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

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

Areas of small, reddish, hard, bumps on the arms and legs are the hallmark of a skin problem often referred to as “chicken skin.” The bumps aren’t harmful, but they’re certainly not pretty!

Getting these annoying bumps under control starts with knowing what to do and what you absolutely must not do.

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 multi­tasking ingredient because it gets beyond 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 (hello, sleeveless tops!). One great option is our Paula’s Choice Skincare RESIST Weightless Body Treatment with 2% BHA, a lightweight lotion that’s a customer favorite.

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 RESIST Skin Revealing Body Lotion with 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 hard, red bumps 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 Works?

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 from coming back:

• 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 RESIST Retinol Skin-Smoothing 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 these body bumps and suspect you might be dealing with keratosis pilaris, consult your dermatologist for advice and treatment options.

References for this information:

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

About the Experts

Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books about skincare and makeup. She is known worldwide as The Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula’s Choice Skincare. Paula’s expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international radio, print, and television including:

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The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to busting beauty myths and providing expert advice that solves your skincare frustrations so you can have the best skin of your life!