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Potential causes of KP

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    Potential causes of KP

    By now, I think a lot of us know what KP is. Keratosis pilaris occurs as excess keratin, a natural protein in the skin, accumulates within the hair follicles forming hard plugs (process known as hyperkeratinization). We also know that exfoliation (any form) can alleviate the symptoms. But, as many of us are not born with this condition, what suddenly causes this hyperkeratinization process?

    After being on this board for over a year, I've read and thought of many theories myself regarding causes of KP:

    #1 - Demodex parasites

    The theory behind this is that these parasites, which live inside hair follicles, cause KP in people who are genetically incapable of dealing with the parasites.

    # 2 - leaky gut syndrome and food sensitivies

    The theory behind this is that a leaky gut syndrome leads to sensitivities to food, (or vice versa) which leads to KP.

    # 3 - hormonal

    The theory behind this is that KP is caused by some hormonal imbalances, hence why some people start to develop KP during teen and some find their KP get out of control during pregancy.

    # 4 - candida

    The theory here is that overgrowth of candida causes people who are predisposed to autoimmune diseases to develop KP.

    # 5 - Deficiencies in vitamin A

    This theory is straight forward: KP is caused by deficiencies in vitamin A, hence why some people have started to and reported good results from drinking carrot juice.

    #6 - Deficiencies in calcium and magnesium

    Again, this theory is straight forward: KP is caused by deficiencies in calcium, hence why a lady on this board was able to significantly improve her KP by taking calcium supplements.

    Please share your thoughts on the above theories, or if you have theories of your own which are not listed above, please share. Even something as sharing your background, and when you first noticed signs of KP could bring us closer to the cause, so share absolutely EVERYTHING you know about this condition. If we all put our minds, backgrounds and education together, we could potentially come up with the underlying root of KP. (who knows, someone with a degree in medicine could visit this site!)

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    Re: Potential causes of KP

    One other theory I forgot to mention is:

    #7 - Deficiencies in EFA's

    Again, pretty straight forward, many believe KP is associated with deficiencies in essential fatty acids.

    No comments guys? I was really hoping we could pick each other's brains here.

    Personally, I'm starting to believe it's a combo of candida and demodex parasites. Initially, I didn't think too much of these parasites as they are present in virtually everyone. However, after doing some research, I'm starting to wonder if not only they aggravate our condition, but are essential to get rid of, as they create a vicious cycle. (ie. their #'s increase as our immune system weakens, but their presence further weakens our immune system hindering our ability to fight them off, thus increasing their #'s, etc)

    Here's something I found on a site regarding these mites:

    Demodex Follicularum (mites) These mites are present in virtually everyone by the time a person reaches middle age. In most cases they cause no harm. Studies say that the hair loss in some may be the response that each individual has with the presence of these mites. If the body initiates the inflammatory response as it tries to reject the mites, it may close down the follicles, thus killing the mites but also killing the hair. (This would be likely since the cortisone shots are working.)

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    Re: Potential causes of KP

    another link on demodex.
    Mites might cause mighty problems - Skin Disorders - Demodex mites linked to human skin diseases | USA Today (Society for the Advancement of Education) | Find Articles at BNET.com

    I think an effective KP treatment should incorporate something that helps eliminate these mites, otherwise, these mites will continue to weaken our immune system and produce bacteria, which will only aggravate our condition (ie. inflammation)

    The only thing I don't really understand is that they are supposed to be most prevalent in the face, but that's not where the majority of us has KP.
    So, I don't think they are the cause, just aggravating factors.

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    Re: Potential causes of KP

    Hi Hope, I've been tied up for a few days but have been thinking about this. I had recently begun to think of some connections with info here and elsewhere. (sigh...here comes another one of my looooong posts...)

    KP is often associated with atopic dermatitis, a common form of eczema. and Not the extreme scaly crusty eczema, there are many milder versions:
    Keratosis Pilaris

    "According to the American Academy of Dermatology, up to 40 percent of the population has keratosis pilaris....
    The cause of keratosis pilaris is unknown, but it seems to be hereditary. It is also more common in overweight individuals and patients with atopic dermatitis, the type of eczema (chronic, itchy inflammation of the upper layers of the skin) caused by allergies.
    In individuals with certain underlying conditions, such as eczema, keratosis pilaris often improves when the underlying disorder is addressed."

    So some of us with itchy KP or hyper-sensitive skin and even others may really be battling one of several types eczema which was a surprise to me. I never thought of myself as eczemic before recently but I have come to understand that there are many forms and it doesn't just have to be the open crusty scaly eczema used in pictures.

    KP was also linked with eczema in news about some recent research:
    Eczema - Reporter's File - A New View on the Roots of Itchy Skin - NY Times Health

    There's a lot of info in Wikipedia about eczema of course:

    Eczema - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    and includes some of the treatments for eczema - sulphur soaps, moisturizers, avoiding soaps, UVA & UVB treatment (tanning) and avoiding food allergies and increasing Omega-3 consumption - that are helpful or are even full on cures for some people around here. (yes I posted this elsewhere...) There are descriptions of various types that certainly sound like things I've heard described around here, especially sebhorreic dermatitis.

    Eczema may be associated with celiac (coeliac) disease (gluten intolerance), particularly one form of eczema, Dermatitis herpetiformis; an itchy cutaneous condition.

    "Coeliac disease is caused by a reaction to gliadin, a gluten protein found in wheat (and similar proteins of the tribe Triticeae which includes other cultivars such as barley and rye)...That leads to flattening of the lining of the small intestine, which interferes with the absorption of nutrients. The only effective treatment is a lifelong gluten-free diet. While the disease is caused by a reaction to wheat proteins, it is not the same as wheat allergy....The changes in the bowel make it less able to absorb nutrients, minerals and the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K.[ 3"

    fat-soluble A,D,E and K!!! The ones we all keep looking at for skin health?!?!?! and sebhorreic dermatitis is associated with a lack of biotin which is rare, but if your gut's not working, who knows? calcium malabsorption is also mentioned and calcium supplementation has helped some women around here esp after pregnancy.

    In this case, many of those items you mention could be linked back digestive/malabsorption issues. (duh, just as baronster's ND knows...) Even #'s 1 and 4, demodex and candida, in my mind may just be aggravating or exacerbating or simply opportunistic infections on top of the already underlying issues such as intestinal health or lack of the gene that would otherwise keep our skin in tact and not let mites or candida get in.

    In the case of sea buckthorn oil, I still have not run across research confirmation that it Kills demodex mites. It may BUT I would venture this additional possibility: That Sea Buckthorn Oil and Juice helps to heal the gut thereby improving nutrient absorption including A and E which is already present in the oil. Research in Finland has shown that SBO improves the condition of mucus membranes throughout the body and ulcers, etc... pdf:
    http://seabuckthorn.com/files/sea_buckthorn%20women.pdf

    Gluten intolerance could explain the success of gere123's low-carb diet when he did that = no wheat.

    comments?
    - bunnyday

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    Re: Potential causes of KP

    p.s. The association between KP and eczema also makes me question whether it is possible for us to epigenetically induce eczema/KP since eczema is often from lack of a gene. If we do the lifestyle or environmental things that then trigger an epigenetic reaction where we mask the gene that SHOULD be creating the healthy skin layers, then can we undo that epigenome?

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    Re: Potential causes of KP

    Bunnyday, you're getting very deep here, but I think we're getting somewhere. I'm sure we can undo that, and quite frankly quite possibly by simply altering our diet. I remember the video you posted a while back showing the connection between a person's diet and cancer. Baronster and Rachel have shown us that KP can be eliminated from within.

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    Re: Potential causes of KP

    Quote Originally Posted by Hope4thebest View Post
    I'm sure we can undo that, and quite frankly quite possibly by simply altering our diet. I remember the video you posted a while back showing the connection between a person's diet and cancer. Baronster and Rachel have shown us that KP can be eliminated from within.
    I hear you, Hope4thebest.
    I was also trying to make the connection between baronster's approach and the sea buckthorn and the other causes.

    However, does it follow if some of us truly lack the gene that creates the healthy skin barrier (that recent eczema research find) can we make up for that lack with diet, entirely? (Elsa Zoe, I'm looking your way....)

    Plus there are 40 different filaggrin mutations. Would that account for our variations in severity, color, and type of KP and for its being common but somewhat different between some of us?

    There are some good posts in the following search regarding celiac disease (baronster and chris89 and others are way ahead of me on that topic) and various discussions about genetics playing a role:

    Vitamin A Deficiency

    - bd

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    Re: Potential causes of KP

    oops wrong link. celiac search here:
    http://www.keratosispilaris.org/sear...earchid=125452

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    Re: Potential causes of KP

    Bunnyday,the article on eczema was quite interesting. I've never thought to KP as being caused by a genetic skin defect. But if that is the case, why do some of us only get it later on in life instead of right at birth? And why is it that moisturizing alone doesn't really seem to help? I sure hope that's not the case, because we may never really be able to cure it on our own if that was the case.

    The theory that KP is caused by an inability to properly absorb/utilize certain essential vitamins/minerials which leads directly to KP, is not a bad one, especially considering that a weak system could prevent proper absorption; however, when you think about all the people who are malnourished all over the world who don't have KP, it becomes difficult to see a really strong connection between the two. Therefore, jacking up our intake of vitamins/minerals far beyond recommended daily intake probably won't put an end to our KP. UNLESS, what we are really deficient in is vitamin D, while the vast majority of people aren't, because they don't cover up like us and receive adequate amounts from the sun? But then, what about people who have enough vitamin D (from milk, etc) and have KP?

    I guess the same applies to EFA deficiencies. Not to say that we shouldn't consume more essential fatty acids; however, I doubt that that alone is the answer to KP.

    Whenever someone produces excess of something (ie. keratin in our case) or reacts abnormally to something generally harmless usually signals an allergic reaction, so recently, I've considered KP being an allergic reaction to perhaps mites??? But since usually, allergic symptoms go away, while ours don't, I've abandoned that idea. UNLESS, of course, we are constantly exposed to this substance/"allergen", (though not mites, as they have always, and will continue to be around whether we have/had KP or not) which would support Baronter's food sensitivity theory. This would make more sense. However, seeing as many of us don't develop KP at birth, if this is truly the case, while genetically inherited, this "allergic" reaction could be a sympton of something else or be triggered by something else.

    Therefore, I think I will continue to believe that the underlying cause of KP is simply a compromised immune system. This could be due a variety of things including overgrowth of candida, or EVEN deficiencies in vitamins and/or minerals. And it could lead to a number of things, which could be directly responsible for KP; however, it would make sense that addressing the immune system would address kp, no?

    The other thing too is that, as I've mentioned before, I'm really starting to believe that those demodex mites, which are perfectly harmless to a lot people, are directly responsible for the raised and inflammed look of KP (just like bacteria is responsible for acne), and perhaps even contribute, both indirectly and directly, to the spreading of KP, because they further weaken our immune system. Perhaps, the fact that we constantly keep covering our body could also be contributing to the spread? (ie, we create an even more ideal environment for these mites to reproduce, contributing to worsening of kp.) These mites also feed on sugar, which could explain why sugar makes our kp worse, not to mention sugar weakens immune system.

    If we look back at all posts here, anything that seemed to address either one of those issues, including cutting out food that depress the immune system, consuming food that boost immune system (including food with vit a, which is an antioxidant vit), use of sulphur soap, tea tree oil, eucap(sp?) oil, seabuckthorn oil, coconut oil, etc also seemed to decrease symptoms of KP.

    Dermabrasion works, because it keeps removing dead layers of skin and promote new cell formation, but what about all the bacteria and inflammation?

    Sure we can continue to rely on products that contain enzymes, urea, aha, bha, etc, which help shed dead skin cells, remove excess keratin, etc, but 1) our body eventually adapts to such products rendering them useless at some point or another, 2) we are not even close to addressing the real problem, 3) we may get sick of applying them every day (or every other day) for the rest of our lives, and 4) we may suffer serious side effects later on. (eg. Increased risk of skin cancer).

    Therefore, if the above theory is right, perhaps the best way to treat KP is to:
    1. boost the immune system
    2. kill the mites

    Any thoughts?

    Perhaps, we can focus all our efforts on addressing those 2?

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    Re: Potential causes of KP

    Quote Originally Posted by Hope4thebest View Post
    Bunnyday,the article on eczema was quite interesting. I've never thought to KP as being caused by a genetic skin defect. But if that is the case, why do some of us only get it later on in life instead of right at birth?


    Hope4, I think that's where the the epigenetics comes in. If you have the time to watch that video snippet again, I think you would note (correct me if I'm wrong) that the implications are not just for cancer but for many assumed "genetic" conditions/responses. So, when lifestyle and environmental stressors cause methyl-groups to actually block part of our genetic code, that creates the same effect later on in life as just not having that gene to start with. We may have started out life with the gene expressing itself just fine, but later on, it gets "smothered" if you will. (I'm sure no self respecting scientist would put it that way) So my thinking goes: some people lack a gene and therefore start out life with eczema, some of us develop a form of eczema later on because of this smothering. There is hope even for some "born" with it however, because mothers can also pass epigenetics to their children not just the genetic info. so you may not know until you try to undo the smothering (or MDs come up with a test we can afford.)


    The theory that KP is caused by an inability to properly absorb/utilize certain essential vitamins/minerials which leads directly to KP, is not a bad one, especially considering that a weak system could prevent proper absorption; however, when you think about all the people who are malnourished all over the world who don't have KP, it becomes difficult to see a really strong connection between the two. Therefore, jacking up our intake of vitamins/minerals far beyond recommended daily intake probably won't put an end to our KP. UNLESS, what we are really deficient in is vitamin D, while the vast majority of people aren't, because they don't cover up like us and receive adequate amounts from the sun? But then, what about people who have enough vitamin D (from milk, etc) and have KP?
    Well, I'm mostly in the camp that has the opinion that "minimum recommended amounts" can be a far cry from "optimal recommended amounts" when it comes to some of these. and again, this for me goes back to the epigenetics caused by lifestyle. even if you eat all the vitamin supplements you think would help KP, if you don't then eliminate the kind of eating (white sugar and processed foods perhaps? or wheat if you have celiac?) that leads to methyl-groups blocking the strong-skin-gene that we want to start functioning again, it won't help. and people who actually DO lack the gene, well, in this case, all the supplements in the world shouldn't help them much, right? might explain how some people here can "eat like rabbits" and still not improve their skin issues. ?

    Therefore, I think I will continue to believe that the underlying cause of KP is simply a compromised immune system. This could be due a variety of things including overgrowth of candida, or EVEN deficiencies in vitamins and/or minerals. And it could lead to a number of things, which could be directly responsible for KP; however, it would make sense that addressing the immune system would address kp, no?

    If we look back at all posts here, anything that seemed to address either one of those issues, including cutting out food that depress the immune system, consuming food that boost immune system (including food with vit a, which is an antioxidant vit), use of sulphur soap, tea tree oil, eucap(sp?) oil, seabuckthorn oil, coconut oil, etc also seemed to decrease symptoms of KP.

    Therefore, if the above theory is right, perhaps the best way to treat KP is to:
    1. boost the immune system
    2. kill the mites

    Any thoughts?

    Perhaps, we can focus all our efforts on addressing those 2?
    I think you make a good case for both of these. Part of the implication of that article on eczema is that because of a faulty skin layer, bacteria and allergens get in and overstimulate our immune systems. So I should think that things we can do to proactively support and balance our immune response would be the smart thing to do including eliminating the triggers.

    My personal somewhat skeptical attitude is to lump mites and candida and topical allergens (perfume additives to soaps, etc...), subzero temps, together as things that cause our skin to build up a layer of keratin and inflammation in reaction to their presence. similar to things that trigger rosacea and other skin reactions. (I also wouldn't be surprised if someone came out and told us that mites cultivate - farm - candida, the way some ants cultivate mushrooms as a food source. wouldn't that suck? I mean, c'mon, ants "farm" and even the )

    But regardless, in cases where a gene is just missing or shut-down, eliminating the irritants as much as possible including a rather too healthy population of mites, seems reasonable to me. - bd

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    Re: Potential causes of KP

    oops, I trailed off... there's a termite that cultivates fungi also and termites are considered less advanced than ants.

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    Re: Potential causes of KP



    BD and Hope,

    You two are doing great here! I'd love to put in my 2 cents worth on building up the immune system, but I'm leaving in a few hours to catch a plane for the States. I'll be back in 5 weeks. I hope I'll be able to get to a computer regularly, but I don't know for sure.

    Hope, do you mean to say that if one has KP, one has candida and mites?

    kebod

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    Re: Potential causes of KP

    Bunnyday, could you be on to the root cause of KP!??

    Free radicals are very unstable compounds, without the proper number of electrons, and they tend to react quickly with neighboring compounds, trying to "steal" electrons from other molecules in an attempt to regain stability. If they succeed, then the "victim" atom or molecule usually loses its electron balance and becomes a free radical itself. In fact, even if the free radical is not able to steal the electron, it may still create such a pull as to disrupt the workings of neighboring atoms and molecules. This can start a chain reaction; and once the process is started, it can build exponentially.

    Regarding cancer, the chief danger comes from the damage free radicals cause when they react with important cellular components such as DNA or the cell membrane. The DNA is, in essence, the reproductive map of the cell; if it changes, even slightly, the cell may duplicate the change when it reproduces. These changes are known as "mutations" and they also start a chain reaction of sorts, leading to the development of mutated, cancerous tissue such as tumors and lesions.

    Even with their potential for damage, the presence of a limited number of free radicals in the body is not necessarily dangerous; free radicals are actually part of the normal metabolism of a healthy body. In fact, sometimes the body's immune system's cells create free radicals deliberately in order to neutralize viruses and bacteria. An excess of free radicals can be dangerous, however. There are a number of substances which seem to stimulate the production of free radicals -- pollution, radiation, tobacco, pesticides, and ultraviolet rays are some of the most common. Often, when something is purported to "cause cancer", what it really causes is the creation of an excessive number of free radicals. Aside from cancer, free radicals have been linked to heart disease, aging, cataracts and impairment of the immune system. Researchers have also noted that free radical damage accumulates with age. Because it is not possible to directly measure free radicals in the body, scientists have reached these conclusions by measuring the by-products that result from free radical reactions.


    Could these free radicals be responsible for "smothering" our "good-skin" gene, as you say? If so, your theory goes hand in hand with the theory that KP is caused by a weak immune system (since free radicals will trigger a weak system). It does, however, provide a much better explanation as to how that triggers KP. Therefore, I agree with it 100%!

    Here is the rest of the article, which explains how to fight these free radicals:

    Anti-oxidants
    So where do anti-oxidants come in? Anti-oxidants fight free radicals. As a cancer preventative, anti-oxidants appear to neutralize free radicals by donating one of their own electrons, thus making a free radical compound stable and ending the electron-"stealing" chain-reaction so dangerous to cells and DNA. The anti-oxidant compounds are able to do this because they themselves don't become free radicals in the process -- they appear to be stable with or without their donated electrons.
    Our bodies naturally contain certain anti-oxidant enzymes such as superoxide dismutase, but we can also get them from the foods we eat. The best known anti-oxidants are beta carotene, vitamins C and E, and the mineral selenium. Other anti-oxidants include ginkgo biloba, coenzyme Q10, tocotrienols, and polyphenols, which are substances found in most plants.

    It is important to note, however, that all anti-oxidants do not do the same job or work in the same manner. For example, copper, manganese, zinc, selenium and other trace minerals are really only anti-oxidants when they combine with bodily enzymes to try to eliminate free radicals. Vitamins A, C, E and beta-carotene seem to work on their own or in conjunction with each other. Vitamin C, for instance can work in partnership with vitamin E, cleaning free radical substances from vitamin E molecules so those molecules can continue to attack other free radicals. Beta-carotene converts to vitamin A, a powerful anti-oxidant, when there is a shortage of vitamin A in the body. Lycopene, found in many fruits and vegetables, appears to assist the male prostate, although it also has a positive anti-oxidant effect body wide as well.

    As you can see, all anti-oxidants are not created equal. If you get an adequate supply of one anti-oxidant, it doesn't mean you wouldn't benefit by the use of another. There is also such a thing as too much of an anti-oxidant; Vitamin A can be toxic when taken in too large a quantity. This is an area where your own research should be combined with a consultation with a doctor or dietician.
    No, anti-oxidants are not "magic bullets" - but they are tools, at least in a nutritional sense. As we continue to grow in our understanding of what causes cancer and what prevents it, anti-oxidants may turn out to be an extremely valuable tool.


    Perhaps, we should start a completely new thread offering tips/information on how to fight these radicals? While this may potentially be the cause, itís not gonna be easy to address it. There are sooo many different ways to go about doing this, it can be overwhelming for a person with no knowledge of nutrition. Itís gonna take a lot of dedication and time, but if we pool our knowledge and experience together, we can avoid wasting each otherís time through trial and error and sharing our research.

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    Re: Potential causes of KP

    Quote Originally Posted by kebod View Post


    BD and Hope,

    You two are doing great here! I'd love to put in my 2 cents worth on building up the immune system, but I'm leaving in a few hours to catch a plane for the States. I'll be back in 5 weeks. I hope I'll be able to get to a computer regularly, but I don't know for sure.

    Hope, do you mean to say that if one has KP, one has candida and mites?

    kebod
    Kebod, I think everyone has these demodex mites. People with KP perhaps just have way more of these. Also, everyone has candida, but again, perhaps we have way more. Both of those would contribute to the increase in the number of free radicals in the body, as I'm guessing the body would create more to fight them (or the bacteria they produce). In turn, a weak system allows them to overgrow. So getting rid of them would be beneficial to us.

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    Lightbulb Re: Potential causes of KP

    Hi! I also have something to mention that might cause KP. (Sorry if this was already mentioned, I don't have enough time to read this whole page.) I'm not sure that I've always had KP, it developed around the time I ws 10 or so, but went away around 11. The bumps were skin colored and tiny. But when I was 13 I went vegetarian. I was getting little to no protein, which weakened my immune system, causing frequent colds, scars healing slowly, bruising easily, and skin problems.

    So I'm going to do any experiment. I'm going to drink protein shakes, take multivitamins, and be sure to eat foods with lots of protein. I'll do this for a month or two, and see how it goes.

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