Causes and How to Get Rid of Whiteheads on Arms

May 17, 2018

One of the reasons why most people don’t like going sleeveless is the little bumps on their upper and lower arms or whiteheads on Arms. These bumps can be due to many reasons including keratosis pilaris, blackheads, whiteheads among many other conditions.

Depending on the cause, they can be itchy or non-itchy, cause some irritation as well as frustrate the people who have them.

This article is about whiteheads both the lower and upper arm. Although whiteheads are a mild form of acne that is harmless, having them can be unsightly, and if infected they can be painful, cause irritation, and so on. They are not welcome anywhere including on the face, nose, legs, arms, back, chest, among other body parts.

To help you get rid of whiteheads on your arms, I will give you information on the causes and how to treat, reduce, or get rid of them and lead a healthy life without them.

Causes of whiteheads on arms and similar bumps

There are several reasons why you could be having bumps on your arms.

Clogged hair follicles

A whitehead is formed when the pores on your skin become clogged. Dead skin cells combine with sebum oil produced by your sebaceous glands to block the hair follicle. A blocked hair follicle is called a comedo. An open comedo is called a blackhead while a closed one is known as a whitehead.

Comedos are very common during puberty because oil production in the sebaceous glands increases during this time. You can also have them during pregnancy or periods when you have a lot of hormonal fluctuations. Stress hormones have been associated with acne in general including whiteheads.  You may also get the whiteheads on your face.

Cosmetic products

Makeup and skin products that clog the pores may increase the chances of getting whiteheads on your skin including your arms. Greasy skin products can also worsen some conditions like acne and psoriasis.

Ingrown hair

Ingrown hair is a condition where hair curls back into the skin instead of growing outwards. The condition will result in a pimple-like an itchy reddish bump or even a comedo. Ingrown hair is most prevalent in people with curly hair.

Keratosis pilaris

Does the back of your hand feel like chicken skin or rough like sandpaper? Then you have a condition known as Keratosis pilaris. Keratosis pilaris is a harmless condition that causes small, hard bumps on the back of hands. Just as its name suggests, occurs from excessive buildup of keratin around the hair follicles.

It is estimated that more than 40% of the world’s population has some form of chicken hair skin which worsens during winter when the skin becomes very dry. Keratosis pilaris can increase the chances of one having whiteheads on their upper and lower arms.

Other forms of hand acne

Small raised bumps on your arms and hands could be a symptom of pimples. I understand that most times, people expect to get acne and pimples on their faces because it is susceptible. However, though it is scarce, the condition can also spread to your hands and arms.

Acne is most prevalent on the underarms because of the sweating. You can even get white-headed on your underarms due to conditions like psoriasis.

Exposure to excess sun

Excessive and cumulative sun exposure can cause comedones on your skin, this is according to Dr. Sandra Lee. She says this is the main reason why you can see them on the surface of older people who don’t have active acne.


As you have already seen, your condition may be a minor skin altercation that will go away on its own or it is a symptom of an underlying skin condition. The best treatment will be to prevent the causes and the bumps from appearing. You can also try out the following remedies.

Manually extract the whiteheads

Dr. Sandra Lee says that whiteheads can be manually removed from your hands using a schaumber-type comedone extractor. Schaumbe comedone extractor is a specialized professional whitehead remover tool that can also be used to remove acne. It is very popular and one of the highest selling products on Amazon.

Resist the temptation to squeeze the whiteheads with your bare hands because you may transmit the infection to other body parts if they are already infected. Also, squeezing may also result in scarring which may damage your skin further. It is advisable that you seek the services of a dermatologist for manual extraction.


The only way to get rid of an accumulation of dead skin, keratin, and sebum, is to wash and exfoliate the skin thoroughly. To do this, you can use warm water which softens the skin and then scrubbing with a loofah to clear the dead skin debris. Ensure you use mild soap and apply a moisturizing lotion after the bath.

Treatment for Keratosis Pilaris

An exclusive KP skin treatment is yet to be discovered since the condition is genetically predetermined. However, this does not mean that you have to endure the horror of chicken skin throughout your life. Some ways can drastically reduce the symptoms.

According to Dr. Axe, using lotions that contain lactic acid, salicylic acid, and glycolic acid on the affected area will smooth your skin. The doctor says that these are called keratolytic agents and have been proven to be the best chicken skin cure. also recommends gently exfoliating the affected area with sea salt which removes and unplugs hair follicles without irritating the skin. You can mix sea sold with honey which has moisturizing properties.

Treatment for ingrown hair bumps

An ingrown hair bump can be removed using tweezers or a topical application of a cream with glycolic acid. You can prevent the ingrown hair problem through laser hair removal procedure which gets rid of hair permanently. Also, find out about proper shaving techniques as a preventive measure for this problem.