Have you ever had those bumps on your skin? Those annoying tiny little bumps that are rough and small and appear in numbers mostly on the chest, upper arms, legs, cheeks, the buttocks, and thighs. They are not really a health issue but a cosmetic one. These bumps are commonly referred to as chicken skin and are due to a condition called Keratosis Pilaris or KP, as it’s commonly known. The condition affects almost 50 percent of the population including kids. It makes the skin look like it has goosebumps, gooseflesh or chicken skin.
Cause of KP
The Keratosis pilaris cause is not exactly known although it is believed to be a hereditary condition. The bumps on arms arise due to excessive keratin accumulation from the skin’s superficial layer at individual follicles. There is mild thickening of hair follicles and perforation. It is medically harmless although it is exaggerated during puberty. There is no exact cure for it, but it improves with age and can be controlled if you decide to treat it.
Skin dryness is also considered a contributing factor and will become worse during drier months.
Bumps on arms treatment
For treatment, one needs to smooth away the bumps, eliminate them, and improve the texture of the skin. This helps eliminate the plugs causing acne and improve the skins overall appearance. Your dermatologist will give you a treatment plan that can include:
The moisturizing cream helps with the dryness and itchiness. The creams used contain either lactic acid or urea. For the best results, the American Academy of Dermatologist recommends using the cream:
- After every bath or shower
- When the skin is still damp (5 minutes after bathing)
- To apply, massage the cream into the skin twice or thrice a day
Vitamin A or Retinol
These two are mostly used in acne treatment. They can also be used to treat keratosis pilaris since they regulate the production of keratin and prevent the follicles from getting clogged by dead cells. Vitamin A will also help with the inflammation.
Rub in the contents contained in the vitamin capsules onto affected areas using fingertips. After 10 or 15 minutes, wash it off.
The two make the skin photosensitive. You should, therefore, avoid sun exposure when using either of the two.
This will help in reducing the bumps and improving the texture of your skin. The medicine removes dead skin cells from the surface of the skin. Most of this medicine contains ingredients like:
- Glycolic acid
- Lactic acid
- Alpha hydroxy acid
- Salicylic acid
- A retinoid like adapalene, tazarotene, retinol or tretinoin.
To achieve the best results, follow your dermatologist’s instructions on the amount required and apply as often as he recommends. If you experience irritation or dryness while using the medicine, stop using it and seek medical help.
If the moisturizers or medicine fail, the dermatologist may use light treatment. This will involve having one laser treat the swelling and redness while another reduces discoloration and improves the texture of skin.
Keratosis pilaris home remedies
Exfoliating daily will improve your skin’s appearance. You can use a loofah or pumice stone to gently remove the dead skin. Do not remove the bumps at one go as this could inflame and irritate the skin. Moisturize after the bath to keep your skin hydrated.
This will unclog pores. Take short baths and rub the skin with a brush to remove the bumps. Do not take too long in the bath as this could rid your skin of its natural oils.
There are different products that are easily available at home to use for a skin rub. They include:
Mix 3 tablespoons of table salt with two tablespoons of olive oil to create an abrasive skin rub. Rub the mixture onto the skin gently before washing it off using soap. This will help rid your skin of the bumps.
Repeat several times if necessary. The olive oil helps moisturize the skin while the salt exfoliates it.
Mix 2 or 3 tablespoons of milk or water with 2 tablespoons of crushed oatmeal. Apply to the bumpy skin on the arms and use circular motions to massage it in gently for few minutes. Wash it off and moisturize.
The oatmeal smoothens the bumps and although messy, will make your skin soft and silky.
You can also use a muslin cloth to bundle up the oatmeal and rub it on affected areas as you bathe.
Mix 2 tablespoons of brown sugar or granulated sugar with 2 tablespoons of coconut oil or olive oil. This will form a semisolid paste that melts as you apply it to the skin. Rub it onto affected areas with circular motions before or after you bathe. Wipe it off and use water to rinse the area.
Olive and coconut oil have anti-inflammatory properties. They are absorbed into the skin completely and what you will be rinsing off the skin after the scrub, is sugar crystals.
This includes keeping the skin hydrated by ingesting lots of vegetables, fruits, and water. Other products one can use include oily fish, foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids and nuts.
The best lotions for bumps on arms include:
- Curel Cetaphil
The best moisturizers for bumpy arms include:
- Lactic acid lotions like Lac- hydrin,
- Alpha Hydroxy acid lotions like Glytone
- Salicylic acid lotions like Salex 6%.
Creams for bumps on arms include:
- urea creams like Carmol 20, Urix 40 and Carmol 10.
- There is a generic factor in keratosis pilaris and therefore curing the condition may not be possible. However, regularly applying the above-mentioned remedies will make sure your skin is moisturized at all times. They will also minimize the bumps on the skin.
- Clearing of the bumps will take time and one must be patient. You can also change the regiment and try new treatment plans to see if they work for you. Consult your dermatologist though before you start any new plan.
- Have a maintenance plan. This means that you need to regularly treat the skin to make sure that the bumps on the arms are kept under control. This could be a simple as applying the medicine given or home remedies twice a week instead of daily.
- Dermatology Made Easy By Amanda Oakley