Arm Bumps
Skincare

Bumps on the arms are pretty standard. Unless they gradually change or enlarge over time, these bumps are usually harmless. Most spots on the arms are caused by a condition called keratosis pilaris. Also, other possible causes range from inflammatory skin conditions to irritation, such as folliculitis.

Keratosis pilaris, commonly known as “chicken skin,” is the most common cause of bumps on your arms. This condition is characterized by small red or brown bumps that develop on the backs of your upper arms. They may also occur on the backs of your thighs and the buttocks. While chicken skin can be frustrating, it isn’t harmful. The bumps develop when dead skin cells get trapped in your pores like acne. Some, but not all, of the bumps may have pimple-like heads. However, most keratosis pilaris bumps on the arms are small and flat.

What makes keratosis pilaris challenging to prevent entirely is that it can be hereditary. But since the bumps are linked to dead skin cell buildup, you can help treat them and prevent others from forming with regular exfoliation. Dermabrasion and chemical peels from a dermatologist can also help in more severe cases. Dry, less humid times of the year can also contribute to developing these bumps. Regular exfoliation can still help, along with keeping your skin hydrated with lotion. While the bumps may feel dry and rough to the touch, keratosis pilaris is not itchy.

WHAT IS KERATOSIS PILARIS? 

Keratosis pilaris is a benign skin condition that causes small, hard bumps to appear on the skin. The bumps contain extra keratin, a protein in the hair, skin, and nails. A buildup of dead skin cells contributes to the issue. In older children and adults, keratosis pilaris typically appears on the buttocks, thighs, and upper arms. In younger children, the bumps usually form on the cheeks, but they can also appear on the arms and thighs.

A person is most likely to notice the issue when the skin is dry, such as during winter. The bumps may disappear during warmer or more humid seasons. Keratosis pilaris bumps may form dry, rough patches, or they may resemble goosebumps, pimples, or a rash. The bumps may be skin-colored, white, or red, and itchy.

CAUSES OF KERATOSIS PILARIS

Keratosis pilaris is a condition created by blocked hair follicles from dead skin. Keratin, a protein produced by the skin meant to protect your skin from the outside world, is the one creating the blockage. When there’s an overproduction of keratin, it traps the hair follicle and forms a tiny red bump in its place. Some even refer to the condition as chicken skin. You’re more likely to develop these small red bumps if you have eczema, generally dry skin, dead skin buildup (ichthyosis), allergies, hay fever, or asthma.

Other symptoms of keratosis pilaris include:

Painless small bumps on the thighs, cheeks, or buttocks

Dry, rough, or irritable skin

Worsening when seasonal changes cause low humidity

Pinkness or redness around the bumps

Sandpaper feeling around the bumps

PREVENTION OF KERATOSIS PILARIS

A person with keratosis pilaris can take some steps to prevent bumps from forming. The AAD recommends:

using a thick, oil-free moisturizing cream

moisturizing immediately after bathing, while the skin is still damp

using moisturizer whenever the skin feels dry

considering hair removal techniques other than shaving or waxing, which can make keratosis pilaris worse

limiting showers and baths to once a day and keeping them short

avoiding bar soap in favor of a mild cleanser

using a humidifier if the skin is dry

avoiding self-tanners

Remedy of Small bumps on arms caused by Keratosis pilaris

HOW TO GET RID OF SMALL BUMPS ON ARMS NATURALLY

1. Run A Bath.

The heat from a warm bath or long shower can help open hair follicles and pores and allow trapped dead cells to the surface, clearing out any blockage. If baths aren’t your thing, you can also try a steam room or shower (just make sure you shower and cleanse after).

2. Exfoliate Weekly.

Gently exfoliating the area that’s prone to red bumps one to two times a week can increase the turnover of dead skin cells and help you remove those red itchy bumps. You’ll also probably see, as a result of the exfoliation, other skin conditions that you hadn’t paid particular attention to before clearing up, like ingrown hairs. Similar to the red bumps on arms, these are prone to forming on the underarm and thighs. Don’t go overboard on harshness or frequency, which could worsen the condition.

3. Moisturize Daily.

Your skin is ready to take in moisture now that you've exfoliated. Moisturizing daily is key to keeping your skin hydrated, even on days when you don’t exfoliate. Red spots and bumps are irritated even further by lack of hydration, and red blotchy patches can form; as a result, so don’t skimp on moisturizing as part of your skincare routine. Opt for a non-toxic cream that’s ultra-hydrating. If you’re not worried about oiliness, you can even turn to your pantry and slather on some coconut oil.

4. Increase Your Water Intake.

Keratosis pilaris can be more common in people with dehydrated skin, so hydration can also help. Your skin is made up of 64 percent water, so taking in water internally can visibly improve the external quality of your skin’s hydration. We recommend a minimum of 2.7 liters of water a day for women and 3.7 liters for men.

5. Consider An Elimination Diet.

Keratosis pilaris is thought to be a non-inflammatory condition. Still, at Parsley Health, we’ve had some cases where members can completely resolve their bumps on upper arms by removing foods from their diet that they’re sensitive to. Common trigger foods known for their inflammatory effects include eggs, dairy, and wheat. If you do not see results after an elimination diet, it may also be worth asking your doctor about food intolerance testing. If no trigger foods are found, you can ensure that your keratosis pilaris is not caused by your diet.

6. Avoid Tight Clothes

If you notice that your keratosis pilaris is itchier or more uncomfortable after sitting around in your workout clothes, you’re not crazy. Particularly when you have a flare-up, the friction caused by tight clothing could worsen your little red bumps. Opting for a loose, flowy shirt and shorts when your skin is dehydrated and itchy will feel a lot better.

7. Use A Humidifier

Not only is keratosis pilaris more common during dry times of the year, but any dry environment could be allowing your tiny red bumps to thrive. If your house or bedroom has particularly low humidity, especially in the winter months, investing in a humidifier could do wonders for your skin. Humidifiers will add moisture to the air, allowing it to keep its water and preventing itchy flare-ups.

HOME REMEDIES TO TREAT KERATOSIS PILARIS

While chicken skin or keratosis pilaris cannot be eliminated, you can reduce the severity and make the red marks fade away with the right methods. You will need to opt for both internal and external solutions.

Below listed are the top methods to combat this skin condition:

1. COCONUT OIL FOR KERATOSIS PILARIS

You Will Need

2 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil

1 tablespoon brown sugar

What You Have To Do

1. Warm the oil slightly and mix the sugar in it.

2. Massage this on the affected areas for two to three minutes.

3. Rinse with water.

Why This Works

Coconut oil acts as an excellent keratosis pilaris home remedy, and it is good not only for your hair but for your skin as well. Its unique fatty acids soften the skin and provide nourishment from within. Coconut oil's strong antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties help heal skin inflammation over time.

2. ESSENTIAL OILS FOR KERATOSIS PILARIS

You Will Need

2-3 drops lemon essential oil

2-3 drops lavender essential oil

2 tablespoons olive oil

What You Have To Do

1. Mix all the oils and massage them on the skin for a few minutes.

2. Let it air dry.

Why This Works

Lemon oil contains antioxidants that will keep your skin healthy. It also has antifungal properties that will keep the skin infection-free. Lavender oil aids lemon oil in keeping the skin healthy with its antibacterial properties. It also soothes the skin and the mind.

3. DIET TO HELP KERATOSIS PILARIS

To combat keratosis pilaris and its symptoms, merely applying products and extracts externally is not enough. You also need to eat the right kind of food. This will offer your body the required nutrients and antioxidants to better battle skin conditions like Keratosis Pilaris. Include these in your diet to improve skin health:

Fresh fruits and vegetables. Have at least five servings in a day.

Vitamin A and E-rich foods such as mangoes, pumpkins, tomatoes, green leafy vegetables, etc.

Foods are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and lean meat.

4. COD LIVER OIL FOR KERATOSIS PILARIS

You Will Need: Cod liver oil capsules

What You Have To Do: Take two pills in a day.

How Often You Need To Do This: Continue taking the liver oil capsules for a few weeks to heal the keratosis pilaris.

Why This Works

Cod liver oil contains omega-3 fatty acids that have anti-inflammatory and healing properties. Cod liver oil is often recommended for a healthy body and skin.

5. GLYCOLIC ACID FOR KERATOSIS PILARIS

You Will Need: Cream or lotion containing glycolic acid

What You Have To Do

Apply this on the affected area and massage for a few minutes.

Rinse with water.

Why This Works

Glycolic acid is a type of alpha-hydroxy acid. It has skin exfoliating properties. It will remove the dead skin cell build-up and exfoliate the accumulated keratin. It also reduces skin inflammation.

6. APPLE CIDER VINEGAR FOR KERATOSIS PILARIS

You Will Need

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1 teaspoon honey

What You Have To Do

Mix the ingredients well and apply them to the affected area.

Let it dry. Then, rinse with water.

Why This Works

ACV, on topical application, acts as a chemical exfoliant. It will remove the dead skin cells and excess keratin that are causing the formation of bumps on the skin. It also doesn’t allow any infections to develop. 

7. TEA TREE OIL

You Will Need

2 drops tea tree essential oil

10 drops coconut oil

What You Have To Do

Mix the two oils and massage them onto the affected area.

Leave it on.

Why This Works

Tea tree oil purifies the skin, making it clear and healthy. Its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties will aid in giving you quick relief from keratosis pilaris without developing any infections.

8. ALOE VERA

You Will Need

Fresh aloe Vera gel

Cotton pad

What You Have To Do

Take out fresh gel from an aloe vera leaf and apply it to the affected area.

Leave it on for five to 10 minutes. After this, gently massage the gel for a few minutes.

Wipe off the excess gel using a cotton pad.

Why This Works

Aloe Vera gel is soothing for the skin and has healing and moisturizing effects. Topical gel application is very beneficial for the skin.

9. ARGAN OIL

You Will Need

Argan oil

What You Have To Do

Massage the oil on the affected area and leave it on.

Why This Works

Argan oil is a non-greasy oil that nourishes the skin. It contains vitamin E that helps in maintaining healthy and blemish-free skin. Argan oil is also effective in healing wounds and scars.

10. BAKING SODA

You Will Need

2-3 tablespoons baking soda

Water

What You Have To Do

Mix enough water with the soda to make a paste of medium consistency.

Apply this on the affected area and gently massage in circular motions for three to five minutes.

Rinse with water.

Why This Works

Baking soda removes dead skin cells and improves blood circulation to give the skin a smooth and polished appearance. It also reduces skin inflammation.

11. SCRUB

You Will Need

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

2 tablespoons sour cream

What You Have To Do

Mix the two ingredients well and apply them to the affected area.

Gently massage in small circular motions for four to five minutes.

Rinse with water. Pat dry and moisturize well.

Why This Works

The lactic acid content of sour cream is an effective solution to remove the bumps of keratosis pilaris. The scrubbing motion with sugar will also remove dead skin cells.

12. LACTIC ACID

You Will Need

Cream with at least 10% lactic acid

What You Have To Do

Apply this all over the affected area and massage for a minute or two to absorb it quickly by the skin.

Why This Works

Like glycolic acid, lactic acid is also alpha hydroxy acid. It exfoliates and hydrates the skin and helps get rid of keratosis pilaris.

13. WITCH HAZEL

You Will Need

A few witch hazel leaves

Water

What You Have To Do

Crush the leaves and add water to form a paste.

Spread this evenly on the affected area and dry it for five to 10 minutes.

Rinse with water..

Why This Works

Witch hazel is a potent herb when it comes to treating skin problems. When the bumps on the skin are due to dry skin or hair removal, witch hazel is an excellent home remedy. It soothes the skin, reduces inflammation, and kills any bacteria present.

14. OATMEAL BATH

You Will Need

A handful of oatmeal powder

Lukewarm water

What You Have To Do

Fill the bathtub with lukewarm water and add the oatmeal to it.

Soak your body in that water and remain in the bathtub for 15 minutes.

Then, take a shower and pat your skin dry. Moisturize well.


FAQs

Why Do I Have Little Bumps On My Arm?

Those little bumps are caused by keratosis pilaris, a common skin condition that usually affects the arms and thighs (although it sometimes appears on the buttocks and face, too). It's caused by a buildup of the protein keratin, which can plug a hair follicle, resulting in a bump.

How Does Keratosis Pilaris Look Like?

Keratosis pilaris may make your skin look like you have “goosebumps.” The bumps are often the color of your skin. They may also look white, red, pinkish-purple on fair skin or brownish-black on dark skin. They can feel rough and dry like sandpaper. They may itch, but they don't hurt.

Does Vitamin A Deficiency Cause Keratosis Pilaris?

The condition has a connection to vitamin A deficiency, so supplementation with small amounts of vitamin A may help. Keratosis pilaris usually disappears eventually without treatment.

When Does Keratosis Pilaris Go Away?

Keratosis pilaris is a common skin condition where small bumps develop on the arms, legs, or buttocks. This condition is harmless and typically doesn't need treatment. It usually goes away on its own over time – often fading by age 30.

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