How to Calm Red Bumpy Skin


For years, I’ve had skin on my arms and legs that felt like sandpaper to the touch. It fluctuates from tiny pink dots to dark pink bumps to raging red hills.

This winter, it mounted an intense resurgence. The worst of my life.

If you’ve never seen it, Wikipedia has a great picture under its explanation of the condition: Keratosis Pilaris.

Sounds icky, but it’s just clogged hair follicles caused by your body’s excess production of keratin in the skin.

The good news is it’s very common; the bad news is there is no quick fix. It’s something that requires constant care.

My doctor prescribed steroid cream to bring down the inflammation. And gave me the following advice about it:

  • Never scrub your skin in the shower–no loofahs, or washcloths. Just gently wash with your hands.
  • Never rub your skin with a towel. Just pat it dry with the towel.
  • Use a cream with ceramides on a regular basis.
  • Never pick at the clogged hair follicles, it only aggravates the condition.

I tried Curel Itch Defense (it has ceramides but is made for eczema skin), which helped soothe my skin, but I still got some of those angry red bumps.

On my followup visit, my dermatologist suggested CeraVe SA.


It’s been a complete game-changer. My skin is back to normal–pale beige. There are far fewer bumps and it’s the softest to the touch it’s ever been. It’s still a little rough but what a difference from December!

CeraVe SA is the only cream specifically made to deal with Keratosis Pilaris. It contains ceramides and salicylic acid (SA). The SA helps exfoliate the skin and helps the hair follicles not get so clogged up.

It really works. I use it after every shower.

And I’m not worried about wearing short sleeves anymore.

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20 Responses to How to Calm Red Bumpy Skin

  1. Great that you found a cream which works for you. And your skin is now improving ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. kford2007 says:

    Oh, you poor baby. It looks like it would itch like mad. I’m so glad you found something that gives you some great relief! This will certainly be great news to others who also suffer from the condition.

    • It weirdly never itched for me. But it looked horrible and felt horrible to the touch. Like a fine sandpaper. So glad I got proactive and decided to get help. This cream is amazing!!!!

  3. Carrie Rubin says:

    Glad you found something that works. It’s a frustrating, chronic condition no doubt, and it often runs in families (hereditary-wise–not contagious-wise ๐Ÿ˜‰ ).

    • Yup. Had it all my life and it came down paternal side of family. It gets worse in winter, but this year was worst ever. Fiery red skin. When I lived in San Diego it disappeared for two years. It was awesome.

  4. jmmcdowell says:

    Winter is the worst for skin. Mine gets itchy, even if it doesn’t dry out. I miss our whole-house humidifiers when we owned. I swear we were sick less often, and my skin didn’t feel anywhere near as dry. The small portable ones just don’t do the job. Glad you found something that works for youโ€”that sense of relief is wonderful!

    • I use a humidifier too. Have you tried Curel itch defense? My mom loves it for itchy dry skin. It’s so nice to not have people ask “what happened to your arms?” ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. 4amWriter says:

    Wow, that would be awful to deal with. I know how frustrating that condition must be. I suffer from urticaria when I exercise outside in extreme temperatures, and it flares up from friction (like from wearing windpants). My legs get it the worst, but it’ll flare up on my arms too.

    I’m glad you found something that makes you more comfortable, Kourtney! Great ad, by the way. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Thanks Kathryn. I’m so glad I found something that works. It was really ugly to look at and it made me so self conscious. Lol. You should see me on Skype. I actually grabbed the bottle to show it to my friend and talk it up. Sorry you have that skin issue too. Ugh. Such an annoyance to manage.

  6. Take are Kourtney and nurture yourself xx I know, easier said than done..((hugs))

    • Lol. I’m trying to pay more attention to my body and be proactive. That ounce of prevention vs pound of cure thing. Took 2 months to get skin under control. Maintenance is just 5 minutes a day. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. EllaDee says:

    I’m so happy for you ๐Ÿ™‚ as interestingly I have something similar on my legs, although I have had it so bad it was on legs, hips, hairline, scalp… it fluctuates… usually if I’m stressed it worsens, and like your arms I generally cover my legs. I would love it to be gone completely so I will try to get CeraVe SA. Thanks do much for sharing this – bloggers are great, you especially ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Mine used to be just back of arms and legs. But this winter it went supernova covering every inch of arms and legs. Stress and bad eating and wrong soap all exacerbated mine. I’m back to an oil based shower gel and that helps calm it too. But I think the CeraVe SA is essential. Good luck! ๐Ÿ™‚ glad to share when I know something can help.

  8. I have had dry skin since I was a teenager, and in recent years have had a horrendous dry skin condition on my hands, resulting in not only itchy cracked skin, but blisters too – very painful! I suffered this for 15 years, thinking it was just an allergy to lots of soap, lotions and creams, because that was what I was told by doctors (a contact allergy.) But recently I discovered a complete cure, by accident, also revealing that it was not an allergy to anything at all, but a very severe dry skin condition!

    For a number of years I have had a fascination in creating different recipes for soups, mainly vegetable soups. And I finally got around to trying a Parsnip soup. I’ve always hated parsnips unless they are roasted, so I roasted them first before making them into a soup! (Roasting makes their strong taste much sweeter.) After about 3 weeks of trying various recipes of Parsnip soup, I suddenly noticed a huge improvement in my skin on my hands and also my dry scalp condition – it was disappearing! I was initially a little baffled by the improvement, but very quickly worked out that it may have something to do with the Parsnips.

    I did stop having Parsnips for about six weeks and my skin went back to it’s original very dry blistery state! Three weeks without eating Parsnips, and the effect wears off!

    I have been eating Parsnips for about a year now, and have finally got to a point where my hands actually look normal, no red dry bits, no blisters, no cracked skin! And as a real bonus I’m now getting to the point where I am less reactive to hand soaps that I could not use at all before, less reactive to hand-hot water literally burning my skin! And hardly any need to use hand cream at all now – saving me a lot of money on an expensive natural cream, which was the only one I could use!

    And I found that eating Parsnips as soup has a more powerful effect on the skin than eating them any other way! I also found I needed to avoid any citrus fruits, which I discovered undone all the beneficial effects of eating Parsnips! (Oranges, lemons, pineapple, kiwi fruit) all of these made my skin more dry, even after a great improvement, so I still avoid eating them as a main part of my diet, but I will try them again soon, as I’m hoping my body may well have recovered enough to be able to eat them again soon. I found that eating Parsnips also made my thinning hair grow really thick and much faster – and also nails too!! ๐Ÿ™‚ For an added boost in skin softening power I also add a handful of cashew nuts to the soup while cooking, and then blend the whole lot very smooth, it makes the soup taste very creamy, and it is all extremely low fat too, so I’ve lost a lot of weight as well! And I don’t need to roast those Parsnips any more as I got over the dislike for them – I love them now! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Sorry for this terribly long, book like comment, but I just thought as a person who suffers from dry skin you might like to know – I really hope it may be of some help to you, and that you might find you may not need to use lotions or creams at all one day! I have thought of writing a post about this, but my blog is mainly poetry and short stories – so it’s kind of hard to know where to fit that in amongst the creative bits!!
    Suzy ๐Ÿ˜€

  9. benzeknees says:

    Thanks for following Benzeknees!

  10. Hailey says:

    Oh my goodness. This cream is a UH-MAZING! I was a really bad picker, and basically tore my arms to pieces because I would pick at all these tiny little bumps. I work with the public and people are constantly asking me what was wrong with my arms. Let’s just say, in a week of using the cream my skin has become at least 50% better than it was!!! The SA in it helps the wounds I’ve already created along with just cutting down on the amount of bumps. This stuff is a life changer that’s for sure. Pricey but I would pay even more for it! I’m glad it worked for you and hopefully more people will discover this and it will help them as well!

    • Yes I cannot believe how much it changed my skin. It was like sandpaper and angry red dots. Now it’s smooth and so much calmer. Pricey and requires constant use in the winter but definitely work it. ๐Ÿ™‚

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