Bumpy Red Skin on Your Upper Arms and How to Get Rid of It

Today is Makeup Monday and although I call it that, it’s really about more than just cosmetics. Anything having to do with the face or skin is fair game.  Today we’ll be discussing that gross, bumpy, red skin that shows up on the backs of your arms (or even on your legs, hips or bum). I always figured this skin condition was something that happened to everyone as they got older. It happened to me, although I’m not really sure when I first noticed it—maybe sometime in my early thirties.  But I’ve talked to several people who don’t have it (lucky!). I’ve also found out that it can actually be caused by a medical condition called Keratosis Pilaris. (That sounds like some sort of fancy new workout.)

I’m rather passionate about skin care and have tried all sorts of methods to get rid of my scaly, red chicken skin. I have used every exfoliation product sold at the store and still it’s persisted.

Until now.

My red bumps are gone. Completely gone. It took about two weeks.

This is how I got rid of them: (People are always asking me for lots of details when I do a skin “how-to” so this will be very descriptive.)

1. Exfoliate in the shower every day. You can use whatever method you prefer. I have a loofah that I use sometimes. But I also use an Apricot Scrub by St. Ives. This is a really unique body scrub because it isn’t oily. Most scrubs are full of oil so they will moisturize as well as exfoliate. But we don’t need to be coated with oil at this point. So stick with the St. Ives if you plan on using a body scrub (it’s also perfect for exfoliating before a spray tan). It’s cheap and can be found in just about any drug or grocery store. But any product that really gives your skin a good scrubbing will be fine.  Exfoliation alone is not enough, though.

2. Moisturize. I stumbled across a fantastic product a while ago called Olay Quench In-Shower Body Lotion. It is pretty strange stuff. After you’ve cleaned yourself off in the shower, you slather this Olay lotion on and then rinse it off. Yes, you rinse it off. So bizarre. But it is wonderful. It will leave your skin so moist and soft. And it has a little sparkle to it. Who doesn’t want to be sparkly? (Okay, maybe not men. But Mister uses it and you definitely cannot see the sparkle through his arm hair.) It has  a pleasant scent (not my fave but it’s OK. The scent doesn’t last long anyway).  Occasionally I can find this at Target (you know I don’t shop at the Walmarts on principle so I can’t tell you if they sell it there) but sometimes I have to get it here on Amazon where it’s about $8 for a pretty big bottle. It’s easy to spot because it has a large hole at the top of the bottle to hang in your shower (nifty little touch). You don’t have to use this moisturizer, but I love it and it’s super convenient to apply lotion head to toe and be done in 30 seconds. If you don’t want to use this, then go straight to step three.

3. After I get out of the shower and do my hair, my lotion has absorbed pretty well so I apply my third—and most important—product: Glytone Body Lotion which you can buy here. I found this on Amazon and it’s been a game-changer.  This lotion is over 17% Alpha Hydroxy Acid. So basically, it’s going to sizzle off those bumps and keep new ones from forming.  Glytone is pretty spendy (about $30 for an 8 ounce bottle) but I only apply it to the areas that need it so I imagine it’s going to last quite a while.  Glytone needs to be applied twice a day, so I use it in the morning after my shower like I said, then in the evening after I get undressed. That way it can sit on my body all night long.

I’ve been completely amazed at my arms; they are silky, clear and baby soft. It took me about two weeks to get them looking good, but other people that have used Glytone say it can take up to 3-4 weeks.  If you’re going to be wearing anything revealing for the holidays, now is the time to get your skin in tip-top shape.


I was not compensated for any of these products. I bought them, tried them and liked them all on my own.

9 thoughts on “Bumpy Red Skin on Your Upper Arms and How to Get Rid of It

  1. I’ve had keratosis pilaris for most of my life; I went through a long phase of not owning any short-sleeved shirts because of it (especially in winter, when the cold makes it purple). I tried Amlactin ($13) in college since that was supposed to help, but it didn’t.

    Then I got over myself, lol. I don’t know why, but for some reason it really doesn’t bother me anymore. Granted, I think it’s slightly less severe than it used to be… not sure. But it’s nice to know I can try this if it ever bothers me again.

  2. It never ceases to amaze me how you have time to figure all this stuff out. Do you think this will work on the “chicken skin” showing up on my neck/décolletage area? It’s not read, but definiately goose bumpy looking.

  3. Yes! I have these and they are annoying. But with a similar process of exfoliation and lotion application they go away. The best was the Neutrogena lotion (probably a lot like your Glytone) that had a bunch of alpha hydroxies in it to help with the exfoliation, but they don’t make it anymore. No red bumps! (Do NOT apply directly after shaving, ouch ouch ouch.)

  4. I have had this for a while now, and after a year of not wearing short sleeves at all, i went to my dermatologist and i was prescribed a urea cream to apply at night and i swear, after even 1 use i can see a difference. And after a week, i cant even tell that there was ever anything there. I can say with confidence that a urea cream is the fastest and most effective way to get rid of those ugly little bumps. (One down side is that if you stop using it, they come back after about 2-3 days)

  5. I’m sure this news will not be a big thrill to anyone, but by the time you’re about 65, that condition goes away all by itself! As does your leg hair! (now it appears on your chin!)

    Ah, Mortality! One loss after another — a few of them good (like periods).

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  7. 5 years late to this party, but glad I found this post. I have severe KP on my arms and have tried everything prescriptive with no results. Recently I decided to be very vigilant about daily shower exfoliation and moisturizing and they look the best they ever have! Granted, my best is everyone’s else mild KP. I’m hoping that by introducing your 3rd step I can make an even bigger improvement. I have a 12% glycolic acid lotion that I got from Ulta for about $15 that I’m going to try.

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