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Are These Bumps Razor Burn or Keratosis Pilaris?

Are These Bumps Razor Burn or Keratosis Pilaris?

kp bumps on skin

If there are tiny bumps on your legs, your first assumption may be that it is simply razor burn from shaving your legs. However, that may not be the case. Little red bumps on your legs can also be caused by Keratosis Pilaris, the buildup of keratin which traps hair follicles in the pore. While these bumps can look similar, there are some ways to tell them apart. A doctor is the only one who can tell you definitively, but we have compiled a list of signs and symptoms that can help you determine whether your bumps are KP or razor burn.


If your bumps are itchy, they are most likely caused by razor burn. Keratosis Pilaris bumps are painless and will not likely itch. Razor burn, because it is caused by irritation, can itch fairly significantly depending on the severity.


While KP bumps can be red or skin colored, the skin surrounding it generally does not change shade. With razor burn, the entire affected area may appear red, not just the bumps.


White, Pus Filled Bumps

Razor bumps can cause ingrown hairs, which can get infected and form bumps with whiteheads. Bumps caused by Keratosis Pilaris are not pus-filled and will not have whiteheads.

Duration of KP Bumps & Razor Burn

If your bumps have been apparent for more than a week, they are likely caused by an underlying problem, such as KP. Razor burn (depending on the severity) lasts anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Keratosis Pilaris, on the other hand, is a chronic problem.


It can be difficult to understand the cause of red bumps — the only way to truly know the cause of your bumps is to have them checked out of by a doctor. However, if you determine that your bumps are caused by razor burn, you can try a cold compress or gentle lotion to hydrate and soothe the skin. If you have Keratosis Pilaris, there are ways to treat it. Using a combination of a body scrub and exfoliating cream can help to reduce the appearance and smooth the skin.

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