An Expert Tells Us What Chicken Skin Is—and How to Cure It

If you ended up here, we're willing to bet that you or someone you know has keratosis pilaris, or, as it's commonly referred to, chicken skin.

So, what exactly is chicken skin, and why do some of us get it? Are there any treatments available? We had all sorts of pressing questions, so we went to the one resource we knew would have all of the answers—a skincare expert! We sat down with Celeste Hilling, founder and CEO of Skin Authority, and she told us all about chicken skin. Keep reading to see what she had to say and what products she recommends.

Sweety High: What exactly is keratosis pilaris and why is it often referred to as "chicken skin"?

Celeste Hilling: Keratosis pilaris (also called "chicken skin") are actually plugged follicles where dead skin has capped off the follicle which incubates hardened bacteria and sebum. The result is that it looks like pimples, raised red or clear bumps on the skin.


SH: Is keratosis pilaris curable?

CH: There is no "cure," however, most people will outgrow it by the time they are in their 30s. However, it is treatable and appearance can be greatly diminished. Dry climate indoors or out can increase the activity or appearance of the keratosis pilaris. Although there are prescription lotions which can be prescribed, many over-the-counter solutions work just as well and are often less drying.


SH: What are the best ways to treat keratosis pilaris?

CH: There are daily lifestyle habits you can take to reduce the appearance of keratosis pilaris, even though these tips may not eliminate the occurrence:

  • Avoid using hot water or taking lengthy (no more than 8 minutes) baths and showers as this will remove moisture from skin.
  • Avoid harsh physical scrubs which can tear and irritate the skin making the pilaris worse. Use gentle AHA cleansers with no or small cleansing particles. Gently pat dry with towels after versus rubbing skin dry.
  • Utilize a pure glycolic cream of 20% on the body as this will help loosen and remove dead skin cells. The molecule of glycolic is smaller than salicylic acid and less drying to the skin so it tends to work more quickly. It will exfoliate and hydrate in one step.
  • Use a humidifier to keep skin moist and prevent dryness.
  • Avoid tight clothing which can cause irritation from rubbing on the skin.


SH: What products would you recommend for combatting keratosis pilaris?

CH: I recommend these products:

Skin Authority Exfoliating Cleanser: $42



Skin Authority Instant Perfection Peel Pads: $49


Skin Authority Illuminating Body Peel Cream: $49


Love skincare as much as we do? Look HERE to find out which skincare habits are actually damaging your skin.