Red itchy bumps on the arms are a symptom of skin irritation. If your daily routine is not affected by them or they are not on your whole body, you don’t have to worry too much as they will clear by themselves. If you treat them with OTC hydrocortisone itch cream, they will clear away faster. However, if the red itchy bumps remain for more than 10 days or gets better and comes back or if they are not relieved by the itch cream, you have to visit a dermatologist immediately. You may require a more targeted and stronger medication to clear them up.

Causes of Red Itchy Bumps on Arms


Allergy to Body Care Products

These are the cosmetics, skin care and hair care products that you use every day. You may be allergic to the preservatives or other chemicals used in these products. For instance, many people are allergic to a certain chemical ingredient present in the sunscreen lotions absorbing ultraviolet rays. It is also very common for some people being allergic to certain fragrances. An allergist can introduce small amount of common allergens to determine the one that triggers a reaction.



Eczema is characterized by different types of inflammation on the skin, also referred to as dermatitis. They are form anywhere on the body, but most commonly, the rashes are located behind the knees and on the elbow creases. They are dry, red and intensely itchy.


Keratosis Pilaris

They are also referred to as KP or chicken skin. It is one of the variants of eczema. They are typically present on the back of the arms and thighs and appear in big patches of raised, rough skin. It is managed by using chemical exfoliators such as glycolic acid and lactic acid.


Irritation from Fabrics

Itchy contact dermatitis may occur due to friction from the fabric you are wearing such as wool. This can commonly happen after working out in a gym when clothes slide against the already sweaty skin.


Bug Bites

These usually appear as one or a few red bumps on arms, but some people may get an allergy after being bitten by certain bugs. This is most common with mosquito bites. If you wake up with unexplained red itchy bites, it could indicate that you have bed bugs. These bites usually appear on the areas that were exposed during sleep.


Heat Rash

Red itchy bumps on arms can also occur due to heat rash which makes you feel tingle and feel prickly. Heat rash usually occurs around the neck or on the areas where the sweat is trapped beneath the clogged pores. Heat rash may appear as red bumps or tiny clear blisters. It is common in a hot and humid weather and it usually goes away on its own once the skin cools down.


Allergy to Food or Medicine

If you are allergic to any food or medicine, by eating that you may break out in hives. It is a red, itchy rash that forms as welts, very large bumps. The rash may occur anywhere on the body. Since food and medicine allergy can be dangerous, it is very important to visit a physician if you get an allergic reaction.


Sun Allergy

Sun allergy happens in some people and occurs as a reaction to sudden exposure to sun. It usually happens on forearms or other areas of the body, which have been covered for a long time and then suddenly exposed to the sun.

How to Treat Red Itchy Bumps on Arms

Red bumps on arm are a common skin disorder. They improve or disappear with time. Moisturizing the skin frequently is the only method to get rid of them. There is no treatment to cure them, but you can try the below mentioned tips and natural remedies to alleviate them.

What Doesn’t Work

  • Picking: Resist the urge to pick your skin as it can result in unsightly scarring that is worse than the bump.

  • Scrubbing: Red bumps are formed due to the building up of cells beneath the surface of the skin; hence, scrubbing and exfoliating the superficial skin will not help.


What Works

  • Chemical Exfoliators: Both lactic acid and glycolic acid can help, especially when used in the form of a wash.

  • Retinoids: Topical retinoids help as they penetrate deep beneath the surface of the skin and exfoliate cells.

  • Moisturization: Using a deep hydrating moisturizer may help make bumps look and feel better but they won’t go away with moisturizing.

  • Gentle Cleansing: Using harsh soaps can dry the skin and aggravate the bumps. Use a hydrating soap that is free of detergent. And ensure that you moisturize the areas that are prone to form bumps within a minute of stepping out of the shower.

  • Sunscreen: The bumps may get worse by sun’s rays. Applying sunscreen can make the skin smoother and make the bumps less obvious. Apply sunscreen of at least 30 SPF each day.


Natural Home Remedies

  • Coconut Oil: Coconut oil has anti-inflammatory properties. You should apply coconut oil immediately after taking bath as the skin is still moist and the coconut oil will help keep the skin moisturized for long time.

  • Baking Soda: Make a paste of baking soda with water. Rub this mixture on the affected area in circular motion. Rinse with lukewarm water. Moisturize the skin. Use this remedy 3-4 times a week.

  • Olive Oil: It has Vitamin E and acts as a moisturizer. You can mix olive oil with honey and sugar and apply the mixture on the affected area. You can also apply extra virgin olive oil to the skin regularly.

  • Apple Cider Vinegar: It is an astringent and helps in opening the skin pores. Mix equal amounts of apple cider vinegar with water and apply this mixture on the affected area. Leave for 5-10 minutes. Rinse with water. Repeat 2-3 times a day.

  • Oats: Soak oatmeal powder in warm water for 20 minutes. Apply it on the affected area. You can also rub this paste on your skin. Wash after 10-15 minutes and moisturize the skin.

  • Salt: Mix one cup of salt with ½ cup of almond oil and 1 tbsp. of grapefruit oil. Apply the affected area with this mixture, wash and moisturize.

  • Fish Oil: Fatty acids present in fish oil help in removing red itchy bumps on arms. You can ingest 2-3 g of fish oil as a supplement or eat fish such as tuna, trout and salmon to relieve the bumps.

  • Vitamin E oil: Vitamin E retains moisture and nourishes which helps repair the skin. Apply vitamin E oil 2 times a day on the affected area especially when the skin is wet.

  • Sour Cream: Mix one spoon of sugar with two spoons of sour cream and apply on the affected area.

  • Epsom Salt: It is a rich source of minerals. It helps in removing toxins and softening skin. Add a cup of Epsom salt to warm water. Have bath with this water and apply moisturizer later.


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