with one or more of its close relatives. It is usually mixed with Spike Lavender and sold as true Lavender oil.
- The true variety you’ll want for KP treatment is Lavandula angustifolia. Make sure you buy your oils from a reputable source.
- It is possible to cause allergies. It’s best to perform a skin patch test before use.
Why I like it:
I like to put a few drops of a Lavender mix on my legs before and after I shave. That usually prevents my skin from becoming bumpy. If there’s an open wound around, the oil can prevent further inflammation or infection. If your skin is also sensitive, then the oil of Lavender is a great choice for keratosis pilaris as it is non-irritant.
You could also choose between other great essential oils for keratosis pilaris:
This skin disorder asks for a lot of moisturizing, and the best natural solution is the use of carrier oils. Plus, essential oils also need them for a good blending. Let’s see which ones are the best and what makes them so.
Best Carrier Oils for Keratosis Pilaris
We cannot talk about a good KP treatment or prevention method unless we also talk about carrier oils. They make great keratosis pilaris moisturizers.
What’s even better is that they are natural and don’t have side effects. There is no risk of using too much, although, your skin will give you clear signs when it’s fully saturated.
1) Coconut Oil
One of the best carriers for keratosis pilaris is Coconut oil. It is solid at room temperature but it melts right away when touched.
It is a very popular beauty ingredient in most skin care products, commercial or homemade. Coconut oil makes a very nice lather in homemade soaps as well.
- Coconut oil is highly nutritious and emollient. Thus, it can hydrate the skin and maintain it that way. Hydration will also contribute to maintaining the skin elastic.
- The oil contains a fatty acid called Lauric acid. This one can dissolve those keratin plugs that block the pores.
- Coconut has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. That makes it good at reducing irritation and redness. It is good at preventing inflammations or infections of the hair follicles too.
- It absorbs really well into the skin.
- Coconut oil is comedogenic. It has a rating of 4 out 5, which means that the oil is not really recommended for keratosis pilaris on face. The complexion is much more sensitive than any other body area and the pores can clog very fast.
- You must pay attention to the oil’s label and how it was extracted. The best version of Coconut oil for keratosis pilaris (chicken skin) is the cold pressed, unrefined oil. Cold preserves all its nutrients, acids and vitamins intact.
Why I like it:
For me, Coconut is universal so I have it on hand whenever I need it. It’s easy to apply it pure or mixed with essential oils on all the KP affected areas. It is very moisturizing, so if you have a dry skin, like I usually have in the winter, Coconut oil is great for keratosis pilaris prevention or improvement.
2) Olive Oil
This oil doesn’t even need an introduction. It is so popular and healthy, that almost every person has it in their kitchens. Its health benefits have been proved over and over again. Luckily, it is incredibly good for the skin as well.
- Olive oil has some great anti-inflammatory properties because it contains Omega 3. These omegas are known to inhibit inflammation inside and outside the body.
- It also contains squalene, a very moisturizing fatty acid. It has antibacterial properties that make the oil only mildly comedogenic. This feature may help if you want to treat keratosis pilaris on the face.
- Olive oil is a good carrier oil for keratosis pilaris because it also has antioxidant properties.
- It is very accessible and easy to use. You probably already have it in your pantry.
- The best Olive oil is the extra-virgin, first hand cold pressed oil.
- Make sure you don’t have any bad reactions to this oil before applying all over the skin.
Why I like it:
Whenever I run out of Coconut oil, I can always count on Olive oil to moisturize my skin. It nourishes the hair roots and the shafts, allowing the hair to grow normally. The use of Olive oil for keratosis pilaris will give you a better understanding on how it can help your affected skin.
Olive oil works even better when you combine it with the above mentioned essential oils for keratosis pilaris.
Another very good oil for KP is Hemp oil. It contains the perfect balance between omegas 6 and 3. That makes it great at soothing, preventing and/or treating keratosis pilaris on face or body.
How to Use Carriers and Essential Oils for Keratosis Pilaris
I’d say essential oils were made to be used in combination with carrier oils. This can be interpretable of course. What I know is that you need a carrier oil at hand to blend it with an essential oil.
That is to avoid irritation and redness, or even sensitization. The thing with a sensitive skin area is that it will never recover. Thus making it always react whenever the essential oil that made it that way is applied.
Using Coconut and Olive oils for keratosis pilaris can be as simple as you want to make it. But the best results will appear after using a blend.
For a blend with essential oils for keratosis pilaris, you can mix 12 – 18 drops of essential oils/ Oz carrier oil. This dosage can be more or less, depending on the severity of the KP.
Blends should be applied on the affected area at least two times a day, and always after shower.
Keratosis Pilaris Remedies with Essential Oils
This section contains a few very easy to make blends to help you soothe and get rid of that chicken skin. Even though the problem usually comes back, it is also easy to keep it under control or prevent it.
Remember that dry skin promotes keratosis pilaris! Keep your skin hydrated at all times.
The following recipes for keratosis pilaris can all be used in the exact order I wrote them. The first is an intensive “mask” treatment. The second is a good rinse and the third is the final step, a good moisturizer.
#1 – Concentrated Remedy for Keratosis Pilaris with Essential Oils
- Tea Tree EO: 6 drops
- Lavender EO: 8 drops
- Coconut oil: 2 tablespoons
- Olive oil: 2 tablespoons
- Sour cream: 2 tablespoons
- Aspirin: 1
Mix the carrier oils, add the sour cream and stir really well. Add the essential oils and stir again. Finally, crush the aspirin and add it to your blend.
Stir all these ingredients really well again and apply with a cotton pad on all the affected areas. This treatment is best used before shower. Keep it on for at least half an hour. You can repeat once or twice a week.
Lactic acid and salicylic acid are known to remove the excess keratin inside the hair follicles and pores.
#2 – Keratosis Pilaris Rinse Lotion
- Apple cider vinegar: 1 Oz (30ml)
- Fractionated Coconut oil: 2 tablespoons
- Water: 1 Oz (30ml)
Shake this mixture really well before each application. Use a cotton pad to apply all over the affected areas, right after rinsing off the previous mask.
Let it dry for 10 – 15 minutes and wash off again. Use only mild soaps or just warm water (not hot). Pat dry and apply the next lotion recipe as the last step.
This Keratosis pilaris apple cider vinegar with Coconut oil remedy has many benefits. First of all, the apple cider vinegar is astringent and eliminates the excess keratin within the follicles.
It is also anti-inflammatory just like the Coconut. The latter fills in the pores with nutritional fatty acids and hydrates deeply.
#3 – Moisturizing Lotion for Keratosis Pilaris with Lavender Essential Oil
- Olive oil: 1 tablespoon
- Hemp oil: 2 tablespoons
- Lavender EO: 10 drops
Store this blend in a glass recipient, preferably a roll-on bottle. Shake it well before each use and apply a moderate amount on the affected skin. Apply this blend daily, at least two times.
You can also add in this blend other essential oils for keratosis pilaris relief. But the simple one I just gave you will be a solid base for any other blends you’d like to try.
Causes and Medical Facts about Keratosis Pilaris (Plus Safety Tips)
What is Keratosis Pilaris?
KP is a harmless skin condition with bumps and ingrown hairs on the epidermis. As I said before, this skin condition is usually caused by dry skin. Eczema and psoriasis can also add to the development of KP. Its symptoms are:
- White or red bumps on the arms, legs, buttocks, thighs and face (cheeks).
- Other skin areas may also be affected. For instance, the neck.
- Dry and scaly skin.
- Occasional itchiness.
Keratosis pilaris develops in childhood and peak during teenage years. It can disappear once you grow older, especially after the age of 30. But it is not a rule, and some people may never get rid of it for good.
KP is more unaesthetic than a true health concern. Luckily, it can also be remedied and prevented with natural oils and a few healthy habits.
There are three different types of keratosis pilaris:
- Simple or white KP – The bumps are white and they don’t itch. They can appear on the face, buttocks and arms. It becomes more intense during cold seasons because of a lack of a proper humidity, hydration and fabric friction.
- Red or rubra KP – this one can be inherited. The bumps are always red, and they may cause itchiness and leave scars.
- Acquired KP – This type of keratosis pilaris can develop from the contact with certain materials or substances. A deficiency in vitamins A and C may also cause this type of KP. It can be seen on face, elbows, hands and buttocks.
Keratosis pilaris affects about 40% of the adult population and more than 50% of teenagers. It does not debilitate physically and it doesn’t threaten the life of people. But it can have deep social and psychological impact on those who have it.
KP was thought to be caused by an abnormal keratinization process in the follicles. New medical data however, proves that it is more of a hair shaft problem.
Honestly, I can see how the hair shaft theory would hold. I would agree mainly because I get keratosis pilaris on my legs at a short time after epilating. Luckily, if I use the right carriers and essential oils for keratosis pilaris, it usually goes away.
Safety Words and Tips for Good Keratosis Pilaris Practices
People are creatures of habits, and unfortunately not all of them are healthy. When it comes to skin care, these habits must be as correct and beneficial as possible.
- Maintain an optimal hydration in your body and skin. The latter can be done by using carrier oils for KP.
- Apply moisturizers every day.
- Use lukewarm water when showering or bathing. Hot water dries out the skin and makes it more sensitive and prone to infections.
- Try to limit your bathing time to 10 minutes.
- Use a humidifier during the cold season. Essential oil diffusers can be a great choice to maintain the air moist and purified.
- Once a month, scrub your skin gently to remove dead cells and allow new ones to surface.
- Try to have a balanced diet and take supplements of vitamins A, C, D and E. Omega fatty acid supplements are also welcome.
- Use only natural remedies for your keratosis pilaris. Commercial products or pharmaceuticals may only aggravate the situation, though it’s not always a rule.
- Use pure and organic Aromatherapy oils for your blends.
- Don’t over-saturate your skin with lotions and blends.
- Do not take essential oils internally without medical advice.
- Avoid essential oils if you’re pregnant or nursing. Or at least do a thorough research in advance before using them.
- Handle the keratosis pilaris carefully. Scrubbing or scratching the tiny bumps may cause infections and prolong the recovery.
Natural ingredients can nourish the damaged skin. They can hydrate it and protect it from damaging factors until it is able to function at full capacity. Carrier oils can help the skin strengthen its protective barrier.
The use of essential oils for keratosis pilaris can also get you rid of bacteria. They will soothe all sorts of inflammation, among so many other things.
The best part about these natural remedies is that they are cheaper and better than almost any other solution. Have you ever tried carriers and essential oils to treat keratosis pilaris? How did it go?