I know how it feels when you have tiny bumps on your arms. Sometimes it itches why some bumps don’t itch- they are just there to disfigure your arms. Aside from the discomfort, itchy bumps on the arm can force you to ditch your sleeveless tops. You will be left with disturbing thoughts such as; What are these bumps? Can I get rid of them? Are they harmless? Are they symptoms of underlying conditions?
Although a proper diagnosis of your condition lies with your doctor, you may need to investigate some possible causes to lay your mind at rest and give you a head start before you visit your doctor. In most cases, these bumps are trivial and harmless unless you start noticing specific suspicious symptoms.
This article will take you through different conditions likely to cause bumps in your hand, how to get rid of them and prevent their future occurrence.
Why Do I Have Itchy Bumps on my Arms?
Bumps on the arm are a common phenomenon. However, the appearance of these bumps may vary. You may notice ;
- Pimple-like bumps on arms
- Small itchy bumps on arms like goosebumps
- White bumps on arms
- Gluten intolerance bumps on arms.
- Small bumps on arms that don’t itch
- Red spots on the skin
- Rash on the arm
Several skin conditions can give rise to these types of bumps. Possible causes of bumps on the arm include;
1. Keratosis pilaris
2. Heat rash
6. Contact dermatitis
Keratosis pilaris is also called chicken skin. It is a dermatological condition that causes rough patches and tiny red or brown bumps on some hairy body parts. Common sites of keratosis pilaris include; the upper arms, thigh, buttocks and cheeks. These sites are vulnerable because keratosis pilaris appears on the body’s parts with hair follicles.
Symptoms of keratosis pilaris
Bumps caused by keratosis Pilaris don’t itch or cause any physical pain. They appear just like tiny goose bumps or plucked chicken skin. The skin around your arm where the bumps are located may be rough and dry.
What is the cause of Keratosis pilaris?
According to experts, keratosis pilaris occurs when keratin’s build-up blocks the hair follicles. Keratin is a skin protein that protects the skin against external aggression, like an infection. When keratin is produced in large quantities, it can clog the hair follicles, withhold sweat and lead to the growth of bumps.
Overproduction of keratin may be triggered by other conditions like atopic dermatitis, dry skin or and it may be hereditary.
Keratosis Pilaris Treatment
There is no known cure for keratosis pilaris. For some people, it may fade as they advance in age. However, you can seek treatment to improve its symptoms.
It would be a good idea to book an appointment with a specialist like Dr Nina Bal (Dental Surgeon) of the Facial Sculpting clinic. After a proper examination of your skin and diagnosis, she will create a treatment plan and recommend medical-grade skin care products to relieve the discomfort and improve the appearance of the skin.
Skincare products that contain lactic acid and urea work well at controlling skin itching and dryness. Dr Nina may recommend regular exfoliation of your skin to eliminate dead skin cells and improve the appearance of the tiny bumps. Your skin texture and appearance will improve significantly by using prescribed skin care products that contain active ingredients that exfoliate the skin and prevent follicle blockage. Such ingredients include ;
- Vitamin A( Topical Retinoid )
- Salicylic acid
- Glycolic acid
- Alpha hydroxy acid
- Lactic acid
Home remedies for Keratosis Pilaris
- Gently exfoliate your skin with a washcloth or loofah at least twice or thrice a week.
- Avoid harsh bathing soap or cream that may cause skin irritation and dryness.
- Avoid hot baths. Use only warm water, and don’t spend a long time in the tub or shower to avoid loss of skin oils and dryness.
- Moisturise your skin several times daily with moisturisers containing ingredients such as glycerin, petroleum jelly or lanolin.
- Avoid wearing tight clothes that may cause skin friction in the affected area.
- Use a home humidifier also to prevent skin dryness.
Prevention of Keratosis Pilaris
There isn’t any prevention method or mechanism known for keratosis pilaris. If you have it, maintain a good skincare routine with products that will improve the appearance of your skin.
- Heat Rash
Heat rash, also called miliaria, is common during the hot season. Heat rashes are tiny small bumps with an itching, prickling sensation. These rashes are more apparent on white skin because they appear red. They are not easily discoverable on dark skin.
Heat rashes form when the sweat duct is blocked, and the sweat can’t escape from the skin. The sweat duct may be blocked when you stay in a hot or humid environment, engage in intense physical activity, wear tight cloth with synthetic fabric or use non-porous bandages.
Heat rashes often clear off within 24 hours. You can help by moving to a place with less humidity, avoiding clothes that can make you sweat, and taking baths frequently. You can also apply over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream once or twice a day to reduce the itching.
You can prevent heat rashes by avoiding tight clothes and using thick lotions, as they can block the sweat pores.
Folliculitis is caused by inflammation of the hair follicles due to bacterial (Staphylococcus aureus (staph), fungi or yeast infection. As such, it affects hair-growing parts of the body. It can be caused by;
- Damage to the hair follicles either during shaving,
- Skin friction due to tight clothing
- skin irritation
- Use of topical steroids and immunosuppressive medications
The symptoms of folliculitis include pimple-like bumps that contain pus. It may be itchy, painful and tender to the touch. In most cases, mild folliculitis will clear on its own. While in more serious cases, you may need a medical prescription for antibiotics and antifungal medications or creams. Your doctor may also prescribe oral corticosteroids. You can also apply a warm compress and over-the-counter topical creams to reduce inflammation and itching. A warm bath can also ease the itching.
Acne occurs when the hair follicles are blocked with oil and dead skin cells. It is common among teens and young adults. Although acne commonly affects the face, back, neck and shoulder, it can also appear on the arms.
Common symptoms include red skin bumps filled with white or yellow pus, white head, or blackheads.
Acne treatment includes periodic skin exfoliation and topical medications like retinoids, salicylic acid and antibiotics. You can prevent acne by using skin care products that don’t contain oil, showering after exercise sessions and removing makeup before sleeping.
Eczema is also known as atopic dermatitis. It can appear anywhere on the body but is common in arms, inner elbows, cheeks, etc. The affected area is dry, itching, irritated and inflamed. These symptoms can get worse at night for some individuals.
The cause of eczema is unknown, but researchers speculate it might be related to an overactive immune system. Studies have found that individuals with eczema don’t produce enough filaggrin protein, which helps the skin stay healthy and moisturised.
According to the NHS, it can be triggered by cigarette smoke, sweating, food allergies, temperature changes, etc.
To treat eczema, you need to visit your dermatologist or doctor. You can also get over-the-counter topical medications to reduce itching.
- Contact Dermatitis
Contact dermatitis is caused by your skin’s reaction when it comes in contact with chemicals. It is mostly not severe.
The symptoms are dry skin, oozing blisters, redness of the affected area, itching, etc. The main cause of contact dermatitis is contact with foreign substances and toxins on the skin.
The condition stops when the skin is no longer in contact with the substance. It can be prevented by wearing clothes that cover your skin well, stopping using new products that give your skin irritation, and avoiding using scented products.
Psoriasis is a skin condition that occurs when the skin cells build up and form rough and itchy dry patches on the skin. The symptoms of psoriasis differ in individuals, as there are several types of psoriasis.
Red or brown-coloured raised patches, burning and itching sensation, and soreness is common symptoms of psoriasis.
The primary cause of psoriasis is related to the immune system and genetics. It has no cure, but using medical-grade skin care products and certain injections can relieve inflammation, reduce skin cell growth and improve the skin’s general appearance.
Different types of skin conditions may cause itchy bumps on the arm. After self-investigation, seek medical attention for proper diagnosis and treatment.