Keratosis Pilaris Exfoliating Cream (DIY Recipe)

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Keratosis Pilaris Exfoliating Cream-DIY Recipe
Wellness Mama » Blog » Beauty » Keratosis Pilaris Exfoliating Cream (DIY Recipe)

Have you ever noticed unsightly little red bumps on your skin? If so, they may be a condition called keratosis pilaris. Conventional treatments for the issue can be rather harsh on the skin, but there are natural options. This keratosis pilaris exfoliating cream helps moisturize and exfoliate for clearer skin.

What Is Keratosis Pilaris?

Also nicknamed “chicken skin,” keratosis pilaris is an unsightly skin condition that manifests as red patches and bumps. It resembles goosebumps and appears most often on the back of the arms and thighs. They feel rough like sandpaper and are very small, about the size of a salt grain. Sometimes they occur on the face and can be mistaken for acne. There may also be redness around the bumps that varies from light pink to bright red.

What Causes Keratosis Pilaris?

No one is exactly sure what triggers these little red bumps, but certain groups of people and those with dry skin are more prone to them. Pregnant women, overweight people, and those with eczema or dry skin are more likely to have keratosis pilaris.

Skin naturally contains the protein keratin, and about 50% of us are genetically predisposed to overproducing this protein. When excess keratin becomes trapped inside the hair follicle, it forms a rough, raised plug. These clogged hair follicles then cause inflammation, turning the surrounding skin red.

How to Get Rid of “Chicken Skin”

Since the hair follicles are plugged with excessive keratin, gently exfoliating the area will help clear them out. (Don’t use anything too rough however, as that can just further irritate the skin.) It’s also important to moisturize the skin, as the problem is caused by overly dry skin in the first place. Using anti-inflammatory products will soothe the skin and tame the accompanying redness.

Conventional treatments typically involve steroids, but here we’re using the potent anti-inflammatory benefits of turmeric and lavender essential oil.

Use the Right Ingredients

This recipe for keratosis pilaris cream uses baking soda and several other natural ingredients to exfoliate the skin. All ingredients have a finer particle size that’s gentler and very cleansing for dry skin.

  • Baking soda has a very high pH of 9 though, which makes it very alkalizing. Long-term this can cause a problem, as skin is naturally acidic with a pH that ranges between 4 to 5.5.
  • Citric acid makes the mixture more skin-friendly, with its pH of 2.2 to help balance the recipe out. (Just make sure to look for non-GMO citric acid, see below.)
  • Some Himalayan sea salt provides extra exfoliating power and nourishes the skin with dozens of minerals.
  • Turmeric powder also provides some exfoliation but primarily decreases inflammation.
  • Lavender essential oil further soothes irritated skin and decreases inflammation.
  • Unrefined coconut oil rounds out the recipe to hold it all together and get that creamy consistency. Coconut oil is high in lauric acid, an intense fatty acid that helps break up excess keratin.

Apply Consistently

It’s important to use this cream consistently to improve the appearance of keratosis pilaris, a few times a week or even daily for those prone to frequent outbreaks. Well exfoliated skin will be less likely to accumulate the dead skin cells and keratin that plug hair follicles.

Keratosis Pilaris Cream Recipe



  1. In a small bowl combine all of the ingredients and stir thoroughly. As you stir, the coconut oil will become creamier in consistency.
  2. Stir until well combined, then store it in a glass jar.
  3. To use, thoroughly rub the cream over the affected area, then rinse with warm water.

Tips for Using

  • Coconut oil may be too heavy a moisturizer for some facial skin types. Some people seem to do really well with it, while others get bad breakouts when using it on the face. You can follow the cream up with a gentle soap if you find that it doesn’t agree with you. Alternatively, you can omit the coconut oil entirely and use 2 tablespoons of another oil like olive oil.
  • Those with very light colored skin may find that the turmeric gives their skin a yellow tinge. If that happens, wash the keratosis pilaris cream off with soap, which should take care of it.

Are you affected by keratosis pilaris? Have you ever found a remedy, and what did you use? I’d love to hear!

Ever notice little red bumps on the backs of your arms? It is a skin condition called keratosis pilaris. Learn how to make a simple cream to combat it.
Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


91 responses to “Keratosis Pilaris Exfoliating Cream (DIY Recipe)”

  1. Shasha Avatar

    Hi, Any gluten may hurt a person for 1 1/2 months or longer. You may have been low in nutrients when pregnant. Cows milk is not alive. When people are hurt by gluten, dairy may also hurt. I got seizures from dairy. I stopped dairy 10 years before I stopped gluten. Gluten is wheat/barley/rye…oats/corn/rice. Some people are grain free. Premade gluten free food/nuts not sold in the shell/meat basting/some spices/food with a label may hurt. Organic pure foods may help. Casein/ certain fat may hurt. Some may handle cheese. Cheese hurt me. Some soft serve ice cream may have wheat in it. Weston Price site may help for kids. You can get chewable vitamins on Amazon. Cheating with gluten may hurt a person for a long time. I can have white rice, but it is very low in nutrients. No Grain No Pain by Peter Osborne is a great book. Best wishes.

      1. Shasha Avatar

        Gluten is wheat/barley/rye…oats/corn/rice and more. They are different kinds of gluten. I can’t eat any of these except white rice which has no vitamins hardly. I used to eat them, but got low thyroid/depression/MS/liver didn’t detox well/burned out adrenals etc due to gluten. When I stopped gluten 100% in 2 weeks I had 1000X more energy and felt 20 years younger. Microscopic gluten hurts me now and hidden gluten. LDN/Glutenza help, but I have to avoid them now if I want my brain/body health to be ok. See the book by Peter Osborne No Grain No Pain. You can also see him on Youtube and Facebook talking about these. Best wishes.

        1. Michelle Avatar

          I think you may be confusing two things. Other grains, like corn, rice, oats etc. are often cross-contaminated by wheat, because those crops are often grown close together or processed using the same machinery. So if you are gluten-sensitive, you may react to these grains, too. But they do not themselves include gluten. Read labels carefully. At least in the EU, the labels have to state if their is possible cross-contamination.

          1. Shasha Avatar

            No… it is not cross contamination. It is a different kind of gluten. Corn hurts me/organic brown rice and oats rips open my stomach. Food with label may be contaminated even if it says certified gluten free which may have 20ppm of gluten. See Peter Osborne book NO grain/No pain…has a chart to show kinds of gluten or see him on Youtube etc where you can talk about it.

  2. Holly C Avatar
    Holly C

    Would you agree that food may cause KP? I have it & so does my 14 month old. I don’t know if it’s more persistent because he’s drinking cows milk or having wheat in his diet. We’ve tried every milk alternative & he hates them all. Just curious before I start trying to eliminate things to see if there is an improvement. Overall we’re pretty healthy eaters but do occasionally enjoy a goldfish cracker!

  3. Jenny Avatar

    Your instructions say to use it on affected areas then rinse. Do you mean rinse the area (you’ve just applied the cream to) or rinse your hands? Thank you!!

  4. Jen Avatar

    I’ve found that dry brushing if some consistently has some improvement on my KP on my arms, too. I will try your recipe!

  5. Grace Avatar

    I have noticed that every time I swim in the ocean, it clears up. But I’m looking forward to trying this. I also tried cutting out dairy & wheat for 3 months. Not one difference.

    1. Shasha Avatar

      Gluten is wheat/barley/rye…oats/corn/rice…can’t just eliminate wheat and there is hidden gluten. Some people are grain free. If the ocean helped with it’s minerals that means your intestines may not be absorbing minerals. If you have ridges on your finger nails it means minerals are low in your body. It took 1 1/2 months to heal my intestines after hidden gluten and may take 6 months for all issues from gluten to stop. Gluten may hurt intestines so vitamins/minerals/good oils/nutrients don’t absorb. All nutrients are needed for the brain/body to work right. Vit D from the sunlight may help heal the intestines/stop autoimmune attacks on the gut lining etc. …then Vit A etc can absorb.

  6. Lisa Avatar

    Can you recommend a replacement for the Turmeric? I have a sensitivity to it! Thank you.

  7. Shasha Avatar

    Natures’ Way- Vit A 10,000IU is from a natural source and works well for me along with Zn. Higher doses were too high for me.

    1. Dana Morgan Avatar
      Dana Morgan

      I love all of this. The Natures Way pills have soybean oil, do you have any other brands you recommend that are soy free?

      1. Shasha Avatar

        HI, You are right. I didn’t notice that. Nature’s Way 10,000IU is the dose I need and very few others have this dose. I went too high in dose once and it hurt my liver. Zn helps get Vit A out of the liver. I get my vitamins on Amazon recently. Nature’s Way brand has been better than other brands in many vitamins in how it works in me. You can try Cod liver oil which has Vit D and Vit A, but a higher amount of Vit A maybe. You don’t want synthetic Vit A.

  8. Leslie Avatar

    Just made a batch. Seems like it would be a good general scrub for addressing a variety of skin irritations.

  9. Shasha Avatar

    Gluten may take more than 6 months to get totally out of the brain/body. Hidden gluten and GMO may hurt the gut lining. Coconut oil may help heal the gut lining gluten hurts so it may help more nutrients absorb.

  10. Ashley Kramer Avatar
    Ashley Kramer

    My 18 month old son has had it since he was 6 months old. At one point, it was severe. Allergy testing showed nothing. I took him off dairy and gluten for 3 full months with no improvement. The only thing that improved it almost completely!? Coconut oil 2-3 times daily! I also began adding the “Gentle Baby” essential oil from Young Living into the coconut oil and have seen a big difference!

    1. Shasha Avatar

      Coconut oil may help heal his intestines as it sinks into his circulation. It is hard to be 100% gluten/dairy free. Hidden gluten is common and can in the the air/lotions/food with a label even if not listed on the food. Gluten is wheat/barley/rye…oats/corn/rice. Gluten is not an allergy. It is autoimmune. Sunlight also helps autoimmune issues. Pure organic foods help me. Best wishes.

  11. Sara Avatar

    I find that if I vigorously scrub affected areas every time I shower, the bumps disappear. When I slack off, they return.

  12. Jill Anderson Avatar
    Jill Anderson

    Katie, are there any herbs you recommend for it? Like a daily tincture I can make to help with the inflammation? Going to make this cream today! Thank you! I’ve had KP my whole life and it’s BAD entire legs, butt, hips, arms…. my mom and grandma had it and all 3 of my kids have it….. ? I hate it!!!!!

    1. Katie - Wellness Mama Avatar

      Sorry to hear you struggle with it. I’ve found with my own inflammation issues that an overall approach works best for me. My skin and thyroid feel best when I’m on a low inflammation diet (avoiding most flours, sugars, sweeteners, vegetable oils, etc and eating a lot of vegetables, healthy proteins and fats).

      1. Tiffany Avatar

        You may also want to evaluate your laundry detergent… it can cause reactions and especially if its on areas where your clothes touch directly or tightly… and I found if I use anything other than straight coconut oil as a moisturizer on it it will get worse… and other body products are a no go… even clean healthy ones will inflame it.

  13. Leslie Hanson Avatar
    Leslie Hanson

    I easily got rid of my longstanding case when I learned about Vitamin A,, fish liver sourced, not dangerous synthetic A. It has been gone for almost 40 years. My hands are also very soft and I rarely need hand lotion. Keeps my face great too as far as pimples. Just a few of its many important functions in and on the body!

    1. Shasha Avatar

      Yes…fish kind is good. I take 10,000IU of Vit A. Cod liver oil may have a higher amount of Vit A and has Vit D. Zn with Vit A helps get Vit A out of storage in the liver. Vit A also helps the blood brain barrier/gut lining/kidneys/eyes/membranes. I may go back to Cod liver oil. The ocean has pollution/radiation. Pray the oceans and all pollution will stop. God bless!

    2. Jamie Avatar

      Do you just take a high grade Vit A supplement each day? Very interesting. Thanks for sharing

  14. Pamela Avatar

    This seems like a great exfoliant! My only concern is the use of coconut oil – when you rinse it off and it goes down the drain, does it have any negative affects on the drainage system? I know with oil-pulling, you have to spit the coconut oil in the garbage can. What about in this situation? Thanks!

    1. Colleen Avatar

      I wipe it off with a paper towel first before rinsing it off. This way a lot less oil will end up down the drain.

  15. Larisa Avatar

    I have it! And I even didn’t know the name. It was more lumpy and bumpy in childhood (I was a little bit round) and once my GP gave me some oily, smelly cream that hasn’t approved nothing. Thanks to Your diet and skincare influence it ain’t that bad now. Great article! I will definitely give it a go. Best wishes from New Zealand.

  16. Shasha Avatar

    The bumps maybe due to low Vit A and fish oil…..due to being Celiac. Tests may not work to diagnose Celiac. No gluten/dairy/soy/sugar/GMO…taking vitamins/good oils/minerals…probiotic…LDN…detoxing may help. Far Infrared Sauna may help detox/open up pores. Fish oil may help pores. People can heal. Thyroid maybe low also in the people. Gluten may make antibodies to the thyroid, Amour thyroid may help.

    1. Elise Avatar

      Interesting as mine have virtually gone with all you have mentioned! I’ve also been doing detox protocols with my ND, using homeopathy, etc. I’m now on good fish oil, no gluten, Naturethroid, etc.

      1. Shasha Avatar

        That is great! I had it in childhood and also noticed it on other people. I wish I knew back then about Celiac. I was born Celiac. Tests may not work to diagnose Celiac. No gluten helps more nutrients/good oils absorb. Detoxing is needed since gluten may affect the thyroid/liver/all glands. The liver may not detox and low thyroid may let cholesterol go too high. Far Infrared Sauna helps me new and sweating in the sunlight. Sunlight/Vit D3 5000IU helps me. Celiac is due to low sunlight which may cause autoimmune issues.

        1. Shasha Avatar

          “new”= “now”. I now have Lyme which the Far Infrared Sauna helps kill besides helping detox heavy metals/chemicals/kill coinfections/kill yeast/detox endotoxins and sweat opens the pores.

    2. Mandy Avatar

      Thank you for bringing up all these good points Shasha. After a 16 year battle with intestinal issues and a whole lot of misdiagnosis, I was finally diagnosed with a wheat allergy and shortly after celiac disease. I had mild KP when I was a kid, mostly in the winter. Growing up in northern Maine it was common. I had a couple major surgeries 5 years ago, due to a motor vehicle accident and after my incisions and cuts healed my KP came back, grr. I recently started taking a very good vitamin A supplement as well as an omega 3-6-9. I haven’t noticed a dramatic change yet but, it has definitely improved. I believe I have thyroid problems as well, but my GP at the local VA keeps testing only my TSH levels. I’m definitely going to make and try this homemade KP cream today. Thank you so much Katie you have been a godsend for me and my son the past few years. I appreciate all the hard work you do for everyone.

      1. Shasha Avatar

        Hi, You are welcome! Thanks for your validations! 10,000IU of Vit A is all I need. I can’t go Omega 9…clogs my blood vessels. TSH is only how the brain works…it pituitary may not make TSH. Find a new doctor for thyroid. Gluten can make antibodies to the thyroid. Ask at the pharmacy who gives Amour thyroid. They may help or ask for the name of an Alternative doctor. Alternative doctors may charge $125 a half hour, but are worth it to get the help. One place advertises they don’t go by TSH on the internet also. Gluten may lower Vit A and many other nutrients the brain/body need. Thyroid needs Vit A and Zn/Se/enough iron/probiotic and more. Dr. Jockers has good internet information about thyroid. Suzy Cohen has a great book about thyroid. I also need HCl and enzymes with meals/fish oil 2000mg/Mg/Vit D3 5000IU/Vit B12 methylcobalamin with intrinsic factor/rhodiola/coenyzme Q10/evening primrose oil/lecithin/phosphatidylserine/DMAE/CLA and more. God bless!

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