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. Noni Avatar

    Sasha, you think you can have celiacs even if you don’t have the stomach pain?

  2. Lauri Avatar

    I would like to know if this is a kid friendly and if so what age this can be used?

  3. Sara L Avatar

    This condition has also been linked to a lack of essential fatty acids. When I added more salmon and cod liver oil to my daughter’s diet, the bumps completely disappeared.

  4. Leslie Avatar

    Cutting dairy out 100% makes mine disappear… but sometimes I can’t stay away from the cheese! Will try this exfoliant for sure 🙂 Thank you!

  5. Nancy Avatar

    I will for sure try this out. I find mine is much much worse in the winter. I figure dry condition and clothing make it worse.

  6. Nancy Johnson Avatar
    Nancy Johnson

    Hi…Am about to try the exfoliating recipe for Keratosis Pilaris here. After the scrub is used and washed off, what kind of moisturizer would you recommend be applied to the washed off area?

    Thank you!

  7. Mary Avatar

    Would this be safe to use when pregnant? I’ve read it isn’t safe to ingest Tumeric during pregnancy so I just thought I’d ask. Thanks.

    1. Shasha Avatar

      Mary……The bumps maybe due to gluten which can hurt intestines so less nutrients absorb. A pregnant women needs to absorb nutrients for her and the fetus. Pregnancy drains the mom of nutrients to give to the baby. Fixing the root cause helps the mom/baby instead of just cosmetically removing the bumps. Low Vit A 10.000/fish oil/Mg/Zn and more due to would lower thyroid etc…A prenatal vitamin is not a very low dose of vitamins. A person needs good oils also. I can’t take turmeric. I would not experiment during pregnancy except take normal vitamins/good oils/minerals. Best wishes.

  8. Tomas Avatar

    I apply creek clay up to 4 times. The bumps scab over. Then I just scratch them off. Feels great!

  9. Anne McNulty Avatar
    Anne McNulty

    Katie, thanks for posting this! My son started getting KP badly at 6 months (he is now 2). He’s never had gluten or dairy. I try to give him fish oil although he often rejects it. Because it showed up around the same time that we introduced solids – does anyone know what other foods can cause it? Will also try the scrub. Thanks!

    1. Shasha Avatar

      Gluten/GMO maybe in most foods with a label…hidden…not on the label. Certified gluten free may have 20pppm of gluten…is not 100% gluten free usually. Fish oil capsules is what I do as an adult. Rub fish oil on. There are chewable supplements on Amazon for fish oil and more. What do you feed him? There maybe wheat/gluten in soft serve ice cream/nuts not sold in the shell/meat basting/some spices/air/lotion etc. Best wishes.

  10. Maria Avatar

    My husband was diagnosed with this as a child. When we went off all grains and dairy it completely went away. When we started eating these foods again it came right back.

    1. Lisa Avatar

      How long did it take to notice a difference once you went off dairy/grains?

  11. Megan Avatar

    You say that you’re supposed to rinse with warm water afterwards; do you think this would be a good thing to apply just before taking a shower?

  12. Michelle Avatar

    Thanks so much for sharing this, Katie. Like some of the others who commented, I have had this all my life, but never knew what it was called. It seems to be better in the summer, but despite having tried many creams, supplements etc., it never goes away complete.y, so I am excited to try your recipe.

  13. Paloma Avatar

    For those that have persistent KP that doesn’t seem to be affected by any dietary changes, and who also experience itching, it can be caused by demodex mites. Usually mites get out of control when the immune system is functioning below optimal levels. There are different causes for KP for sure. Hope everyone finds what works for them.

    1. Shasha Avatar

      Hi, People may not have realized that gluten is more than wheat. It is wheat/barley/rye..oats/corn/rice and if they eat anything with a label there maybe contamination even if it doesn’t say gluten on it. Hidden gluten is common. Nuts not sold in the shell/meat basting/some spices/air/certified gluten free may have gluten. Gluten may make the immune system go down and intestines get hurt so less nutrients/good oils etc absorb. GMO may also hurt the intestines.

  14. Laura W Avatar
    Laura W

    2 of my 3 children have KP. Their dad has Celiac disease and we are a strictly gluten and dairy free household. (Just to say that they don’t have KP due to gluten/dairy exposure.) I have noticed their KP clears completely when we are eating a lot of liver, but it takes a lot, at least 3 servings a week. I do believe it’s related to nutritional deficiencies.

    1. Shasha Avatar

      Hi,Yes,,,,,people may eat food/take supplements and still not absorb nutrients if they are Celiac since intestines are hurt. Liver contains the fat soluble Vitamins…A/D/E/K and Fe/Vit B12 and more which can be stored there. I can’t get myself to eat liver, but Cod liver oil capsules help me. My bumps are gone. Fish oil thins blood/opens pores and good oils…evening primrose oil/lecithin (defats the liver) etc may also help. Vit A helps membranes/skin/helps intestines heal so they absorb more nutrients. Gluten may hurt most people, but tests may not work to diagnose it. People can heal as they fix the root cause. Untreated Celiac may destroy the brain/body/cause many health issues in addition to the bumps on the back of arms etc.

  15. Gowri Avatar

    I have KP, the only thing that helped me applying coconut oil topically every day. After using for a few months all the bumps on my arms r gone. Then dry brushing also help clear it.

  16. Paula Avatar

    I noticed that during each of my three pregnancies that my KP would go away on the back of my arms. My diet was horrible during all my pregnancies due to not feeling well and getting sick 6-8 times per a day. I’m almost sure that I was deficient in many vitamins. Something that I do to keep my KP under control now is shaving the back of my arms in the shower. When I dry off I take a dry wash cloth and rub the KP . A lot of dead skin comes off. Then put on moisturizer.

    1. Shasha Avatar

      HI, My Hmong friend had morning sickness through her entire pregnancy due to eating gluten which lowers nutrients absorbed in the intestines. The mom gets drained of nutrients during pregnancy and the mom/baby maybe low in nutrients at the end of pregnancy which may cause depression. My son was ADHD due to me being undiagnosed Celiac. His hair was very dry due to be low in essential oils.
      You may have stopped the offending food during pregnancy? Untreated Celiac may destroy health more than bumps on arms. Gluten can be like Heroin and Sugar like cocaine so people may crave it and over eat it. People may eat and still be low in nutrients due to intestines not working. No gluten and Cod liver oil (has Vit A and D)/Zn/Vit C/fish oil 2000mg/Mg/Nature’s Plus- Source of life multiple/Vit B12 methylcobalamin with intrinsic factor/HCl and enyzmes meals/strong probiotic and more may help. Some people think getting the flu/colds/dry legs/bumps are normal, due to being born Celiac which affected them their whole life. Just removing the bumps doesn’t fix the other health issues gluten may also cause. Gluten may cause much suffering/pain in many ways. Doctors may not mention Celiac and tests may not work to diagnose it. Some people don’t want to stop eating gluten since they crave it, but it may hurt every cell of the brain/body which causes malfunction. Best wishes.

  17. Barbara Avatar

    I am allergic to lavendar. Is there another EO that can be used?

  18. Mandi Avatar

    I had KP as a kid and was teased so much for it. I never found relief and it went away on its own as I became an adult. My son now has it. He is currently three. We had been doing a mix of coconut oil, lavender EO and sugar and I’d scrub his arms, legs and the patches on his face (carefully of course) and we saw a dramatic improvement. Your article peeked my interest again to start again with his skin. I’ll give your recipe a try because I’ve since learned the health benefits of some of the ingredients in your recipe. Thanks for the work that you do!

  19. Betsy Avatar

    I read somewhere that this is due to a deficiency in Omega 3 fatty acids. I had this for a long time and then after taking them (explains why some commenters above were helped by fish oil vit D) for a while, it went away. Just get a pure, natural source. It really does help a LOT.

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