Rash That Looks Like Goosebumps: Causes and Treatments

Rash in skin that looks like goosebumps may not be a big problem for some people, but it can be very irritating for others. The rash can pose a cosmetic concern, and lead to stress or even panic among the affected individuals.  

Causes of Rash That Looks Like Goosebumps


1. Keratosis Pilaris

One of the common causes of this condition is keratosis pilaris. The skin of the affected individual will appear to be similar to plucked chicken flesh or goosebumps.

Any part of the body can be affected by keratosis pilaris, but shoulders, arms, buttocks and thigh are most often affected. The condition can also cause the development of dry skin.

2. Lichen Nitidus

Lichen nitidus has a low incidence of occurrence. This condition can cause small bumps that seem similar to goosebumps. 

  • The bumps may be tiny, like the head of a needle or slightly larger in size.
  • They are round in shape and flat in appearance.
  • The color of these bumps matches that of the surrounding skin pretty closely. It can be slightly lighter on certain occasions as well, thus standing out even more.
  • These tiny bumps are found in several locations on the body, including chest, arms, shoulders, abdomen, and the genital areas. The base of your feet, the fingernails, and the palms are the least affected areas.
  • The lichen nitidus bumps are usually not itchy, but in rare cases they can be.

When to See a Doctor

It is always better to see a doctor and get a confirmed diagnosis for any bumps on your body. If your symptoms also include fever, pus accumulation or itching, then you may need immediate medical care.

Treatments for Rash That Looks Like Goosebumps

1. Treatments for Keratosis Pilaris

Medical Treatment

Keratosis pilaris usually will get better itself; however, certain products are available to promote the healing process.

  • Products to remove the dead cells of the skin: These creams or lotions may be available with or without a prescription, depending upon the strength of the active ingredients inside them. They may contain salicylic acid, hydroxyl acid, lactic acid and urea to help moisturize the skin, shake off the dead skin cells and soften your skin. Follow the directions on the bottle or as given by your doctor to apply these products.
  • Creams that fight plugged hair follicles: These are creams that contain a significant amount of topical vitamin A which helps regenerate your skin’s cells. The vitamin A promotes the growth of new skin cells and helps to shed off the dead ones.

Both of these products may cause some redness and itching in a few people.

Home Remedies

Some measures that can be used to help improve the appearance of the skin include:

  • Avoid extremely hot baths: Limit the amount of time that you spend in the shower and use lukewarm water instead of extremely hot water. These help conserve the natural oils of the skin.
  • Use gentle bathing products: Soaps that are harsh on the skin, loofahs to exfoliate the skin and rough towels should all be avoided. 
  • Use a moisturizer: An everyday moisturizer containing lanolin, glycerin or petroleum jelly can really go a long way in treating the rash that looks like goosebumps. The best time to use this moisturizer is straight after shower to trap the moisture inside.
  • Keep a humidifier in your room: Dry air is your enemy in this case and a humidifier kept inside the room is very helpful.
  • Wear loose clothes: Wearing loose clothes will avoid unnecessary friction.

2. Treatments for Lichen Nitidus

Treatment for lichen nitidus is not necessary for all people and the condition will usually clear up on its own. For people who are bothered about their appearance or complain of itchiness, there are certain medicines that can help.

  • Your doctor may prescribe corticosteroids to bring down the inflammation. These can be ingested through a pill or be topically applied. Even though this is an effective way to curb the inflammation, the associated side effects like a thinning of the skin, osteoporosis, increase in blood pressure, and diabetes may occur. So this therapy should be used sparingly and with caution.
  • Retinoid may also be prescribed. It can be packaged into gels to be applied locally. Retinoid helps rejuvenate the skin without the same kind of side effects that corticosteroids cause.
  • Tacrolimus is another drug that is useful in the treatment of lichen nitidus because of its immunomodulatory effects. Patients should limit their exposure to the sun or artificial phototherapy while using this drug.
  • A recent type of treatment used to treat rash that looks like goosebumps is targeted UV radiation. In this treatment, a drug is first administered to make the skin of the recipient more sensitive to this radiation and UVB light which has a narrow spectrum. Once this therapy has been provided, patients must avoid exposure to the sun for a couple of days.