What Might Be Causing the Small Bumps on Your Skin

by Ashley Rodriguez August 16, 2018 1 Comment

Acne is an issue we all have dealt with during our teenage years, some of us still deal with blemishes long after puberty.


what might be causing the small bumps on your skin


For some, those years have come and gone, but now you may be dealing with little bumps. You know, they aren’t acne, but instead they’re tiny, hard bumps on your skin that don’t pop.

Can we really rid ourselves of those bumps on our skin? Today we’re going to venture into what those tiny bumps may be and some possible ways to treat them.

Why do I Have These Bumps on My Skin?

There can be a number of factors that may be causing the bumps you’re experiencing on your face and skin. If you’re a fan of Dr. Pimple Popper, you may already be able to identify some of these, but let’s dig deeper and find out some ways to help treat and prevent those non-acne bumps!


What Are Milia?

Let’s start off our list with milia, these are usually identified as small bumps that usually develop around the eyes, nose, cheeks, mouth, or even eyelids. They aren’t painful, but they can be a bit of an unwanted guest.

These tiny bumps are actually tiny cysts under our skin. They occur when protein called keratin builds up in our sweat ducts, clogging them. Milia are usually white and look similar to whiteheads, but there isn’t any redness or inflammation associated with them and they don’t pop when squeezed.


 Image via New York Skin Solutions

What’s Causing My Milia?

Milia are very common in babies, affecting about 50% of newborns. They usually disappear over time in babies, but in adults it may be more difficult to clear up. These tiny cysts can occur after experiencing irritation in a certain area, or when using a moisturizer that is too rich for the skin.

The resulting dead skin cells, when they are not exfoliated, can get trapped beneath the skin and form milia.

These are some reasons why our dead skin cells may be getting trapped under our skin:

  1. Not exfoliating enough - If we don’t exfoliate our skin one to two times a week dead skin will most likely clog pores. Exfoliating can also help brighten up our complection!
  2. Over-exposure to the sun -  Sun burns can lead to trauma on the skin, which can cause irritation. Continued exposure may cause the skin to become leathery, making it tougher to remove dead skin cells.
  3. Skincare items that may be too heavy - Skincare items like cleansers, moisturizers or creams can actually trap dead skin cells. This leads to buildup on the surface of the skin.
  4. Not cleansing properly - We don’t recommend over-washing our skin. That can strip the natural oils and moisture from the skin, but not properly removing our makeup can clog pores and trap dirt and dead skin cells over time.

Milia in adults don’t generally go away on their own. It can be very tempting to try to pop them at home, but this can lead to skin damage or infection from picking at them. Instead, if you’d like to have them removed, we’d recommend consulting an esthetician or your dermatologist.

There are some things you can do though for smoother-looking skin.

Start off by creating a routine of cleansing and exfoliating your skin to help prevent the build up of dead skin cells in your skin. We recommend our lightweight foaming Soapberry Facial Cleanser, that helps cleanse your skin without trapping any dead skin cells. Pairing your favorite cleanser with a brush can help thoroughly clean your skin.


Soapberry face wash

Also using an exfoliator can prevent the buildup of dead skin cells. You can use one with small exfoliating particles or a chemical one, such as one that uses fruit enzymes to help keep your pores clear.

Try using products with lightweight formulas, instead of thicker ones that can trap dead skin cells. Consider products with lighter weight formulas and ingredients such as hyaluronic acid that pack moisture without the heaviness. We’d suggest using our Ginseng Green Tea Moisturizer, that has Retinol and hyaluronic acid.  For added moisture without any of the weight, consider adding a serum to your skincare routine too!

Protect your skin! Remember to wear your sunscreen daily to avoid UV damage. You’ll also be protecting your skin from premature aging and wrinkles as an added bonus.

Allergic Reactions

Identifying Allergic Reactions

With so many ingredients (even metals!) in everyday products like makeup, skin or hair care, it may be possible that your skin may be reacting to one of those ingredients. Even allergies or sensitivities to food items in our diets can cause our skin to react too.

Identifying bumps resulting from allergies can be a bit easier, because they are usually accompanied by inflammation and itchiness. If you have sensitive skin, or have conditions such as psoriasis or eczema, these bumps can linger on the skin, appearing as patches on the skin and redness.


What May Be Causing My Allergic Reaction?

Allergic reactions are usually triggered by a response from your body’s immune system to an allergen or an irritant. This encounter usually leads to inflammation on the skin and itchiness.

Treating and Preventing an Allergic Reaction

If you’re experiencing an allergic reaction, it’s a good idea to contact a doctor or an allergist in order to determine exactly what may be causing it. As simple as it may sound, avoiding the specific food item or product is your best defense against experiencing an allergic reaction.

If you’re not sure how your skin may react to a new product, especially if you have sensitive skin, I’d recommend doing a patch test first. Try the product out for a day or two on a small area of skin before going on to applying it on larger areas, or very sensitive areas.

Avoiding any products with added fragrances is also recommended. The ingredients used to create fragrances can play a huge part in the irritation of skin. Try using fragrance free products, or those formulated for sensitive skin like our Unscented Shea Butter Body Lotion.

unscented body lotion


Keratosis Pilaris

What is Keratosis Pilaris?

This is a common skin condition that appears as tiny bumps on the skin, commonly referred to as “chicken skin”. They sort of look like goosebumps that won’t go away. According to Medscape, Keratosis Pilaris is a genetic disorder that usually appears on the outer-upper arms and thighs and affects nearly 50-80% of all adolescents and approximately 40% of adults.

What Might Be Causing Keratosis Pilaris?

Much like milia, Keratosis Pilaris is caused by the buildup of keratin, but this time the hair follicles are being clogged.

Image via Home Remedies Natural Cures


Here are some reasons why you might have these bumps:

  1. Chafing - Some clothing materials might cause chafing, causing these bumps to become irritated. Wearing a more breathable fabric can help reduce chafing.
  2. Genetics - According to Medscape, keratosis pilaris has a genetic component, meaning it is very likely that it runs in the family.
  3. Dry Skin - Having dry skin can actually aggravate keratosis pilaris, because the skin will have a tendency to overproduce keratin. This overproduction will lead to buildup in the follicles causing bumps.

Treating Keratosis Pilaris

Exfoliating usually sounds like a good idea in this situation, but it is a huge no-no. Exfoliating will strip the skin of whatever moisture it may have left and lead to more bumps. Instead, try using moisturizing body washes, like our Soapberry Body Wash that helps cleanse your skin without stripping your skin’s natural moisture. We recommend following up with a skin moisturizer that contains light exfoliating ingredients, such as Retinol, which helps in the removal of layers of dead skin and promotes new cell growth. Retinol alone in a cream can be quite harsh, which is why we suggest using our Ginseng Green Tea Moisturizer, which contains a balancing complex of healing vitamins (B5, C and E).

When using Retinol, because it is slightly stronger than other ingredients, make sure to avoid excess exposure to the sun and to use an SPF. If you have sensitive skin, remember to first perform a patch test on a small area to determine that it works for you and to use it a couple of times the first few weeks while your skin adjusts.

Final Recommendations

Don’t be afraid to consult your doctor or a skincare professional when you’re concerned about something going on with your skin. If you notice any bumps that grow, worsen or don’t go away, we’d recommend consulting a doctor as soon as possible!

Let us know below if this post was helpful, and which remedies work best for you!

Ashley Rodriguez
Ashley Rodriguez


1 Response


March 02, 2020

I never knew what the Keratosis Pilaris on my underarms were! I suspected something follicle related, but it’s great to know its name~

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