Monday, 30 April 2012

Sudocrem and Keratosis Pilaris


I absolutely love Sudocrem.

Apparently it’s licensed as a medicine, which means it has proven efficacy in soothing and treating nappy rash.

But I don’t really care about nappy rash here. Why I’m actually interested in Sudocrem (the original) is its use in treating keratosis pilaris or those nasty little spots on top of the arms 
and on occasion, thighs and legs.

Keratosis pilaris is a completely harmless condition that occurs in loads of people. Some affected people have bumps which are red and inflamed and therefore, more noticeable (and can be confused with spots) and some have just raised, rough skin coloured bumps. Beauty pages in magazines will normally advise dry body brushing to get rid.

Why does it happen to us? 

Our body produces keratin, which is a protein that makes the outer layer of the skin (epidermis). Keratin is also the major player in making of the hair and nails.
But, for some reason, our body can sometimes produce excess of the stuff. The overproduction can be either genetic or hormonal – after all, it does occur mostly in women and adolescents.

So when our body produces excesses of keratin, what it does is wrap around hair follicles forming a “plug” – a bit like a blackhead. So that’s your keratosis pilaris. It’s not a serious “condition”, or not serious enough that you rush off to your doctor asking to be cured.

Enter Sudocrem.

I don’t even remember how I ended up using it on my arms – I was probably trying to soothe an irritation (I get allergic to things). But what I have noticed that the nasty bumps on the top of the arms disappeared! My skin just got very smooth instead. Eureka!

So what’s in Sudocrem that makes it amazing?

According to its website, the main actives are zinc oxide, benzyl benzoate and benzyl cinnamate.

Zinc oxide (in skincare) is widely used in deodorants, antibacterial creams and also sunscreen. It’s mainly an antiseptic.
It’s a white powder and that’s why some sunscreens can appear white on our skin. And it’s one of the ingredients in mineral make up.

Sudocrem claim that “zinc oxide reduces the loss of tissue fluid”, which translated into plain English would be that zinc oxide helps in creating a barrier, so the moisture does not evaporate from skin – slightly confusing as zinc oxide is not really an emollient? I’d be more likely to say that emollient in Sudocrem is lanolin, which is also listed as one of the ingredients.

Benzyl benzoate is used for treating parasitic conditions on skin such as scabies (lovely!). Present in “Balsam of Peru”.

Benzyl Cinnamate is mainly used in fragrances as it smells….of vanilla apparently.
This is another one of the ingredients found in “Balsam of Peru” – which comes from a resin of the bark of balsam tree. It is also an antiseptic and helps in minor wound healing.

Now this is where it gets a bit funky as Benzyl Cinnamate and also “Balsam of Peru” are listed as major allergens and should not be used in large quantities or prolonged time.
Maybe that’s why there’s a warning on Sudocrem that it should not come into contact with eyes and mucous membrane?

Anyway, I really don’t know how Sudocrem works on keratosis pilaris. I imagine that it is probably a combination of all ingredients that are mainly different antiseptics, who knows! Sudocrem don’t list keratosis as one of the conditions it treats.
Maybe one day a proper scientist will do a research on the topic and come up with a good answer.

So give Sudocrem a try. It’s not the prettiest of creams, actually it has quite a horrible consistency. Thick and white, best be used at bedtime and when alone. But it does work. Try it and let me know how you get on!

Full list of ingredients available here


  1. I use my sons sudocrem when i feel a pimple coming up and quite often it never ends up rising! My son is now 5 and has Keratosis Pilaris and im going to try this on his skin and see how it goes, thanks for the article!!

    1. Good luck Sarah, you will have to slap it on like you would for a nappy rash and persist! I also always have it handy for spots.

  2. I bought some sudocrem recently and decided to try it on my arms where I've had keratosis pilaris since a child. It's the second day and I've noticed my arms already feel smoother. I've googled to see if there are any others who have used Sudocrem and came across your blog. I'm really pleased it worked for you, and hope it continues to work for me :-) I agree, it is quite think and potent, but the thoughts of it working are making me slap it on twice a day.

  3. I had actually been trying sudocrem on my KP before i researched it. I used it on acne and thought maybe it would work on my arms and it did! it made it so much better so i researched it to see if anyone else had tried it and came across this page xD I found this review really helpful so thank you :) i call sudocrem miracle cream and have used it since i was young xD

    1. It's brilliant, isn't it? Glad you liked my review and I love it when there's something that really works and it's cheap too!

  4. I am really excited about this. i have had KP since I was a child and it always seems to be irritated. Im going to try sudocrem now. Thank you, you have given me hope!! :)

  5. I've bought sudocrem just yesterday and I already started the "treatment" :D I'm so excited about it, I hope it will help with my "chicken skin" :D

  6. A question: Can I still shave my arms? Because I usually do, it helped on smoothing my arms, and anyways, I don't like hair on my arms, but I read somewhere, that it's not good to cut the spots down... So?

    1. Sorry just seen this... Yes you can, hope you're having good results with it, let me know how it goes!

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