Red dots on your arm? That's what the grater skin is all about!

Grater skin: red dots, young woman

Grater skin, white or red dots, on the upper arms is not incredibly beautiful, but unfortunately, it is a widespread cornification disorder. We explain what kind of pimples they are and what you can do against grater skin.

What is grater skin (keratosis pilaris)?

Most of us are sure to know the genetically caused skin change, grater skin, also known as keratosis pillars: those small, white, or red pimples on the upper arms, legs, buttocks, or even on the face. They look like goosebumps and feel rough like a grater, hence the name. The skin appears almost hairless in the affected areas. The pimples don't itch, don't hurt, and in most cases, just go away. So what's up with the spots?

In principle, everything is relatively harmless: the so-called grater skin, also known as keratosis pilaris, occurs when the hair follicles become clogged with keratin deposits. Instead of growing inconspicuously, sebum is deposited around even the smallest hairs—the reason: the sebum glands on the hair follicle clog. However, the hairs often grow in, so that not only the skin cells harden but also the skin cells become inflamed.
Factors like stress and dry air can also make grater skin rougher.

Grater skin is particularly common in childhood and adolescence from the age of 10. Keratosis pilaris mainly affects girls and young women in puberty. As a rule, the skin disorder resolves on its own with increasing age. While some affected people notice the grater skin immediately and find it annoying, others hardly see it.

What are the causes?

The exact cause of the cornification disorder has not yet been conclusively clarified. However, it often occurs in connection with dry skin or in people who suffer from skin diseases such as neurodermatitis.
However, research has shown that grated iron skin is due to an overproduction of keratin. This is a protein that gives the body tissue stability and is also part of the outer skin layer (horny layer) and also occurs in nails and hair. If the grater skin appears, the keratin clumps together into small nodules. The result: the hair follicles can clog.

How do you treat grater skin?

Fortunately, grater skin is not contagious, but it is very likely hereditary and incurable because there is no generally effective treatment. That is why there is still no patent remedy for the unsightly pimplesIn most cases, however, the cornification disorder regresses over the years.
If there are signs of inflammation such as reddened and warm skin, as well as itching and scratching, treatment against the grater skin is required. Thorough care several times a day is essential. Special moisturizing creamsmoisturizing ointmentsPeelings and oils containing salicylic acid, lactate, urea, or vitamins can flush the excess keratin out of the skin and thus alleviate the symptoms if necessary. Urea binds the moisture in the skin, effectively counteracts cornification, and soothes the skin. In any case, do without lotions, creams, and the like with fragrances and dyes.

The following tips can also help against grater skin.

Be sure to try several treatments against grater skin, because everybody is and reacts differently.
  • Sea salt peeling: Peelings gently remove dead skin and care for the skin at the same time. However, especially with grater skin, it should not be used too often and only sparingly so that the skin is not unnecessarily irritated.
  • Sauna: Those affected report that regular saunas help against grated skin. By sweating and detoxifying the body, the complexion improves. In some saunas, it is also common to do a peeling with, for example, salt, as the skin is well softened.
  • Solarium: In summer, the grater skin is usually improved by exposure to the sun, which is, of course, lacking for those affected, especially in the cold months. Visits to the solarium can help. However, this should only be enjoyed with caution. After all, the artificial sun promotes premature skin aging and increases the risk of cancer.
  • Diet: A balanced diet with lots of vitamins and nutrients as well as good drinks (at least two liters a day and preferably water) is essential for radiantly beautiful skin and, therefore, also for grated skin.