If I had to pick something to remain constant in my life, it would not be having red bumps on the back of my arms. But alas, skin conditions do not ask our permission. They just show up and, often, stick around.
Keratosis pilaris, or "chicken skin," as it is often (disgustingly) called, is a common affliction. I've heard some truly bananas statistics for KP -- some say that it affects up to 80 percent of the population at some point in their lives.
I'm a long-time sufferer myself. My KP problem is pretty obvious, due to the fact that I'm pale and have dry skin. (Do you want to go out with me yet? Try to restrain yourself.) However, over the years, I've found a couple great products that work well on keratosis pilaris and are available at almost any drugstore or via the magic of the internets. These are some of the cheapest and most effective.
One of my all-time favorite products, Lac-Hydrin Five is available over the counter, and works by exfoliating. Keratosis pilaris is caused by an overproduction of keratin, the same substance that makes up your hair and your nails. Small plugs form in the follicles, sometimes trapping hair and causing that distinctive bumpy appearance. This product contains alpha-hydroxy acids
that help exfoliate the bumps and get rid of those plugs. I've had good luck with this, and can get about a 70 percent reduction in redness with diligent use. When I stick with it, I can get rid of the bumps altogether. Price: $12 and under.
Here are the kinds of nerdy arguments I get into with my friends: Not so very long ago, I had a big argument with a colleague, a fellow chicken skin sufferer. She claimed AmLactin was the best treatment; my vote was for Lac-Hydrin. Honestly, either one will probably work for you. They work on the same principle: exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate. (Words I will someday have stitched on a pillow and displayed in my home.) Price: $9 and under.
And finally, the cheapest of all possible KP treatments: Coconut Oil. I like to use this as a moisturizer after exfoliating. If part of your problem is dry skin, coconut oil is the way to go. A few words to the wise, however: as the name might lead you to believe, this stuff is greasy. So don't slap this on and put on your favorite dress two seconds later.
My recommendation is to take a shower, towel off, apply the oil, and then let it soak in for a few minutes. Friends tell me that they put it on mid-shower, and then rinse it right off and it works the same, but I'm known more for my beauty than grace, so I'm not about to start slathering on oil and then stand on a tiled surface. Either way, you'll come out smelling like a cross between a summer's day and a macaroon, and that's never a bad thing. The skin improvement is just an added bonus. Price: $8 or under.