How to Get Rid of Dry Bumps on Skin

by Kimberly Johnson ; Updated July 18, 2017

Woman applying lotion to her arm

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If the back of your arms are covered in dry raised bumps that look like chicken skin, you may mistakenly think you have arm acne. These pesky bumps are actually caused by persistently plugged hair follicles and can appear on various parts of the body. Getting rid of your prickly skin requires more moisture and a lot of gentle abrasion. With persistence you can soothe your damaged epidermis back to soft supple smoothness.

Wash the affected area daily using a tablespoon of a moisturizing body wash that contains no fragrance. Use small circular motions and a washcloth to massage the skin gently. Avoid bar soaps or any body wash that contains sulfates, which will dry the skin out further and make the bumps worse. Rinse the scrub off well using warm water.

Squeeze out a tablespoon of a mild exfoliating cream that contains glycolic and lactic acids. Massage the cream over the bumpy areas with your fingers, making small circular motions to help remove the dead, dry skin. Continue massaging for 30 to 60 seconds, then rinse the scrub off well using warm water.

Pat your skin dry gently using a towel just until most of the moisture is gone. Apply a tablespoon of moisturizing lotion to the bumpy areas immediately before your skin dries. Massage the cream in well using your hands.

Repeat the washing, exfoliating and moisturizing once per day until the bumpy appearance subsides, which can take two or three weeks. Afterward, reduce exfoliation to once per week, but continue moisturizing daily.


  • If the bumpy skin does not improve within two to three weeks, visit a dermatologist who can prescribe stronger treatment creams for the bumps.

    Instead of using an exfoliating cream, create your own by slathering the area in a thick layer of moisturizing lotion. Place an exfoliating facial sponge over the area and massage it gently. Use light pressure and circular motions to help remove the dead skin.

    The bumpy skin will come back if you stop treatment, so it’s important to maintain the routine for the long term.

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About the Author

Kimberly Johnson is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in various online publications including eHow, Suite101 and Examiner. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and began writing professionally in 2001.