It puts the lotion on its skin
December 21, 2016 5:13 AM   Subscribe

I've noticed a recent change in my skin's texture on my chest and shoulders/upper back. Seems to have happened overnight & it kicked in about a month back. They're these new, small areas (about 2x2cm) where the skins surface/texture has changed from smooth to bumpy, kind of like when you get goosebumps, but very small, and hard to see by eye, easily felt though. These little areas don't itch, there is no redness or color changes. What could be the reason for this??

My regular doc was stumped, but wasn't worried at all. I'm still curious. Any ideas what could be the cause of this? or have you experienced something similar? Could this be a weird age thing? (about to turn 31) will it go away?? and yup, YANMD etc.

Other info that may or may not be of use:

- tried exfoliating with a sugar scub, no difference

- i shower daily (do a lot of outdoorsy stuff/running/gym/swimming & saunas/yoga), and have since this skin thing switched to some mild baby shampoo/conditioner & shower gel. stopped the swimming since i noticed the change 3 weeks back (was thinking maybe it was the chlorine). i'm a bit of a hippie and have been using certified organic shampoos and things, but decided to stop using them for now

- i moisturize with a very basic, scent-free lotion from the pharmacy

- change sheets weekly

- vegetarian, no known allergies, but skip most wheat and dairy

- have a dog that sometimes naps on the bed

- some stress from work/uni, but nothing massive

- no other skin issues before this, asked my family and they haven't experienced this sort of thing either
posted by speakeasy to Health & Fitness (18 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Do you think your skin is just dry from being in a heated house? Not sure where you live but I always need a heavier moisturizer in the winter due to decreased humidity in the house. And the timing is right for it be the heater's fault. Maybe heavier lotion or a humidifier?
posted by absences at 5:42 AM on December 21, 2016

Could it be keratosis pilaris? Maybe try a moisturizer with lactic acid in it?
posted by Mrs. Rattery at 5:56 AM on December 21, 2016 [19 favorites]

The skin on my shoulders and upper arms is has been like this since I was a teenager. A dermatologist who was treating once me for something else named the condition (can't remember what, sorry) and offered me a cream for it. I asked him if the condition was harmful or contagious and he said no so I declined.

On preview, yes it was keratosis!
posted by STFUDonnie at 5:59 AM on December 21, 2016

Sun damage? Did you get a lot of sun (tan/burn) before this happened and it appeared when your tan/burn faded? I have had a similar thing that I attribute to age and sun exposure.
posted by DoubleLune at 6:00 AM on December 21, 2016

Any chance you've started any new medications in the past few months?
posted by trig at 6:16 AM on December 21, 2016

Yeah, another vote for keratosis pilaris. I have it on my arms mostly and have had it since I was a kid. There is no cure, but a cream will make it go away (until you stop using the cream). It does get worse in winter with dry skin. I don't choose to treat mine, as it's pretty benign and I really couldn't care less about it.
posted by bologna on wry at 6:16 AM on December 21, 2016

This sounds like a milder version of a skin reaction I once had to laundry detergent that hadn't completely rinsed from my clothes.

It's possible you just need to drink more water and apply more lotion. Sometimes dead skin gets trapped in a way that's resistant to mechanical exfoliation (on preview, yes, sometimes it's keratosis pilaris), but lotion may help over time.
posted by zennie at 6:20 AM on December 21, 2016 [1 favorite]

I've had "KP" on my arms and shoulders since I was a teen, so I can sympathize, and it definitely does get worse in the winter. Regular moisturizers and body scrubs don't work for me. You could try something with an acid-based exfoliant like Paula's Choice Resist Weightless Body Treatment with 2% BHA, I've found if I use it every day it really does improve my skin.
posted by plasticpalacealice at 6:37 AM on December 21, 2016 [1 favorite]

Agreeing that it's likely keratosis pilaris. It's quite common, especially in winter. You can get any one of a gazillion versions of Ammonium Lactate Lotion 12% over the counter. You should see (well, feel) results in just a few days.
posted by Ink-stained wretch at 7:29 AM on December 21, 2016

Paula's Choice Resist Weightless Body Treatment with 2% BHA,

And if the OTC stuff doesn't work, a derm can prescribe higher strengths, too.

Any chance you're Eastern European? I am, and my derm guessed because she said it's a very common trait.
posted by Room 641-A at 7:54 AM on December 21, 2016 [1 favorite]

Switch your lotion to Amlactin or another lotion with lactic acid in it, see if that helps. It completely fixed the keratosis pilaris on my upper arms, which sounds like what you're describing. (Bonus: if you have a Costco membership, they carry Amlactin in a large size for a very good price, AND it's on sale right now.)
posted by palomar at 8:11 AM on December 21, 2016 [1 favorite]

Amlactin (or similar) will probably knock it out quickly.

Be aware that you need to wear sunscreen every day when you use any of these exfoliants. Your skin will be more sensitive to sunlight.
posted by 26.2 at 9:20 AM on December 21, 2016

I've not had this but have seen something like it happen to other people who work out - specifically, those who lift weights in gyms. In that case, it is usually some kind of acne. (I don't know if it's related to less-than-clean equipment, or an incremental increase in testosterone or testosterone sensitivity due to lifting. [Both bacteria and testosterone being implicated in acne.]) If you recently started lifting at a gym (or switched gyms), and it *is* acne, try covering up for your workout, wiping equipment before use (with some kind of real cleanser, not just a towel), and using a benzoyl peroxide wash or cream. (Probably good to have a derm or another regular doc ID it.)
posted by cotton dress sock at 10:57 AM on December 21, 2016

My regular doc was stumped, but wasn't worried at all.

See a Dermatologist who probably won't be stumped, and then you'll know for sure.
posted by mygoditsbob at 11:38 AM on December 21, 2016 [5 favorites]

Most people have vitamin D insufficiency.

Lots of mild autoimmune conditions of the skin are mediated by out-of-control activated T (among other) cells.

T cells don't express vitamin D receptors until after they get activated. Vitamin D dampens activated T cell responses.

It's winter (in N. hemisphere) so vitamin D levels are even lower in most people. It's the holidays; stress can exacerbate inappropriate immune responses.

Take 2,000IU of vitamin D3 (Jamiesons is a good brand, check the expiry date) a day for the rest of winter.

/has had extensive stress-initiated psoriasis in the past; saw my first spot last month - reminder to take vitamin D; issue resolved (and my facial eczema's less bad too).
posted by porpoise at 6:51 PM on December 21, 2016 [2 favorites]

I've had keratosis pilaris since I was a kid and the thing that's worked best for me has been Neutrogena Body Clear Body Wash, used daily with one of those mesh shower poufs for bonus exfoliation. The active ingredient is Salicylic Acid 2%.
posted by Secret Sparrow at 8:59 PM on December 21, 2016 [1 favorite]

I'd recommend an Italy towel or Salux washcloth for intense manual exfoliation. These are heavy-duty scrubbing cloths, so don't use too much force and definitely moisturize afterward.
posted by selene_sophia at 2:24 PM on December 22, 2016

Gracias greenery!! Its going away!

Armed with a name for the thing, i did some googling and found that, indeed, it can be a symptom of vitamin D (and/or A and K) deficiency. Plus the omegas and magnesium and what have you. Incidentally, i'm also half Lithuanian so yaay eastern european heritage awesomeness! But suspect its mainly the vitamin D - living in Mordor (Finland) we haven't seen much sun since October (or so it feels) and i've been pretty lousy keeping up with vitamins etc.

So been drinking plenty of water, got my vitamins and minerals sorted, incorporated more fish and nuts back into the daily aand got a moisturizer with lactic acid - which sorta takes ages to sink in, so i've used it v sparingly. So i guess its a combo of all of these. again, thank you!! And happy new years, everyone!!
posted by speakeasy at 8:37 AM on December 31, 2016

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