Originally Posted by Spastica
Forgot to mention - on babies, it's a bit of a different skin issue, and for them, it's called milia, not keratosis.
Babies certainly do get keratosis pilaris. The condition usually starts in childhood.
Milia is a separate keratin disorder, characterized by keratin-filled cysts that often look like they can be "popped", like whiteheads. The variant of milia seen in infants usually appears on the face and disappears after the first few weeks of life. It is believed to arise in sebaceous glands that are not fully developed, explaining the high prevalence in newborns.
In response to the pp's question about a child with keratosis pilaris, if you feel you must do something, I agree with Spastica - just a little extra *umph* with a textured washcloth (or, a gentle Buf-Puf - it comes in regular and gentle). You might switch to a cold process goat's milk soap **. The lactic acid in milk is mildy-keratolytic, and the naturally-occurring glycerin in handmade soap is moisturizing. But, IMO, that's the limit because this is just a subtle cosmetic issue.
If my child was self-conscious, the bumps were on the face (a less common variant of keratosis pilaris), and my child was old enough to participate in an informed decision, then I might consider salicylic acid. But, I'm thinking about teenage years. While salicylic acid is supposed to be safe to use on younger children, at the very least if can be drying and irritating - even adult skin. I just wouldn't go there with a young child.
It's not something that leaves scars and, for about half of those affected, it fades as you age - though, that has not been the case for me or anyone in my familial line. We're all still bumpy into adulthood. The bumps on the backs of our arms and thighs allow us to recognize family members in the dark.
(** A cold process goat's milk soap is gentle enough for children. All the naturally-occurring glycerin is retained with cold process soap, so it is moisturizing. If you are not familiar with soap making, you might be surprised to know that the glycerin that results from the process is usually removed. Glycerin is valuable and is sold off to be used in the cosmetics, food, and other industries. Even so-called "glycerin" soaps are usually soaps from which all the glycerin was first removed and, then, a little is put back-in! You can find cold process goat's milk soap through a variety of outlets including natural food markets, WAHMs and others selling through eBay, and private internet sellers such as www.mosoap.com
. Just make sure you are buying cold process soap because some sellers tag their product "handmade" but are selling something other than cold process soap. I just bought a 2-1/2 lb loaf of unscented, cold process goat's milk soap, enriched with shea butter, for $15. That translates to 10 big bars. We all use it as it helps my DH's dry skin, helps my keratosis pilaris, and side-steps my DSD's sensitivity to chemicals.)