If you are plagued with annoying bumps on your arms, you are not alone. Many people suffer from this common skin condition known as keratosis pilaris, also called ‘chicken skin’.
Apart from the arms, these skin bumps can be found on the thighs, cheeks or buttocks. This harmless condition occurs due to a buildup of keratin (a kind of protein) in the skin’s pores, which leads to a blockage in the hair follicles. This results in the formation of small bumps where hair should be growing.
The exact cause of the keratin buildup is unknown, but experts believe that other skin conditions like atopic dermatitis and genetic diseases can cause this problem.
Keratosis pilaris is common in children and adolescents, and affects adults, too. People who have dry skin, eczema, hay fever or melanoma are at a higher risk of suffering from this problem. It’s also more common in females and people who are obese.
Along with raised bumps on the skin, other symptoms include bumps appearing in different colors, a slight pinkness or redness around the bumps, itchiness, dryness, and skin that feels somewhat like sandpaper. The symptoms get worse in the winter months when the skin tends to dry out as well as during pregnancy.
Other than keratosis pilaris, many conditions can cause raised bumps to appear on your arms, which include acne, allergic eczema, insect stings, keloids, moles, psoriasis, skin tags, warts, and chickenpox, to name a few.
Whether the bumps on your arms are due to keratosis pilaris or other reasons, you can treat this problem at home with some simple and effective natural remedies and a few lifestyle changes.
Here are the top 10 home remedies to get rid of bumps on your arms.
1. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a good remedy to get rid of bumps on your arms. Its mild acidic nature helps maintain the natural pH level of the skin. In fact, apple cider vinegar can also be used to treat various skin conditions and problems.
Being an astringent, it also helps unclog excess keratin built up in the pores.
- Mix equal parts of organic apple cider vinegar and water. Apply it on your arms, allow it to sit for 10 minutes and then wash it off. Repeat a few times daily.
- You can also add 1 teaspoon of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar to a glass of water and drink it twice a day.
2. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is an excellent natural moisturizer with beneficial fatty acids that easily penetrates into the skin and nourishes it from deep within.
You can use coconut oil to fight skin dryness that can worsen your symptoms and make the bumps on your arms more visible.
Plus, it provides anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial benefits.
- Massage the affected area with some warm extra-virgin coconut oil for 5 minutes. Do it twice daily.
- Alternatively, you can consume 1 teaspoon of extra-virgin coconut oil daily. You can gradually increase the amount to up to 3 tablespoons per day.
3. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is known for its soothing and moisturizing properties, thus making it a good remedy to combat skin dryness that can worsen the symptoms of keratosis pilaris.
It is effective at improving skin hydration due to its humectant properties.
- Extract the gel from an aloe vera leaf.
- Apply it all over the affected areas.
- Massage it for a few minutes to help the gel penetrate deep into the skin.
- Wait 30 minutes, then rinse it off using lukewarm water.
- Do this once or twice daily.
When possible, use the fresh gel from the actual plant rather than over-the-counter aloe gels.
4. Olive Oil
Keeping the skin properly moisturized is one of the best ways to deal with the unsightly bumps on your arms. When it comes to a natural moisturizer, olive oil is a very good choice.
Olive oil contains vitamin E that helps treat dry skin and aid the healing process.
- Rub some lukewarm olive oil on your arms. Massage lightly using circular motions and wait 30 minutes. Take a shower to rinse it off, then apply a light moisturizer.
- For a weekly treatment, add enough olive oil to 1 tablespoon of brown sugar to make a paste. Dampen your skin, then use this mixture as a gentle scrub to help clear the blocked pores. Wash it off, then apply a moisturizer. Do this once a week.
Yogurt is another very effective home remedy to get rid of the small bumps on your arms. Yogurt has skin-moisturizing properties that help hydrate dry skin.
Plus, the lactic acid in it helps remove the extra keratin from the hair follicles.
- Lightly massage some yogurt on the affected skin for 2 to 3 minutes. Leave it on for 10 minutes, then take your bath. Do this once daily.
- Alternatively, mix together ½ cup of yogurt, 1 tablespoon of honey and a little almond oil. Apply it on your skin and leave it on for 10 minutes. Rinse it off with cold water. Do this once daily.
6. Fish Oil Supplements
Fish oil supplements can also help a lot to get rid of bumps on your arms. Fish oil contains essential fatty acids like omega-3s that help keep the skin moisturized and fight dryness.
Keeping the skin moisturized can help you get rid of keratosis pilaris and prevent its recurrence.
- Take 1 to 3 grams of fish oil supplements daily. Always consult your doctor before taking any supplement.
- Apart from the supplements, eat oily fish like salmon, mackerel, trout, sardines, and tuna, which are good sources of essential fatty acids. Other sources of omega-3 fatty acids are sprouted chia seeds, flaxseeds, and black cumin seeds and oils.
7. Vitamin A
In some cases, a vitamin A deficiency can be the reason behind the development of bumps on your arms. Vitamin A contains retinol, which aids in cell turnover and prevents hair follicles from getting plugged up.
Plus, this vitamin is an important nutrient for skin health and can help improve the look and feel of your skin.
- Break open a vitamin A capsule, squeeze the oil out of it and apply it directly on the skin. Massage it gently for a few minutes, then leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes. Rinse it off with lukewarm water. Repeat twice daily.
- Also, eat foods rich in vitamin A like chicken liver, butter, eggs and whole milk. You can opt to take a vitamin A supplement, after consulting your doctor.
8. Sun Exposure
It is important to enjoy some sunshine every day. This aids the synthesis of vitamin D, which helps the skin shed off excess keratin and works as a preventive measure to reduce the risk of having keratosis pilaris.
You can enhance your vitamin D level by making sure to sit under direct sunlight early in the morning. However, avoid sun exposure during peak hours and do not go out without applying sunscreen on exposed skin.
Apart from sunlight, you can eat vitamin D-rich foods or consult your doctor about taking a vitamin D supplement.
Using a home humidifier when the humidity is low can help keep the symptoms of keratosis pilaris from getting worse. This is especially beneficial during the winter months.
To stop your skin from drying out, use a portable humidifier in your home and office to keep the humidity level between 45 and 55 percent.
Instead of using a humidifier, you can keep a bowl of water in each room to help increase the moisture in the air.
No matter which you decide to use, remember to clean it regularly to prevent the growth of bacteria and fungi.
10. Short, Warm Baths and Showers
When you have bumps on your arms or other parts of your body, avoid taking long hot baths or showers. Hot water and long showers or baths remove natural oils from the skin and lead to dryness, which in turn worsens the symptoms of keratosis pilaris.
Short, warm baths can help loosen up the keratin buildup in the pores. While taking a bath, gently rub the skin using a loofah to unclog the pores and remove the bumps.
To help your skin retain moisture while bathing, you can add some moisturizing ingredients like oatmeal to the water.
Also, after coming out of the bath or shower, pat dry your skin and immediately apply some moisturizer.
- Avoid scrubbing your skin too hard, as it only leads to irritation and redness.
- Avoid picking the bumps, as it can lead to unsightly scarring.
- To instantly make the bumps look and feel better, use a deeply hydrating moisturizer.
- Avoid friction from tight clothes.
- Eat more foods rich in magnesium and zinc to combat skin dryness.
- Be sure to drink an ample amount of water on a daily basis to keep the skin hydrated from within.