Although it can be a troublesome and annoying condition, having small bumps on your legs is generally no reason to panic. Small bumps on your legs can have a number of harmless causes. The bumps may be a result of a benign skin condition known as keratosis pilaris. If you're a woman and you shave your legs, it may also just be a case of razor bumps. According to MayoClinic.com, small, itchy bumps on your legs can also be a sign of atopic dermatitis, also known as eczema. Hives are a more serious potential cause of small, itchy bumps on your legs.
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Keratosis pilaris is a relatively common skin disorder. It results in small, hard, white or pink raised bumps that usually occur on your thighs and arms, according to Medline Plus. The bumps are a result of keratin buildup in your hair follicles. The bumps may itch, although they generally do not cause pain. Although there's no known cause, it seems to have a genetic component, and people who suffer from dry skin are more likely to develop this condition. Certain topical over-the-counter and prescription medications can alleviate some of the symptoms.
Razor bumps, also known as irritant folliculitis, most commonly occur to people who have curly hair, although anyone who shaves can develop razor bumps. As the hair grows in, it curls back on itself, resulting in a small, raised bump that is often filled with white pus. According to the New Zealand Dermatological Society, this condition is often very itchy and can only be resolved by avoiding shaving.
Atopic dermatitis, or eczema, is an inflammatory skin condition that can result in small, itchy bumps on your legs. According to MayoClinic.com, it most commonly occurs behind your knees. Atopic dermatitis causes red, inflamed patches, sensitive, thick or scaly skin and small, raised bumps that can ooze when scratched. There are a variety of medications for this condition, including corticosteroids, antibiotics and antihistamines, according to MayoClinic.com.
According to dermatologist Tiffany Young, MD, hives are raised, flat-topped bumps that can occur anywhere on your body in reaction to certain allergens, stress or contact with irritating substances. Hives usually first appears on the upper parts of your legs or arms. They tend to be extremely itchy and can appear out of nowhere and disappear on their own. The bumps may increase in size or join together to make a patch of irritated, swollen skin. Hives are one of the more serious causes of small bumps on your legs, especially if they cause difficulty breathing. In this case, you should go to your nearest emergency room, according to Dr. Young.
Although a number of conditions can cause small bumps on your legs, it's important to get an official diagnosis from your physician. In some cases, medical treatment may be required and in others, the condition may resolve on its own. Always seek medical attention if the bumps appear suddenly or if you're not sure of their cause.