How to Get Rid of Red Bumps on Arms

different colored washcloths face cloths and loofah image by Steve Johnson from

Officially known as keratosis pilaris, these small red bumps usually appear in the arms more than any other part of the body. Keratosis pilaris is hereditary and there’s no cure for it, but you can use a number of home remedies and treatments to minimize their roughness and appearance. Certain treatments will reduce the number of bumps to a minimum and make them barely noticeable.

Use a loofah or scrubbing glove when you shower. Simply apply some scrub or lotion on the cloth, get it wet and rub on your arms vigorously. You can also try dry brushing your skin, which is basically doing the same rubbing before you take a shower but without wetting the loofah.

Use a dandruff shampoo containing 3 percent salicylic acid. Scrub your skin as you would with a regular shower gel. The salicylic acid in the shampoo will help clear up flaky skin build-up and remove dead cells. Use a fragrance-free and preservative-free shampoo for best results.

Expose your skin to the sun. Even a few minutes of skin exposure every day will improve the skin’s condition. A tan will also minimize the appearance of the bumps, so there’s a double benefit to the process. Photodynamic therapy (using lamps against the skin) can also provide relief.

Ask your doctor about isotretinoin (sold under the brand name Accutane). While the red bumps are not technically acne, this prescription tablet can help clear up the problem. Accutane can have serious side effects and can cause birth defects if you get pregnant, so discuss this with your doctor before asking for a prescription.

Use creams containing AHA (glycolic acid). The higher the concentration, the better but aim for at least 10 percent. AHA helps moisturize and exfoliate skin and will clear out dry and dead cells. Apply after showering and before going to bed.