As we head into colder weather, it is perfectly normal to cover up. You can hide any extra weight that you may be carrying under big coats and sweaters. And even better, you can stop shaving your legs for a few months. Don’t judge me! You know that you do it, too. But summer will be here before you know it, and you know what that means – it will be time to show your skin again.
But what if you have those weird little red bumps on your arms? What are those bumps anyway? Did you know that those red bumps are also called "chicken skin"? Those bumps are so embarrassing and they make you want to wear long sleeves, even in the warm summer months.
The real name for those annoying bumps is Keratosis pilaris.This skin condition is classified by tiny, hard red bumps, dryness and occasional itchiness. Here's the good news: this skincare issue is completely harmless.
The bad news is that it can make you really self conscious about your bare arms. And while you may be embarrassed by it, Keratosis pilaris is actually quite common. These obnoxious bumps form when there is a buildup of a protein called keratin. Keratin usually protects the skin from infection, but too much keratin can block the opening of the hair follicle, causing those rough patches to form.
You may typically get those bumps on your arms, but they can also form on other places on your body like your legs and even on your butt. Yes, that's what that is! Are you relieved that it isn’t something worse?
According to the Mayo Clinic, you don’t necessarily need to go to a doctor if you have it. And while it isn't necessary, you may want to go to a dermatologist to make sure that it's not a more serious skin condition.
So while it isn’t harmful, there are ways to help clear it up. According to Janellen Smith, a dermatologist at UC Irvine Health, “It is not an infection, it is not caused by bacteria or fungus. It is very unlikely that any doctor can get rid of it, but we can make it better. It tends to get better on its own as people get older.”
The skin condition is typically genetic and seems to pop up more on women than on men. More good news for the ladies! It also tends to get worse during pregnancy and puberty. Nice, another thing women have to deal with that men don’t.
Unfortunately, there is no real way to prevent or to stop keratosis. There are methods, however, that can help you manage it. Here are some suggestions that could help you deal with those annoying bumps.
There are also special lotions that you can use that could help your skin. Next time you are at the store, look for a lotion with lactic acid in it. Try AmLactin, which can be found at most local drug stores.
You may also want to talk to a doctor about skin creams. Retinoid creams or topical products with steroids in them can help reduce inflammation. While steroids may not be something that you want to use long term, this could help when you have a flare-up.
Hopefully these suggestions will help you manage your keratosis pilaris or "chicken skin." Try to experiment with any of these options and see what works for you. When summer comes, hopefully you will be ready to take it off! Cheers to smoother, healthier bump-free skin!