If you’re suffering from red bumps on the skin of your arms, legs, trunk, face, or other parts of your body, you’ve probably spent some time on the internet trying to figure out exactly what that annoying rash is and how to make it go away. Here’s a brief primer to some common skin conditions that can cause red bumps on your skin, so you can figure out what’s going on and how to treat it:
- Acne is one common cause of red bumps on the skin. Acne occurs when the skin’s pores become clogged by oil and dirt. It may show up as blackheads, whiteheads, cysts, pustules, or papules and can cause scarring. Acne most commonly appears on the face or shoulders but can also appear on other parts of the body. Acne is most common in teenagers but can occur in people of any age. At home treatments involve using gentle cleaners and topical ointments including salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. Doctors also have a wide range of acne treatments including retinoids, antibiotics, dermabrasion, or phototherapy.
- Goose bumps are a normal response of the skin to a stimulus such as cold or fear. When you get cold, the body’s nervous system triggers tiny muscles under your skin connected to the hair follicles. Those muscles contract, causing the hair follicles to rise up. The bumps caused by the rising hair follicles are what we call goose bumps. Goose bumps are a temporary condition and require no treatment.
- Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is caused by a hypersensitive reaction that leads to chronic swelling and inflammation of the skin. Though eczema is not an allergic reaction, many eczema sufferers also have allergies or asthma and may find that their eczema symptoms get worse when exposed to certain triggers. Eczema can be recognized by the characteristic dry, thick, scaly patches that can show up in various parts of the body. The rash is always itchy and may sometimes ooze and crust. Home treatment involves keeping the skin moist, using a good moisturizing cream, and avoiding allergy-related triggers. Doctors may prescribe a corticosteroid ointment, phototherapy, or cyclosporine to help control symptoms.
- Psoriasis is a fairly common skin condition that causes redness and irritation. It often runs in families. Psoriasis appears as thick, red skin with flaky, silver-white scaly patches on top. The red patches can appear anywhere on the body but most frequently occur on the elbows, knees, or middle of the body. It may be due to an overactive immune response in which the body begins attacking healthy skin cells. Psoriasis is usually treated with ointments to calm the irritation and remove the scaling. In severe cases doctors may prescribe medication to calm the immune response and suppress symptoms.
- Keratois Pilaris, sometimes called chicken skin, is a condition in which small flesh colored bumps appear on the body, most commonly on the back of the arms or thighs. The bumps may have a sandpapery feel to them and are about the size of a grain of sand. The bumps are caused when the skin produces too much of a protein called keratin which then forms hard plugs in the hair follicles. It’s a very common condition, affecting as many as 80% of teenagers and 50% of adults. Keratosis pilaris can be treated with topical creams like KP Elements that help to dissolve the excess keratin and gradually remove the bumps.