What Causes Bumpy Arm Skin (or Keratosis Pilaris)?

By Lucy Rose Clinic

March 22, 2022

Run your hand up and down the outer side of your arm. Is the skin smooth and soft? Or is it bumpy? Maybe you get little whiteheads, or have dry, rough patches.

This is called Keratosis pilaris (colloquially referred to as Chicken Skin). It usually appears on the upper arms, thighs, cheeks or buttocks. The bumps generally don’t hurt or itch, but they aren’t the most attractive – especially if you have the tendency to pick.

Let’s look at WHY you could have this, and how to treat it!

Keratosis Pilaris, otherwise known as Chicken Skin

Why does skin do this?

The skin is our largest organ, and one big job it does is help to excrete toxins and byproducts of biochemical processes.


Our lymphatic system sits just under the skin, and this is the drainage system of our body. When our lymphatic system is dirty, then our skin will try to help out by excreting some of the gunk causing Chicken Skin.


Another reason our skin can show signs of distress is related directly to our GUT. Researchers as far back as 1930 suspected a link between gut and skin health. Inflammation in the digestive tract, which can be caused by food intolerances, medications (ibuprofen), surgeries, radiation treatment, all contributes to Intestinal permeability (a.k.a. “leaky gut”) which causes both systemic and local inflammation, which in turn contributes to skin conditions, and in this case Keratosis Pilaris.


When our liver is congested, fatty, or not working optimally due to a suboptimal thyroid, or methylation issues, one symptom is very obvious through the skin. Skin will get dry, dull, and sallow. When coupled with sluggish lymph, you can get Keratosis pilaris.

Thyroid link

We often find that people with a thyroid issue – whether that is known about, or undiagnosed sub-optimal levels – experience Chicken Skin. They often have an itchy back as well, due to slower circulation, dry skin, and sluggish liver.


Taking gluten out of the diet usually makes this issue go away.


Gluten is a small wedge-shaped protein that lodges into the interstitial spaces on the gut barrier – sort of like a splinter. This causes inflammation. Inflammation builds to leaky gut.

Keratosis Pilaris Treatment

The body is an amazingly complex organism, and trying to treat one symptom without ever understanding or addressing the underlying cause is like taking Panadol to manage the pain of a stone in your shoe. When you understand the root cause, it is easy and common sense to treat!

However, understanding the root cause is not standard medical care. This is where functional medicine comes in because it is all about discovering the root cause to treat the body holistically. In other words, we aim to take the stone out of the shoe, rather than mask the symptom with a drug.

DIY tips
  • Drink the right amount of water for your body’s needs.
  • Limit unnecessary medications, drugs, alcohol, tobacco etc.
  • Dry skin brush every day before your shower.
  • Don’t eat junk – eat a clean diet full of vegetables and adequate protein.


You can put up with minor complaints like skin pimples, or treat them with a medicated cream. But it doesn’t fix the root problem. And left unaddressed, with time, and the natural aging process, these seemingly minor issues will build into a more serious health concern. We can help either way, but getting in early resolves issues quickly. Whereas chronic concerns take longer to balance, and degenerated health situations will need medication as well as natural health support to give you the best quality of life possible.

Either way, we are here to help you feel better!

Book a free 15-minute consultation if you want expert guidance to feel great, lose weight, and balance your body.

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