The 4-1-1 on Your Burning Skin Questions: Insights from Dermatologist Dr. Whitney Bo

In this video, dermatologist Dr. Whitney Bo answers common questions about skin concerns. She explains that keratosis pilaris, often called „chicken skin“ or „strawberry skin,“ is a common condition characterized by red, scaly bumps found mainly on the arms, thighs, and cheeks. While it is a chronic condition that is difficult to cure, treatments such as acids, retinoids, and ceramides can help reduce redness and roughness. Dr. Bo also addresses ingrown hairs, providing tips for prevention and at-home treatments such as warm compresses and retinoids. Additionally, she emphasizes the importance of vitamin C serum for various skin concerns, as it boosts collagen production and protects against free radical damage.

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Key Insights:

  • Keratosis Pilaris, also known as chicken skin or strawberry skin, is a common condition characterized by red and scaly bumps on the skin.
  • While there is no definite cure for Keratosis Pilaris, there are treatments that can make it look less red and feel less rough.
  • Treatments for Keratosis Pilaris at home include using gentle acids, such as those found in creams and lotions, retinoids (prescription or over-the-counter), and ceramides to hydrate the skin.
  • Ingrown hairs can be caused by shaving, plucking, threading, waxing, or dermaplaning, and people with curly hair are more prone to them.
  • Ingrown hairs occur when the hair follicle twists and dives back into the skin, creating inflammation and bumps.
  • To treat ingrown hairs at home, warm compresses and hydrocortisone creams can be used to reduce inflammation, and retinoids can be applied to help the hairs come to the surface.
  • Prevention is key for ingrown hairs, and shaving with the grain, or even using an electric razor for a less close shave, can help avoid them.
  • Threading can both treat and cause ingrown hairs, so it’s important to go to an experienced professional. Laser hair removal is a long-term solution for ingrown hairs.
  • Vitamin C serum is highly recommended for various skin conditions, including preventing fine lines and wrinkles, evening out skin tone, and brightening dark spots.
  • Vitamin C serum acts as a potent antioxidant, protecting the skin from free radical damage caused by UV rays, blue light, and pollution.
  • New and stable forms of vitamin C, such as tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, should be sought out for maximum effectiveness.
  • Vitamin C serum should be incorporated into the morning skincare routine after cleansing and before applying moisturizer and sunscreen.


All right, we’re talking skin, people. That’s right, I’m here with this dermatologist, Dr. Whitney Bo, and she’s going to give us the 4-1-1 on your burning questions when it comes to your skin. We probably shouldn’t use „burning.“ I keep using it, burning skin. Maybe not in the same sense.

Question 1: What is Keratosis Pilaris?

Now, see, as you can see, it’s a little red and it has bumps all over. I’m curious, what is that? This thing called keratosis pilaris. You can call it KP. Some of my patients actually call it chicken skin or strawberry skin, and you can see why. I mean, these little red, scaly bumps, they’re very, very commonly found on the outside of the arms, on the outside of the thighs. You can even see them on the cheeks. They’re harmless. They can be annoying. We actually see an association between KP and people who have eczema or really dry skin, and KP tends to get worse during the winter.

Now, some people can outgrow KP, but most of the time, you’re kind of stuck with it. It’s what we call a chronic condition. So, there are things we can do to make it look less red, feel less rough, but it’s really hard to cure keratosis pilaris.

Treatments for Keratosis Pilaris

So, keratosis pilaris is a little more than just goosebumps. Is there any way we can treat this?

So, yes, there are definitely things you can do right at home. Three of my favorite treatments for KP are acids, retinoids, and ceramides.

Acids, especially gentle acids, you can find them over the counter in creams and lotions. They can be amazing for exfoliating away those sticky, sort of rough, you know, spines on the arm. Yeah, what’s happening there is actually the buildup of a protein called keratin that’s clogging your hair follicles. So, you can imagine if you’re sort of dissolving it away with a little acid action, it can make a real difference.

One of my second favorite treatments is retinoids. And you can get a prescription from your doc, but you can also get retinoids over the counter. The ingredient to look for is retinol.

My last treatment is ceramide, and that’s really important because I mentioned before that people who have dry skin or eczema are more prone to keratosis pilaris. So, hydration is key, and ceramides are those nourishing, moisturizing ingredients that your skin needs to stay hydrated.

Question 2: What Causes Ingrown Hairs?

This next person from TikTok wants to know, „What should I do with ingrown hair?“ Take a look at this video as you can see, they are pulling the hair right out. First of all, what causes ingrown hairs?

So, Renata, you can get ingrown hairs from shaving, plucking, threading, waxing, dermaplaning. So, all of those things can actually lead to ingrown hairs. And actually, people who have curly hair are much more prone to ingrowns, right?

So, what’s going on with ingrown hair? So, take a look at this. This is a normal hair follicle. This is what it’s supposed to look like. The hair follicle is supposed to follow this nice path all the way out and pierce through the surface and find its way out, right? But what happens with an ingrown hair is that it takes a little twist, it takes a little turn, and it dives back into the skin. And when it does that, the skin is sort of like, „What is this?“ It acts like it’s a wooden splinter. It’s called a foreign body reaction. And the skin basically creates like a little wall of inflammation around that hair. And that’s what creates that red, tender, sometimes painful bump that we associate with ingrown hairs.

At-Home Treatments for Ingrown Hairs

Ingrown hairs are no fun. What can you do at home to get rid of ingrown hairs?

If you’re struggling with an ingrown at home, you can use warm compresses. You can use an over-the-counter ingredient called hydrocortisone that can help with the inflammation. If it’s not painful and you’re just trying to get the hairs to the surface because you sort of know they’re trapped under there, you can use a retinoid.

When it comes to ingrowns, prevention is key. So, I’m going to give you guys a tip when it comes to shaving because most of you guys are getting ingrowns from shaving. How can you prevent ingrowns when you’re shaving?

What you want to do is you want to shave with the grain. See over here, this is the direction of hair growth, right? So, people who want that close shave, they shave against the grain, right? Because that gives you that close shave, that nice smooth baby’s bottom feeling. But when it comes to ingrowns, the closer the shave, the worse, right? The more likely you are to get those ingrown. So, you want to actually shave with the grain, maybe even use an electric razor. You don’t want to get that really super close shave.

I’ve seen a video like this where they use strings to get rid of ingrown hairs. What do you think about that? What say you, Dr. Bo?

So, I reacted to this video, something called a duet on TikTok. It got over 12 million views. I think a lot of people just hadn’t seen threading that close and personal and didn’t really know what it entailed. So, threading is taking two cotton threads, twisting them, and rolling them over the skin. Now, in this video, what’s interesting is that threading is actually treating the ingrown. It’s dislodging the ingrown hair. But for those of you who are listening before, threading can also cause ingrown. So, it really depends on who you’re seeing. You want to go to somebody really experienced. But if you’re really looking for a long-term solution when it comes to these ingrowns, definitely ask your dermatologist about laser hair removal. That’s something we talked about in an earlier video, so if you missed that one, make sure to subscribe.

Question 3: Is Vitamin C Serum Necessary?

Dr. Bo, now you know I love me a good old serum. Now that I have a proper skincare routine, but this question has to do with a popular serum that’s getting a lot of buzz, and this serum is vitamin C serum. This person from Twitter wants to know, is vitamin C serum really necessary?

Oh yeah. So, I am a huge fan of vitamin C serum. So, you guys, whatever skin condition you’re dealing with, if you want to prevent fine lines and wrinkles, if you’re dealing with dark spots, uneven tone, if your skin just looks dull, you want to be using a vitamin C. So, I haven’t met a face that doesn’t benefit from vitamin C. She’s kind of cute over here. Okay, looking good. So, you’re the exception. Most of you guys need a vitamin C serum, and the earlier you start, the better. It’s amazing for prevention. You want to be using a vitamin C serum in your morning routine. So, you cleanse, pat dry, vitamin C serum, then you want to apply a moisturizer, and then you want to apply your sunscreen.

Vitamin C serum is going to help boost collagen production. It helps even out skin tone, it brightens dark spots. It does so many amazing things for the skin and even acts like a shield on your skin all day long because it’s what’s considered a potent antioxidant. We’re exposed to free radical damage. Free radicals, look at all these free radicals. They’re like little missiles all day long, right? From the ultraviolet rays and the blue light from our devices and the pollution in the air. And that’s aging our skin. It’s causing acne, it’s causing brown spots. But vitamin C is like your shield. It’s your shield of armor. So, you want to invest in a good vitamin C serum, and there are actually these new forms of vitamin C that are much more stable. So, fancy words, things like tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate. I went to a lot of school to say that out loud, but basically, you’re looking for these new stable forms of vitamin C, and you want to be using your vitamin C serum every single morning.

Dr. Whitney Bo, you be in the know. I just rhymed there. Listen, everybody, comment below with your pressing health questions, and of course, hit subscribe here to the Health Channel to get more answers from medical experts on the questions you want to know. Dr. Whitney Bo, thank you so much for answering our burning, I said it again, oh, burning, you’re killing me, killing me. Oh, good, this burning health questions. We’ll see you next time.