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Irritated About Bumps on Your Arms?

As long as I've known my best friend, she's been complaining about these tiny red bumps on the backs of her arms. She thought they were some kind of acne, like what you get on your back when you workout, so she went to her dermatologist to find out.

It turns out that it was a common condition called keratosis pilaris — a complicated name meaning bumpy skin. Actually 50 percent of people have it, so if you don't have it yourself, you probably know someone who does. It can be on the backs of your arms, your tush, and your thighs. The dead skin cells that are supposed to just flake off, get plugged up in the hair follicles. They look like tiny red or white pimples that have a dry, sandpaper feel. They don't hurt or itch, but they can make you feel self-conscious about baring your skin.

What can you do about these bumps? Use a good moisturizer twice a day — one containing salicylic acid, urea, or alphahydroxy might be your best bet. You can also take hot showers, let the skin soak a little, and then gently exfoliate using loofah gloves. A dermatologist can also prescribe a topical retinoid cream (made from vitamin A), which may help promote cell turnover and prevent the hair follicles from getting plugged in the first place. Whatever you do, I'm sorry to say that it takes constant maintenance — if you stop, the bumps will come back. Since they're harmless, I wouldn't worry about them too much.


Join The Conversation
CoMMember13627761335096 CoMMember13627761335096 3 years
Hi I had arms like this too when I was a teenager and young adult. I tried many things but what worked best for me was a gentle soap with Chamomile in it and drinking lots and lots of water. Sun helped but be sure to wear sun screen. I am very fair and burn easy.
kitcatok kitcatok 4 years
I've had these since i can remember.. when i was younger my friends would touch my arms and feel grossed out, i am now sixteen and I'm completely paranoid about being touched, especially by boys.. I'm supposed to be young and dating and whatnot but I'm terrified of being in the heat of the moment and having him touch my arms and be completely turned off:/ I'm very self conscious about it, anyone who says "well it's not dangerous" makes me wanna scream. it's worse than if it was dangerous.
Kid-Smiles Kid-Smiles 5 years
Thank you!!!! You guys are helping a lot :)
stacieLee1725 stacieLee1725 5 years
Mine are not that bad, but I have had them for years and I am 17. I thought something was wrong woth me! Thank you for letting me know that it is normal. :) Some people would ask me about them, but I didn't even know so I would just shrug and walk away. They are pretty annoying. I have them on my legs and arms. The ones on my legs annoy me theworst.
jonessam jonessam 5 years
i have had these since i was 10 i am 21 now, they are so bad on my arms that my arms are purple, i am always getting asked about it, recently they have came up on my sides and thighs and nothing i do has seemed to help, its quite embarassing to wear shorts or shortsleeves because i hate having to explain over and over what it is
xee302 xee302 5 years
So...have been plagued by these kinds of bumps for years...have been told everything from use Lubriderm or Aveno, to scrub harder in the shower, to its simply a strain of eczema, "here's some ointment"...on a fluke I started researching deodorents...turns out the alumuminim and paraben in most commercials deodorents are quite toxic! So, I went to Whole Foods and/or Chamberlains (even Publix) and found a natural deodorent...these salt rocks. I prefer the spray...but it is basically salt rock and purified water....use it like you would deodorent....two weeks bumps are almost gone. (these sprays and rocks actually work fantastic....they kill the bacteria that cause smell. No bacteria, no smell....I add a couple drops of sage oil for scent and anti-perspirant effect) But I am telling more bumps. Starting to think there is more to this "natural/organic" more and more strange ailments and illnesses pop up....all these extra toxins are clearly NOT good for us. Bottom line..if you wouldn't eat it...DONT smear it on your body. We put all those toxic chemical deodorents right on our sensitive armpits which are a direct highways to our lymph nodes....studies underway right now linking commerical deodorents with certain forms of lymphoma and breast cancer...makes sense to me now!
Anablackshaw Anablackshaw 6 years
I also have this and am desperate to get rid of it. What is the name of the Avon product that is meant to help with this bumpy rash?? Thanks!
DorianRocks DorianRocks 8 years
Ive had these bumps for years already. When i was 13 i said to myself 'by the time im 18 these will be gone'. Pfft. I still have them in my thighs, behind my arms and its annoying as hell. What helps me is lotion. I put alot of lotion and that makes it better. Aveeno lotion helps.
cahill cahill 9 years
thanks for the tips, i'll have to try these before i get to the dermatologist
pandacn pandacn 9 years
I've had this all my life. I think it's hereditary. My parents had it when they were younger and they say it clears up on its own the older you get. I've tried regular lotions and prescribed lotions, but nothing has made a significant difference. Exfoliating is probably the method that smoothes out the bumps the most, but it's still visible, like scarring. But I will definitely try the Avon Skin Bump Minimizer that people have recommended. This disease is so annoying and it h as no cure so I'm willing to try almost everything (except tanning)!
Emiily Emiily 9 years
I deal with this too, it's a slow process. I am going to exfoliate in a cool shower right now & lather up my arms in moisturizing lotion.
intensebandgeek intensebandgeek 9 years
My sister and I have had this skin problem on our arms since we were young! I admit, it's unattractive, but it really doesn't itch or bother me physically.
elvy elvy 9 years
I should mention, if you take the fish oil it takes at least a month to see results. But at least you are getting some "brain food" too.
MaggietheCat MaggietheCat 9 years
Avon makes a lotion that cures this right up! And it's cheap, too.
bitesize bitesize 9 years
I have this too. Extra virgin olive oil as a moisturizer is the only thing that kept my arms feeling soft all day, but unfortunately nothing really helps with the redness except tanning. My arms sometimes turn purple, too, people are always asking me whats wrong with me. It makes me (and others) feel like a freak sometimes.
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