A mild soap and moisturizer should help alleviate the bumps on your upper arms or thighs (formally called keratosis pilaris). But if cold, dry winter air or dry heat indoors worsens your condition, be sure you moisturize damp skin immediately after showering or bathing, says Howard Sobel, MD, director of the New York Institute of Aesthetic Dermatology and Laser Surgery. You might also try using moisturizer on a polyester sponge (like a Buf-Puf; a loofah might be too abrasive) to remove these rough spots, which are plugged hair follicles. An exfoliating treatment—a lotion or cream containing salicylic, lactic, or glycolic acid—can also help smooth the skin. (Sobel recommends Lac-Hydrin lotion—with 12 percent lactic acid—and his own brand, DDF Glycolic 10% Exfoliating Moisturizer.)
If there's no improvement in three to four weeks, see your dermatologist; a low-dose prescription retinoid cream may be in order.