Red bumps can be alarming, whether they are on your hands or elsewhere on the body. One of the problems with red bumps appearing on the skin is that there are literally dozens of potential causes for their development, ranging from minor and temporary to the severe. For this reason, it's important you identify the cause of your bumps or, if you are unable to determine a common cause, visit a doctor.
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The way your bumps look can narrow down the possible causes quite a bit. Some bumps may be red, while others can be quite small, and they may be significantly raised or only slightly bulging. The bumps may develop around hair follicles or appear more like pockets of inflammation under the skin. You may also notice some bumps developing white heads at their tips.
Red bumps on the skin can be sensitive to the touch and accompanied by swelling and inflammation. In some cases, the bumps may be itchy, and in some cases chronically so. In other cases, the red bumps may extend to other parts of the body, even if they begin on the hands.
Folliculitis is an infection of the hair follicles. If you develop this condition, you will notice the red bumps around the hair follicles, and pimples may develop. While this can appear on the hands, it can also develop anywhere hair grows. Insect bites may leave anywhere from a few to several dozen bumps on the skin, and these may be painful or, in the case of mosquitoes, be large, red bumps that are very itchy. Boils are large, red bumps that can release pus and blood and be quite painful. You may also develop a rash, which may or may not be painful or itchy and should be examined by a doctor.
Folliculitis often goes away on its own if it is superficial, but you should visit a doctor just in case — more serious cases need special medications to reduce the risk of hair loss. Insect bites often go away over time on their own, and calamine lotion can help relieve the itch. Boils should be cared for and protected from puncture, but if they exist for longer than two weeks they should be treated by a doctor. Rashes may be treated by taking an antihistamine; otherwise, you should visit a doctor to determine the cause.
If you develop any unknown symptoms, or if you are unable to identify the cause of your red bumps on your hands, visit a doctor. It is possible you came in contact with an irritant such as poison ivy, poison oak or materials to which you had an allergic reaction. It is also possible the bumps are a warning sign for much more serious problems in your body.