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What causes strawberry skin on arms?


Keratosis pilaris, sometimes called “strawberry skin,” is a genetic skin condition that causes patches of hard, rough-feeling bumps to appear on the skin. 

These little bumps are dead skin cells plugging your hair follicles and are sometimes brown or red in color.

Strawberry skin usually appears on the upper arms, cheeks, thighs, or buttocks. It isn’t contagious, and these bumps don’t cause any itching or discomfort. 

While there is no cure for this harmless condition, there are ways to treat it or prevent it from getting worse. Even if you experience it often, keratosis pilaris tends to clear up naturally as you grow older.

This article discusses the factors that cause strawberry skin and methods to deal with the condition effectively.

Table of Contents:

  • What causes strawberry skin on arms?
  • Symptoms of Keratosis Pilaris
  • Remedies for Keratosis Pilaris
  • Products Best Suited for Keratosis Pilaris

What causes strawberry skin on arms?

strawberry skin

Keratosis pilaris occurs when the keratin in your body hair gets clogged in the pores, blocking the opening of growing hair follicles.

 As a result, small bumps form over the area where hair should be. If you were to pick at a bump, you would notice a small hair emerge.

The exact cause of keratin buildup is still unknown, but doctors attribute it to skin conditions like atopic dermatitis and other genetic diseases. 

Anyone can be susceptible to strawberry skin, but it is most commonly seen among children and teenagers, with most cases completely disappearing by the age of 30. 

Other risk factors include dry skin, eczema, ichthyosis, hay fever, obesity, and hormonal changes during pregnancy.

Symptoms of Keratosis Pilaris

Keratosis Pilaris, strawberry skin, skin itch, scratching skin

The most noticeable symptom of keratosis pilaris is the groupings of tiny, rough, sometimes discolored bumps on your skin. 

In rare cases, the appearance of these bumps will be followed by other symptoms such as:

  • Rough or itchy skin, especially on the upper arms, legs, and buttocks;
  • Frictional Lichenoid Dermatitis, which is caused when the bumps get irritated, leading them to become red and noticeable; and
  • Worsening of the bumps during drier months.

It's good to reach out to your doctor if you are concerned about your symptoms or if they linger for extended periods.

Remedies for Keratosis Pilaris

Because strawberry skin isn’t harmful or contagious, you usually don’t need to treat it. For most people, the bumps go away on their own or become less noticeable as they age. 

If the uneven skin bothers you, treating it with moisturizers, creams, and oils might help.

Moisturizing Lotions

Moisturizing lotions can keep your skin hydrated, thereby minimizing and softening the bumps. Moisturizers with ammonium lactate and alpha hydroxyl acids (AHAs) are best for rough, bumpy skin. Apply several times every day, especially after taking a shower while your skin is still damp.

Medicated Creams

Certain creams can help decrease the buildup of dead skin cells and may be suitable for those who suffer from keratosis pilaris. However, be sure to apply them judiciously. The overuse of medicated creams can cause skin irritation.


Exfoliating lets you remove dead skin cells from the surface. You can slough off these cells gently with a loofah, washcloth, or buff puff while you bathe. Avoid scrubbing your skin, which can lead to irritation and worsen keratosis pilaris.

Laser Treatments

Dermatologists might recommend laser treatments to help you improve or eliminate the redness associated with keratosis pilaris.

Gentler Skincare Routine

Most people find their strawberry skin improves when they make certain changes in their skincare routine, such as taking shorter showers, using lukewarm water in baths or showers, installing a humidifier to help hydrate their skin, and using an epilator to get rid of body hair rather than waxing or shaving.

Keep in mind that keratosis pilaris treatments are temporary, and you will need to continue treatments to see constant improvements. There are also cases when some people do not benefit from treatment in any way. Fortunately, keratosis pilaris is not harmful and does not lead to long-term damage to the skin. However, it can be frustrating when you strive to take extraordinary care of your skin, but it keeps breaking out into bumps. To prevent or reduce its frequency, here are some products you can use to contain the issue.

Products Best Suited for Keratosis Pilaris

  • The WOW Shea & Cocoa Butter Moisturizing Lotion is a fast-absorbing moisturizer suited to all dry skin types. The formulation is packed with natural vitamins and nutrients and provides intense moisture and hydration to make your skin smooth and supple. Regular application helps the skin retain water, boost collagen production, repair damage, and soothe inflammation.

Shea & Cocoa Butter Moisturizing Lotion (Deep Hydration)

  • The WOW Skin Science Ubtan Face & Body Scrub features the Ayurvedic secret of ubtan — a mix of natural botanicals that exfoliate and refresh the skin, reviving its glow from the inside out. It is infused with vitamin and antioxidant-rich almond, walnut powder, and chickpea flour to exfoliate, while the turmeric and saffron extract soothe and brighten your skin. The rosewater helps tone dry surfaces, making you feel more hydrated. This easy-to-use scrub is safe for all skin types and can be used up to twice weekly.

  • The WOW Skin Science Jasmine Absolute Essential Oil is a blend of 10% premium Jasmine Absolute in 90% pure cold-pressed Jojoba Oil and comes with the signature floral fragrance of jasmine. Jasmine oils have been used down the ages by healers and aromatherapists for wellness benefits, including stress relief, hair, and skincare. It can take up to 8 million jasmine flowers to make 1 liter of oil, making this a premium option to experience the exotic richness of pure jasmine.

Strawberry skin is often a temporary condition that goes away over time. It usually doesn’t cause any symptoms, but you should reach out to a dermatologist if you experience discomfort like itchy or dry skin.


Samina Siddique

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