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. Madeleine Avatar

    My keratosis has gotten a lot better since I’ve eliminated dairy from my diet and I’ve also noticed a reduction in bloating. This won’t work for everyone because not everyone is sensitive to dairy, but consider not consuming dairy for a month to see how you do.
    Also, exfoliating my skin with a scrub cloth in the shower and moisturizing with coconut oil afterwards helped reduce my keratosis pilaris bumps.

  2. Janet Avatar

    great foot scrub too! since it’s good for overproduction of skin cells, I figured it would work on my heels and it did. Thanks!

  3. Dawn Avatar

    Hi Katie! Could I use this consistently on my 10yr old son? He has this pretty badly on his arms and chest. 🙁

  4. Courtney Avatar

    Ketosis pilaris can also be confused with actinic keratosis. They look very similar. I was originally misdiagnosed with keratosis pilaris. I use a loofah to exfoliate and then coconut oil on my arms. I was also told it was self limiting and usually goes away in your forties. Another interesting thing I learned in my research is that actinic keratosis is autosomal dominant but in a majority of people with it, neither parent has it.

  5. Rochelle Koehly Avatar
    Rochelle Koehly

    This is great! Wish I would’ve known about this when my son was younger. He’s 13 now but when he was infant up to preschooler he had Keratosis Pilaris on his face. 🙁

  6. Anna Avatar

    Would you have any recommendations for curing or helping alleviate this on the scalp

  7. Cindy Freeman Avatar
    Cindy Freeman

    I am prone to keratosis pilaris on the backs of my upper arms. I’ve had it since I was a teenager and am now in my late 50’s. A few years ago I read about dry skin brushing before showering for the condition, following up with moisturizing the area. I started doing this and after a few weeks, noticed a marked difference. I dry skin brush my body almost every night now before showering. I have kept it at bay this way.

  8. Ann Hancox Avatar
    Ann Hancox

    We will definitely try this recipe. My daughter has it and from what I have read it maybe a vitamin A/E deficiency and her body may not be able to break it down. We are currently trying a product, Standard Process Allergyx, from our chiropractor that helps break her food down in her liver. However, we will try this recipe in the mean time because it’s spreading to her face and scalp. THANK YOU!

  9. Mary Avatar

    I have had it too, I believe it flares up whenever autoimmunity is triggered. Dr Grace Liu mentioned about autoimmunity an thyroid etc triggering it. Whenever I eat foods my body reacts to. the kertsosis appears on buttocks or back legs. As soon as inflammation is down I have nice smooth skin!!!

  10. Beth Avatar

    I had this on the back of my thighs, and on my upper arms. I exfoliated with a dry washcloth. It took a few times, but worked well and there has been no recurrence.

  11. Teresa Avatar

    Hi, is this pregnancy safe? I am totally trying for it since I was diagnosed a couple of days ago after a year of not knowing what was the problem with my skin. Thanks!

  12. Cassie Avatar

    Hi! Does it matter where the citric acid is derived from? I see some from cane sugar or tapioca starch! The citric acid at my grocery store has sugar and other things added. TYIA!

  13. Amy Avatar

    Is this meant to take the place of a moisturizer as well? Or can you recommend a good one? I would be fine with making one or buying one, as long as it’s not too expensive. I’m in desperate need of a regiment that works! I couldn’t wear anything that showed skin last summer, and I’m determined to not go through that again this year! I appreciate any suggestions!!

  14. Rikki Avatar

    Hi:) so my son has extremely bad keratosis more so than the average person. I’ve done a ton of digging on the subject. Of course as you know everything stems from within. What I found is of course addressing gut bacteria helps. But something interesting to those with keratosis is that they can’t break down beta carotene into vitamin A. They end up lacking vitamin A if there primary source is from Beta carotene. Many individuals including my son once true vitamin A is included in the diet show significant improvement in their keratosis. We started taking perfect dessicated liver capsules (from grass fed organic cows) and has made a dramatic improvement in all of our house holds chicken skin issues. My 3 year old sons keratosis that caked his legs, arms, and face now is almost completely cleared up on his legs and face. His arms still has a little but getting better! Also when washing our nature path said not to use soap ( except when super filthy) and to not dry him after his bath and to rub coconut oil on him before getting him dressed. I will post a resource for the info in this post for any interested. ( I break open the capsule and put it in apple sauce or yogurt and my kids eat it with no complaint). I’m gonna use this recipe in the article to add an extra defense to methods! Thank you for all you do wellnessmama your amazing. I’ve been reading your articles for 4 years now and I’m amazed at how you do so much!

    1. amanda tulles Avatar
      amanda tulles

      Did you post your reference? I’d live to read it. Which Vitamin A capsules do you use?

    2. Alison Avatar

      Thank you so much for this info, my 3 year old has a very similar issue. We found a multivitamin spray with Vitamin A Acetate which seemed to help for a bit, at least to make it better on his face, but now it seems to be worse again on his face, legs and arms. We are going to give the dessicated liver a try and get him back on the just thrive probiotics and see if that helps. Also will try the coconut oil.

  15. Krista Avatar

    Hi! I have KP. I’ve had it for as long as I can remember, and my kids have inherited it. This condition doesn’t bother me except that I have a bad habit of picking at the bumps. When I was a kid/teen, I had it on my face. It went away when I became an adult, which is what the doctor said would happen. I still have it on my arms, though. I’ve tried a few things to help it, but nothing works. This recipe is different than anything I’ve tried so far, so I’ll give it a try and let you know how it goes.

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