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Bumps on Arms

Causes of Bumps on Arms and Effective Home Remedies to Cure Them

Bumps on the back of arms are often manifested as a result of keratosis pilaris, which is a hereditary condition. This skin problem is developed due to excess production of a skin protein called keratin. Treatment for bumps on the arms involves application of skin lotions and following effective home remedies.
HealthHearty Staff
Last Updated: Mar 12, 2018
Eruption of red bumps on the upper side and back of the arms are common skin conditions. As per statistics, they occur in about 50 percent of the world's population. The frequency of occurrence is higher among youngsters, which accounts to about 80 percent. Also, the ratio is higher in women than men. In majority of the cases, bumps on skin are manifested as a result of keratosis pilaris. This skin disease is more common amongst people who have dry and sensitive skin.
Causes of Bumps on the Arms
Bumps on specific body areas, manifested as a result of keratosis pilaris, are developed due to excess accumulation of a skin protein, known as keratin. The protein buildups block the skin pores and trap the hair follicles, thus resulting in unusual thickening of skin. As a consequence, the skin lacks the ability to shed dead cells and keratin. Over a period of time, small raised spots are formed in the specific areas. In addition to the arms, small bumps may be developed in thighs and other parts of the body such as face, chest, buttocks and back.
Symptoms
  • The bumps related to keratosis pilaris usually resemble acne or pimples. This is the reason as to why, they usually go unnoticed.
  • They may appear reddish and irritated, but itching rarely occurs.
  • Very often, ingrown hair are present inside the lesions.
  • Some people have red, inflamed bumps, while others do not experience inflammation.
  • Owing to the skin appearance, this medical condition is alternatively known as chicken skin.
  • Symptoms may worsen during low humidity conditions, especially during winter months, as the skin becomes dry.
  • Similarly, the skin condition exacerbates after exposure to harsh sun for prolonged hours.
Since bumps caused due to keratosis pilaris are harmless and do not pose serious conditions, there is no need for medical intervention. However, for some people, it is a subject of cosmetic concern, especially if the skin eruptions are present in visible areas of the arms. In such a case, treatment is proceeded for cosmetic reasons. Very rarely, bumps on the skin may be caused due to bacterial folliculitis, which is an infection of the hair follicle by Staphylococcus strain. For such a case, prompt treatment under the guidance of a trusted dermatologist is necessary.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Bumps on the back of arms manifested due to keratosis pilaris is a hereditary problem. Hence, it is quite obvious that this disease runs in families. On the brighter side, it is noncontagious, which is not the case with some of the common skin problems. For correct diagnosis, the dermatologist may analyze medical history and conduct culturing of the cell sample collected from the raised skin areas. Based on the test results, appropriate treatment will be prescribed by the doctor.
There is no cure for bumps on the arms, if the resulting symptoms are due to keratosis pilaris. However, there are several potential treatment options for this unsightly condition. The treatment for keratosis pilaris is focused on softening and exfoliating the skin to open the clogged pores. Skin creams and ointments containing lactic acid are effective for treating these tiny lesions. The lactic acid acts as an exfoliating agent, thereby aiding in gentle shedding off the thickened skin. However, make sure that the usage directions are followed religiously to get prompt results.
In severe cases, the physician may prescribe usage of topical corticosteroids, retinoid lotion and alike retinol products for addressing the unsightly bumps. For stubborn cases, chemical peels containing alpha hydroxy acids, microdermabrasion, laser therapy and more serious procedures may be considered for treatment. As for Staphylococcus infection related skin eruptions, an antibiotic course is recommended for treating the skin condition. As skin dryness is a triggering factor for onset of bumps, make a point to keep the skin moisturized at all times.
Home Remedies
Speaking about home remedies to combat bumps on the back and upper arms,
  • One should avoid hot showers and usage of scrubbers during bathing. Doing so causes further irritation to the skin and worsens the symptoms.
  • Use of a room humidifier is an effective way for hydrating skin, and preventing it from drying.
  • Do not use harsh, perfumery soaps over the affected areas. An antimicrobial soap is the best choice, which also helps in controlling infection.
  • Last but not the least, do not pop the bumps as far as possible. Though popping is not harmful, it can lead to formation of scars.
Applying topical creams and following proper skin care tips as per the directions of the physician will help in successful treatment of bumps on the arms and other body areas. The overall results will vary, based on individual responses to the treatment received. Also, this skin problem tends to be persistent in most cases. Hence, basic treatment guidelines should be followed even after the bumps disappeared, to avoid recurrent flare-ups.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.