The Best Ways to Get Rid of Hard, Red Bumps on Arms and Legs

If you’ve ever wondered to yourself: “what are those bumps on my arms that look like pimples?” then you’ll be happy to know we can answer that question and help you solve the problem. Those areas of small, reddish, hard, bumps on the arms and legs are the hallmark of a skin issue often referred to as ‘chicken skin’. The bumps aren’t harmful, but they’re certainly not pretty!

Why do I have little red bumps on my arms?

These small bumps on upper arms are basically pores that have become clogged because the skin cells in the outer layers of the skin have developed into keratin. These ‘lumps’ grow out of the pores, making skin feel rough and bumpy. Getting these annoying skin bumps on arms under control starts with knowing what to do and what you absolutely must not do.

How do you get rid of bumps on your arms?

The best way to get to the root of the problem is to use an extremely gentle, leave-on exfoliant that contains the ingredient salicylic acid (BHA). BHA is an amazing multi-tasker because it gets beyond the skin's surface to exfoliate inside the pore, removing the hard clog that causes the problem. Clog gone, problem relieved! BHA can also diminish the appearance of redness and soften skin, making your arms touchable and presentable at the same time (Goodbye small bumps on arms; hello, sleeveless tops!). One great option is our Paula’s Choice Skincare 2% BHA Body Spot Exfoliant, a lightweight lotion that’s a customer favourite. What about alpha hydroxy acids (AHA)? AHAs do exfoliate skin, but primarily on the surface, not in the pore. However, for some people, AHAs work great for this problem. Think of AHAs as an option if the red, hard, bumps on your arms and legs do not respond to BHA. Paula’s Choice Skincare Skin Revealing Body Lotion 10% AHA can be the ideal solution, and is even suitable for those with keratosis pilaris. Many people tell us that they get the best results for their rough and bumpy skin using a combination of an AHA product during the day and a BHA product at night. If this condition has become a stubborn problem for you, try alternating use of the two types of exfoliants —it might finally get you the results you’re trying to achieve!

What else to do to get rid of red dots on arms and legs?

Because these hard bumps look red, anything you can do to diminish the redness can make an amazing difference. That means not doing anything that irritates your skin. Here are some essential tips to keep these bumps on back of arms and also any bumps on back of legs from coming back again:

  • Understand that you cannot scrub the bumps away; scrubbing will just make matters worse and make the bumps look angrier than they already do.
  • Make sure everything you do to take care of your skin is gentle.
  • Avoid abrasive scrubs, loofahs and cleansing brushes with stiff bristles. They damage skin and will make skin redder, not better.
  • Avoid bar cleansers and soaps because the ingredients that keep them in bar form can clog pores, leading to more bumps.
  • A gentle, water-soluble body cleanser and a soft washcloth will work wonders.
  • Last, but not least, it’s extremely important to keep skin hydrated, but not with heavy thick emollients because they can clog pores. Rather, use lightweight, skin-nourishing lotions, especially those that contain skin-restoring and skin-rejuvenating ingredients such as retinol. Paula’s Choice Skincare’s Skin-Smoothing Retinol Body Treatment is one such option that will deliver amazing results.

Many people will find that the above options work perfectly to reveal smooth, flawless skin on their arms and legs. However, if you still find yourself struggling with itchy bumps on arms and legs and suspect you might be dealing with keratosis pilaris, consult a dermatologist for advice and treatment options.

1. Pediatric Dermatology, July 2016, pages 443–446
2. Dermatology Research and Practice, ePublication, February 2015, pages 1–5
3. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, May 2015, pages 890–900
4. American Journal of Pathology, April 2015, pages 1,012–1,021


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