Updated: Apr 17
Tallow balm is a potent natural treatment for keratosis pilaris. Tallow balm is rich in vitamin A and other nutrients that support cell growth and overall skin health. It's also an extremely gentle moisturizer, which makes it safe for children and teenagers.
Nothing will get rid of keratosis pilaris overnight. But using tallow balm consistently as part of a holistic natural skincare regimen can help you find relief from those dry, sandpapery bumps and restore the appearance of your skin over time.
Why use tallow balm for keratosis pilaris?
Using tallow balm is a great way to treat keratosis pilaris (or "chicken skin") because it contains the right balance of nourishing ingredients to address nutrient deficiencies associated with keratosis pilaris and other common skin conditions.
The link between keratosis pilaris and vitamin A deficiency
Keratosis pilaris occurs when an imbalance in your skin microbiome causes excess buildup of keratin, a protein found in your hair, nails and epidermis. Scientists aren't certain what causes keratosis pilaris, but research suggests it may be linked to a vitamin A deficiency.
Vitamin A regulates cell growth. It increases quick epidermal turnover, or the rate that your skin restores itself after shedding dead cells. Low vitamin A levels cause skin cell production to become imbalanced, which can lead to many skin issues, including eczema and keratosis pilaris. (Learn why tallow balm is great for eczema.)
Why tallow balm is an effective keratosis pilaris treatment
Because keratosis pilaris is associated with a vitamin A deficiency, doctors often recommend treating it with topical retinoid or retinol creams— both of which are derived from vitamin A.
Grass-fed tallow is naturally rich in vitamin A, and it's much gentler on the skin than most commercial keratosis pilaris treatments. Tallow is also highly absorbable, which makes it a great delivery system for vitamin A and other nutrients.
Since vitamin A is fat soluble, your skin absorbs it more easily when it's accompanied with animal fats like tallow. Additionally, tallow has a similar fatty acid profile to the natural oils in human sebum. In fact, the Latin word for tallow is actually "sebum."
These factors make tallow balm a great way to treat keratosis pilaris naturally without exposing you (or your child's) skin to the harsh ingredients found in most commercial treatments, which typically use synthetic vitamin A.
These synthetic retinols and retinoids can help treat keratosis pilaris symptoms. But they often have unwelcome side effects, like dry skin, itchiness, and irritation. Synthetic retinoids also contain a large concentration of vitamin A, which can be toxic in large quantities — especially for children, pregnant women, and nursing mothers.
What is the best tallow balm for keratosis pilaris?
The best tallow balm for keratosis pilaris is grass-fed tallow balm. Using a grass-fed tallow balm like our Vanilla-Orange Whipped Tallow Balm or Lavender Ancestral Tallow Balm is the best way to make sure you're nourishing your skin with the vitamin A content your skin microbiome needs to get rid of those dry, bumpy spots and remain healthy.
Why is it so important to make sure your tallow balm comes from grass-fed cows? Research shows that grass-fed beef products have a higher nutrient content than products derived from grain-fed cows. So, it makes sense that grass-fed tallow is going to have more nutrients that are beneficial for your skin, giving your skin the support it needs to look and feel its best.
How tallow balm compares to other natural treatments for keratosis pilaris
Aside from tallow balm, the most popular natural keratosis pilaris treatments are cod liver oil and emu oil.
Both cod liver oil and emu oil are high in vitamin A and safe for consumption. Ingesting them is a great way to add vitamin A to your diet, especially if you know you have a vitamin A deficiency. (My entire family takes cod liver oil daily.)
You can also apply cod liver oil and emu oil topically, but in my experience tallow balm is a better, more affordable option for most people. Cod liver oil is smellier and stickier than tallow balm, while unrefined emu oil is almost impossible to find. They also tend to cost a lot more than a quality tallow balm.
How to use tallow balm to get rid of keratosis pilaris naturally
To treat keratosis pilaris with tallow balm, simply apply the balm frequently throughout the day to keep the skin moisturized and protected.
You can also exfoliate the affected skin to help remove dead skin cells. But don't overdo it! Exfoliating too aggressively may cause irritation.
For the best results, use grass-fed tallow balm as part of a holistic natural skincare regimen. Avoid soap and other body products made with harsh ingredients like sulfates, artificial fragrances, dyes, and preservatives. Replace them with a gentle, creamy olive oil soap or goat milk soap that's made from organic, all-natural ingredients. (I personally recommend our Calm Down Olive Oil Soap for babies, children, and anyone else with sensitive skin.)
Finally, make sure that you and your family are eating a healthy diet that's rich in vitamin A and other important nutrients. Nutrient deficiencies may be one reason that keratosis pilaris is so prevalent among children and teenagers, whose growing bodies need nutrient-dense foods that are missing from the typical American diet. Since people with keratosis pilaris often have a vitamin A deficiency, eating ancestral foods like liver, fish oils, and eggs will support your overall skin health.
FAQs about using tallow balm for keratosis pilaris
Is tallow balm a good way to treat keratosis pilaris naturally?
Yes, tallow balm is a great way to treat keratosis pilaris naturally. Tallow is rich in bio-available retinol (vitamin A in its natural form). It's also highly absorbable, which makes it an excellent way to nourish your skin with the nutrients it needs to relieve the dry, bumpy skin associated with keratosis pilaris.
How do I treat keratosis pilaris with tallow balm?
To treat keratosis pilaris with tallow balm, apply the balm to your skin as needed to keep it moisturized throughout the day. I also recommend using a gentle exfoliator, avoiding skincare products made from artificial ingredients, and maintaining a vitamin A-rich diet.
How long does it take to get rid of keratosis pilaris naturally?
How long it takes to get rid of keratosis pilaris naturally depends on individual factors like the severity of your symptoms, your diet, and the unique composition of your skin's microbiome. With consistent use, you should expect to see a gradual improvement in your skin's appearance over time.
What is the best tallow balm for keratosis pilaris?
The best tallow balm for keratosis pilaris is a grass-fed tallow balm made from organic and all-natural ingredients. Grass-fed tallow balms are high in Vitamin A, which is a crucial nutrient in treating keratosis pilaris and maintaining healthy skin.