I believe many of us have experienced having small bumps on our faces, and we usually think they are closed comedones or acne. However, there’s another possibility, known as follicular keratosis. It differs from acne and is a common misconception in skincare. So, in the field of medical aesthetics, what methods do we have to improve this issue?

    Follicular keratosis, commonly referred to as chicken skin, is also known as follicular eczema or follicular keratosis disease. It is a chronic follicular keratotic skin condition and is classified as an autosomal dominant inherited disorder. Histologically, follicular keratosis represents abnormal keratinization of the hair follicles.

    The cause of follicular keratosis, also known as keratosis pilaris or chicken skin(quotes from therapeutique-dermatologique.org), is primarily genetic, with most people inheriting it. However, there are some acquired factors that can contribute to its development:

    Inadequate and prolonged makeup removal and cleansing.

    Photodamage, such as excessive sun exposure.

    Over-cleansing, which can damage the skin barrier.

    Skin dryness and dehydration.

    Hormonal changes, especially during adolescence when increased sebum production can lead to clogged pores, further thickening of the keratin layer.

    Follicular Keratosis Specific Symptoms

    Follicular keratosis often manifests as small, closely-grouped follicular keratotic papules. These papules can feel rough, resembling the texture of a file, and are usually of normal skin color or pale red. Typically, the condition is more pronounced during the winter, with a reduction in symptoms during the summer. In the winter, it may also be accompanied by itching. The most common occurrence in daily life is the presence of small, semi-transparent grains on the sides of the nose.

    In addition to the mentioned symptoms, there can be other manifestations of follicular keratosis, including red patches on the sides of a man’s temples, redness of the pores on the cheeks, redness on the shoulders, forearms, shins, and many people may have redness resembling chicken skin on their arms. Determining if you have follicular keratosis is relatively simple. It presents as a small keratin plug at the opening of the hair follicle or small to pinhead-sized keratotic papules, sometimes accompanied by surrounding redness. It can be observed with the naked eye, and a simple touch can usually confirm it.

    Follicular Keratosis Affected Population

    In terms of gender distribution, it is more common in females than in males. Regarding age, the highest incidence is among children and adolescents, but as individuals age, the rash may gradually improve. In terms of seasons, it tends to worsen during the winter and is relatively less severe in the summer.

    Treatment for Follicular Keratosis

    Clinically, around 40% to 80% of adolescents may experience various degrees of follicular keratosis(sources from therapeutique-dermatologique.org), with most showing symptoms by the age of 10 or earlier. Since the exact cause cannot be confirmed, it cannot be completely cured. However, modern technology can significantly improve the condition. Using the Hydrafacial 3-step process, combined with a glycolic acid regimen, is a common treatment approach.