Keratosis Pilaris in Babies and Children

Most of us will agree that nothing smells better than a new baby and nothing is smoother than a baby’s bottom. That is unless your baby has what has been coined “chicken skin.” “Chicken skin,” aka Keratosis Pilaris, is a condition in which small acne like bumps appear on the skin leaving rough patches to the touch. These bumps are a buildup of keratin, which is the primary protein contained in the outer layer of the skin.

When the keratin builds up it blocks the follicle and creates these bumps, which are predominantly found on the back of arms, thighs, cheeks, and bottoms. Although it is often gone by age 30, it is common among children and teens. So what exactly is it that is causing this “chicken skin” looking rash?


The primary cause of Keratosis Pilaris is an internal imbalance below the skin, namely food allergies or intolerances. Skin conditions like this are indicative of internal organs not properly processing nutrients or toxins, resulting in a buildup under the skin. When the organs can not eliminate the toxin, they build up and are pushed outward to the skin, as an effort by the body to rid itself. At other times, a lack of nutrients can also cause a similar skin reaction.


So now that we got to the bottom of “chicken skin” how can we help to remedy this affliction and leave your baby with smooth skin once again?

  • Elimination Diet -  The most common denominator for Keratosis Pilaris is the inability to digest Casein, which is the protein found in dairy products. One can remove dairy from their diet and opt for alternatives, such as soy/vegan/almond when choosing milk or cheese. There are also many whey protein products that are casein-free as well. Another culprit is meat or animal products. However in terms of meat or animal products (including eggs) it is not necessary to become vegan, but instead just to reduce the amount consumed. Studies show that only in excess consumption will the skin be affected.
  • Eat a Gluten Free Diet -  While the evidence is not entirely conclusive there seem to be links between Celiac Disease and Keratosis Pilaris, as they have similar symptoms. Both conditions affect the skin and an inability to break down a protein (in Celiac it is gluten, while in Keratosis Pilaris it is Keratin). Removing gluten from the diet for at least 6 weeks may result in an improved skin condition.
  • Add Probiotics, Digestive Enzymes, and Vitamins - With knowledge that the body is not eliminating toxins or may be deficient in nutrients, it is important to find a way to better balance your body. Probiotics have been found to aid in rebuilding the flora in your intestines and digestive enzymes enhance nutrient absorption. Vitamin A deficiency has been linked to excess keratin buildup, so it is important to supplement or add vitamin A rich foods to your intake. Additionally, Vitamin C plays a critical role in reducing inflammation and collagen formation for healthy skin, thus making it an important vitamin in eliminating Keratosis Pilaris.

So go ahead and give these remedies a try. Perhaps it is time to say good-bye to “chicken skin” and hello to skin as smooth as a baby’s bottom!

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