ZocdocAnswersIs keratosis contagious?

Question

Is keratosis contagious?

I have keratosis on my arms. Is it possible to pass it someone else? Like if I share a bed with my girlfriend is there a chance she could get it too?

Answer

Keratosis pilaris is characterized by numerous small, rough, red or tan bumps that resemble acne(also having "goose bumps," "gooseflesh," or "chicken skin" appearance) around hair follicles on the upper arms, legs, buttocks, and sometimes cheeks. The exact cause is unknown. It is thought that this skin condition arises when the human body produces the excess keratin (natural protein in your body). This excess keratin entraps the hair follicles in the pore to form hard plugs. This condition runs in family, very common and completely harmless. Fortunately, keratosis pilaris is not contagious. It is not an infection and is not caused by a fungus, bacterium, or virus. Therefore, you do not give it to someone else through skin contact, and people do not catch it from you. Although complications are rare since it is primarily a cosmetic skin condition, I would still suggest that you have your keratosis treated. There is no available cure or universally effective treatment for keratosis pilaris. However, many treatment options and skin-care lotions are available for controlling the symptoms of keratosis pilaris to give you a more pleasant appearance cosmetically. The list of potential lotions and creams is long so I would recommend a consultation with a primary care physician or dermatologist who can help you find a specific treatment plan to target your keratosis.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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