Keratosis pilaris

What are the Red Bumps on my Upper Arms

Max. D Gray
By Max. D Gray. Updated: January 16, 2017
What are the Red Bumps on my Upper Arms

With the warm weather approaching, you surely will like to wear shorts and sleeveless shirts. But when you start using summer clothes, you might notice little red bumps on your upper arms. These bumps don't usually cause any symptoms aside from light itchiness, but they are hard to eliminate. Cleansers and scrubs won't have any effect on the red bumps on your arms, and they will need to be treated with different methods. But what are these bumps exactly? Read this OneHowTo article and find out what the red bumps on your upper arms are, as well as how to get rid of them.

You may also be interested in: How to Treat Red Bumps on Arms Naturally


  1. What are the red bumps on the arms
  2. How to treat keratosis pilaris
  3. Other treatments to get rid of keratosis pilaris

What are the red bumps on the arms

This skin condition is known as keratosis pilaris. This is a harmless and very common skin condition that usually affects the arms and thighs and it is characterized by the appearance of red bumps that feel rough to the touch. Keratosis pilaris is caused by an excess of the protein keratin in the body. When this protein is in excess, it can plug hair follicles, which results in small bumps.

This condition isn't serious and the majority of people suffering from it don't experience any symptoms. However, it can look unsighty and can be very hard to eliminate. Keratosis pilaris is a variant of eczema, and it occurs mostly in people who have a family history of atopic dermatitis, dry skin or other skin problems. This condition is aggravated during the colder months, when the moisture in the air is lower. However, humidity and heat can also generate the condition.

How to treat keratosis pilaris

Keratosis pilaris is a skin condition that is hard to eliminate. However, there are some treatments that can help you alleviate the red bumps and make your skin feel softer. A moisturizer with urea or propylene glycol or a product with lactic acid can help removing the extra keratin.

What doesn't work for keratosis pilaris?

Rubbing your sking too hard and using scrubs can make the condition worse. This will only make your bumps more red and irritated. The problem with keratitis pilaris is not at the top of the skin, it needs to be removed from the inside, from the cells found in the inner layers of the skin. A superficial exfoliation won't solve the problem, in fact it could even make it worse. Another thing that you should never do is pick the skin. Some people pick their acne bumps, something you should also never do, as it can infect other bumps and make acne worse. The same happens with keratosis pilaris. Picking the red bumps can lead to scars that will look far worse than the red bumps. Don't touch the red bumps and they will heal better and faster.

What works to get rid of keratoris pilaris?

Some remedies will be helpful to get rid of the red bumps caused by keratosis pilaris on your upper arms:

  • Retinoids. Topical retinoids go deep below the surface of the skin and exfoliate cells from the inside.
  • Products made with urea or lactic acid.
  • Moisturizing your skin. Keratosis pilaris aggravates when the skin is dry, so try to always keep it moisturized. However, it is important to know that this might not completely eliminate the red bumps on your arms, but it will help your skin to feel softer and more elastic.
  • When showering, use a gentle soap that hydrates the skin. It is better to use natural soaps that don't contain parabens and other chemicals. If you're using a sponge, get one that is very soft and don't rub on the bumps too hard.
  • Always apply sunscreen to the affected area. The sunscreen won't prevent the lumps from forming but it will protect them from looking more obvious. The sun's rays are known to aggravate keratosis pilaris, so wearing a SPF 30 sunscreen everyday can make your skin healthier.

In this article you can learn more about natural remedies to treat keratosis pilaris.

What are the Red Bumps on my Upper Arms - How to treat keratosis pilaris

Other treatments to get rid of keratosis pilaris

Keratosis pilaris is a harmless skin condition and medical treatment is not necessary. However, some people might want to get rid of these bumps for cosmetic reasons. Although topic creams and the remedies listed above are the most common to treat this condition, some cases have been treated with laser therapy. Laser therapy involves passing bursts of intense light into the affected areas on the skin. This treatment is not suitable for everyone and it depends on each person's case of keratosis pilaris. If you would like more information about laser therapy we recommend you consult your dermatologist.

This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to What are the Red Bumps on my Upper Arms, we recommend you visit our Diseases & secondary effects category.

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What are the Red Bumps on my Upper Arms