Keratosis pilaris: an update and approach to management

Ital J Dermatol Venerol. 2023 Jun;158(3):217-223. doi: 10.23736/S2784-8671.23.07594-1. Epub 2023 May 11.


Keratosis pilaris (KP) is a common, hyperkeratotic skin condition characterized by small, folliculocentric papules with variable perifollicular erythema. We provide an updated review on the pathogenesis, clinical manifestations, and management of this common, and often annoying, finding. KP represents a family of follicular disorders, of which KP simplex is by far the most common. Other variants and rare subtypes include keratosis pilaris rubra, erythromelanosis follicularis faciei et colli, and the spectrum of keratosis pilaris atrophicans. Inherited mutations of the FLG gene and ABCA12 gene have been implicated etiologically. KP may be associated with ichthyosis vulgaris and palmar hyperlinearity, but less likely atopic dermatitis. Some potential differential diagnoses for KP include lichen spinulosus, phrynoderma, ichthyosis vulgaris, and trichostasis spinulosa. General cutaneous measures such as hydrating skin, avoiding long baths or showers, and using mild soaps or cleansers should be recommended. Topical keratolytic agents are first-line therapy, followed by topical retinoids and corticosteroids. Recent options include a variety of lasers and microdermabrasion if the patient is refractory to topical therapy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abnormalities, Multiple* / diagnosis
  • Abnormalities, Multiple* / pathology
  • Darier Disease* / diagnosis
  • Darier Disease* / genetics
  • Darier Disease* / therapy
  • Humans
  • Ichthyosis Vulgaris* / pathology
  • Skin

Supplementary concepts

  • Burnett Schwartz Berberian syndrome