Chicken Skin: How to Get Rid of Those Tiny Red Bumps on Your Arms

There is no cure for keratosis pilaris, but there are methods to deal with it.

kerotosis pilaris chicken skin

It’s shorts and sleeveless season! And that means about 40% of us will notice hard little bumps scattered on our arms, shoulders, backs, butts or thighs that typically don’t come with other symptoms aside from occasional itchiness. If you’ve tried to treat these stubborn growths in the past, you know that traditional cleansers and scrubs have no clearing effect.

The annoying yet harmless condition is known as keratosis pilaris. A variant of eczema, the bumps tend to plague people who have a family history of atopic dermatitis—or dry skin marked by scaly patches. Dry weather aggravates keratosis pilaris, so you may see more bumps during the winter months, but heat and humidity can also trigger the condition. It’s more of a bother in the summer when we’re wearing skin-baring styles, and the last thing you want is chicken skin at the beach.

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The problem starts when extra skin cells cluster around hair follicles, causing a knob to form and elevate. The hair can then get trapped underneath the cells, sometimes turning into a brown or red dot that you can see in the center of the bump. Unfortunately, there’s no cure or way to entirely stop the process yet.

But here’s the good news: Occasionally, keratosis pilaris can get better as you get older. And if you don’t outgrow it, certain strategies can help you keep things under control and your skin looking much better.

What Doesn’t Work:
Picking. Now, we all know you’re not supposed to pick skin, but some people think that picking these non-acne bumps is harmless. Not so! Picking is out of the question and can lead to unsightly scarring that’s far worse than the bump you started out with, so resist the urge.

Scrubbing. Rub all you want, but you’ll only end up with bumps that are now irritated and red. The problem is not the top surface of skin, but the building up of cells underneath the surface, so no amount of superficial exfoliation will clear the issue.

What Works:
Chemical exfoliators. Both glycolic acid and lactic acid can help a little bit, especially in the form of a wash. I recommend Vivité Exfoliating Cleanser with 15 percent glycolic acid.

Retinoids. I give patients topical retinoids to help improve the condition by going deep below the surface of skin to exfoliate cells. You can tolerate a higher percentage ingredient on your body than on your face, and I recommend SkinMedica Retinol Complex 1.0 as a top over-the-counter option. (Also on Amazon.)

Moisturization. To instantly make bumps look and feel better, use a deeply hydrating moisturizer. This will definitely help soften the feel and look of bumps, though keep in mind that it won’t help prevent the condition from forming if you’re genetically prone.

Gentle cleansing. Harsh soaps can dry out skin and exacerbate the rough texture of bumps. I recommend using a hydrating soap free of detergent such as  (also on Amazon) or  (also on Amazon). And be sure to moisturize bump-prone areas within a minute of stepping out of the shower.

Sunscreen. Again, while sunscreen won’t prevent the condition from forming, it can make a significant difference in preventing bumps from worsening and looking more obvious. The sun’s damaging rays are known to aggravate keratosis pilaris. Wear sunscreen of at least SPF 30 every day to encourage smoother skin.

Remember, these bumps are extremely common, so don’t feel so self-conscious about them. By incorporating these simple habits that are good for your overall health too, you can feel more confident putting on that tank top or sundress this summer with the best accessory there is: glowing skin!

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  • http://the-natural-way.info/Best-Treatment-For-KP.php Get rid of keratosis pilaris

    I am a life-long keratosis pilaris sufferer, and have constantly been trying to find something that works. I’ve been to the dermatologist many times for help and have been prescribed a variety of medicines without success. Needless to say I’ve been more than frustrated and had just about given up looking for help.
    Then I stumbled upon a natural remedy and thought I’d give it one last try. only a few days later I was seeing results! My skin is finally clear! This is the only treatment I’ve ever used that has helped.

    • Ana

      What was it?

      • Kristie Collins

        was it kpessentials? i’ve been using the body wash and i have really sensitive skin – i love it..

      • Isabelle Olson

        Hi Ana,

        You can click on her name and follow the link you find in her profile. I personally went on and tired her suggestions,and it worked great. The results were unbelievably good.

    • Ellane Dabi

      What’s the remedy

    • ankush

      Wat was the remedy

    • Asad Anjum

      which of these remedy you use particularly and in how many day you can feel the result on your skin. Please let me know the best of the best remedy.

      • Jessica Smith

        Hi Asad Anjum,

        I have used the remdey she is talking about and have had great results. If you want to try it just click on her name and follow the link you find in her profile.

    • Debbie

      Where do I find your remedy?

  • Julie Singleton

    I can help, message me for more information 🙂

    • cathy

      My son has it bad all over and on his scalp.he has lost a lot of his hair due to this. What is the secret?

    • Tanis Ferman

      May I ask you for your remedy? My 12 year old daughter has it very badly and I can’t get rid of it.

      • YouBeauty

        Hi Tanis! Sorry to hear about your daughter, poor thing. We recommend chemical exfoliators, retinoids, moisturization, and gentle cleansing. Also, make sure she’s always wearing sunscreen. And if the problem gets worse, definitely see your family doctor. Hope that helps!

  • http://ecofrugality.blogspot.com/ Amy Livingston

    “Picking is out of the question and can lead to unsightly scarring that’s far worse than the bump you started out with”

    I admit, if I pick at them, they turn into scabs, but the scabs eventually heal. If I leave the bumps alone, they just stay there. They NEVER go away. I have tried leaving bumps on my chest scrupulously untouched for months, while cleaning and moisturizing the area diligently and treating with both lactic acid and urea, and the bumps just stay unchanged. So if I don’t make it look worse to start with, it will never, ever look any better.

    Your treatments may or may not help prevent new bumps from forming, but is there anything–anything at all–that can remove the bumps that are already there?

  • Miss Cellany

    Mine disappears if I swim in the sea regularly (I suppose the osmotic pressure from the salt draws out fluids from the bumps or ruptures them or something). During the summer I swim every 2 or 3 days and it really helps clear my skin – even the blemishes on my face.

  • http://the-natural-way.info/Best-Treatment-For-KP.php get-rid-of-KP.com

    I am a life-long keratosis pilaris sufferer, and have constantly been trying to find something that works. I’ve been to the dermatologist many times for help and have been prescribed a variety of medicines without success. Needless to say I’ve been more than frustrated and had just about given up looking for help.

    Then I stumbled upon a natural remedy and thought I’d give it one last try. only a few days later I was seeing results! My skin is finally clear! This is the only treatment I’ve ever used that has helped.

    • Luv_tht_action

      What was the natural remedy?

      • Lisa Olson

        Hi Luv_tht_action,
        You can click on her name and follow the link you find in her profile. I personally went on and tired her suggestions,and it worked great. The results were unbelievably good and it only took days.

      • Lisa Olson

        Hi Luv_tht_action,
        You can click on her name and follow the link you find in her profile. I personally went on and tried her suggestions,and it worked great. The results were unbelievably good and it only took days.

        • Becky Perry Sizer

          Which product did you use to help with heal faster. I’m not really too concerned about it except for I hate the look when I’m wearing short sleeves.

        • Charmaine Gajeton-Ramos

          Which home remedy did u use

        • Maria

          Thank you.

        • Ashley C

          Beware! SCAM!!! Same person using a few different accounts. Preying on other’s desire and desperation to cure something unsightly and uncomfortable. All in efforts to make themselves richer. Shame on you! POS in my opinion. Disgusting

      • Angie Miller

        I have suffered from keratosis pilaris since I was a little girl. I started using the program at http://WWW.NOBUMPS.INFO and I already see a HUGE difference in my skin! This really is better than all the other methods and medications that I tried over the years. I couldn’t be happier. At certain times of my life, it was awful to my self-esteem but I dealt with it, put it out of my mind, and lived with it. My mom also has had keratosis pilaris all her life and she has just started this program too. My whole family is so grateful for this 🙂

    • Stryder McLean

      I have heard that sometimes its in relation to Gluten Intolerance.
      Hope this helps

      • Abby Homann

        I have Celiac Disease and have had keratosis pilaris since I was young. My nephew who as of right now is only gluten intolerant has the bumps also.Since being diagnosed with Celiac Disease and going gluten free, mine has gotten much better, along with age…

      • Linda Parker

        I was told million times by dermatologists that it is not possible to cure. HA! Mine is 80% gone. My arms are almost smooth with very few red dots. It flares up whenever I eat something that doesn’t agree with me (I am not even talking off roading, I just have a lot of sensitivities still like eggs) but it always comes back to normal. I used this program – CERTIFIEDTREATMENT.COM/KERATOSISPILARIS

        • Paula Collins

          thanks, my KP is much better already

          • Ashley C

            Beware! SCAM!!! Same person using a few different accounts. Preying on other’s desire and desperation to cure something unsightly and uncomfortable. All in efforts to make themselves richer. Shame on you! POS in my opinion.

        • lov3lysad

          Saw this same comment too on another site. HA!

    • Becky Perry Sizer

      How did you get rid of it? Like which product did you use?

      • Nizz

        It’s just a scam. Don’t fall for it. Curing a genetic condition in “a few days”…

        • Linda Parker
          • Paula Collins

            i tried this and its actually working pretty well

          • Ashley C

            Beware! SCAM!!! Same person using multiple different accounts. Preying on other’s desire and desperation to cure something unsightly and uncomfortable. All in efforts to make themselves richer. Shame on you! POS in my opinion.

          • Albrig Hadsell

            Thank you!

    • Scott Cornwell

      the wording is the same as every other rip off advertising scheme

    • Misty Frugia Phillips

      So what is your natural remedy???

  • mklov

    so much BS out there… took me 6 months to have about 90% improvement with KPAway…

  • Serena

    Hello, I’m 13 years old ( turning 14) I just wanted to say that I was born with keratosis Pilaris and my mum also had it. This will probably sound crazy and so strange but my mums Keratosis Pilaris completely went and disappeared when she was pregnant some how. I’m not trying to say something silly like if you wanna lose your chicken skin have a baby, no way. Some things I’ve tried to reduce my Keratosis Pilaris was take salt baths, I tried this the first time 6 years ago and thought it wouldn’t help but it did so definitely try that out. (DISCLAIMER: I began seeing a difference after bathing in salt water for around 4-5 months later, it DOES NOT work straight away) this might just be my skin though so I mean try it. Another thing I invested it about 1 month ago was BIO oil, trust me it’s expensive but I saw a difference after 2 days.. It hydrates and reduces those bumps making them disappear. Hope this helps!! Xoxo

    • kej939

      Bio Oil isn’t expensive — you can get it on Amazon for about $13.

  • Kaden Bensalem

    I’m 12 and 5 foot 7 inches and hairier then anyone I know I have these red dots for as long as can remember but since now I’ve got 5 times as much dots on my arms but the dots on my face are just puberty how do I get rid of these dots

  • Susie

    I am using tarte’s Maracuja Neck Treatment and my chicken bumps on my neck are almost gone! Over the years I’ve tried too many creams to count, but this one is making a difference. Maybe it will work for some of you!

  • Emilydear

    After years of having hundreds of embarrassing tiny bumps on my thighs, I finally found something that cleared them up almost instantly! Normally, I use an epilator, but had decided to change to using a razor to shave my legs (hoping to shave the bumps off). Before I had time to drag out the razor, I recalled that I owned a NONO laser hair remover. It took some time to find it, but I finally dug it out from the back of a cabinet where it’s been for literally years and used it as quick as I could plug it in. I noticed that the bumps were fading almost immediately. This was a week ago and the bumps are gone. I started to wait another week or so before sharing my success story, but living with this condition has been so horrible, I wanted to share my solution with you asap, so other’s might find relief that much sooner. I pray it helps some of you.

  • W FO

    The Gold Bond product specifically for this condition really does help.

    Not a scam or a paid endorsement.

    “Gold Bond rough & bumpy skin”

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