Red Bumps on the Forearm

Red bumps on the forearms can appear for a variety of reasons. Among them are certain medical conditions or contact with specific items and substances. These bumps, which can also appear on other areas of the body, can be painful, irritating and may even be a symptom of a serious medical problem. Therefore, it's important to understand what conditions can trigger rash-like bumps and how they can be treated. If the bumps appear only on the forearms, it is probably because the arms have come into contact with an irritant, such as poison ivy or a chemical in soap or lotion.


The MedlinePlus website explains that red bumps on the forearm can change the texture and color of a person’s skin. Bumps can be clustered together or widely spread across the arm. They may be accompanied by scaling, itching and the formation of thicker patches of skin. The bumps can be painful and tender to the touch. In addition, they can ooze a pus-like fluid that crusts over on the skin as the bump heals.

Possible Causes

According to the KidsHealth website, red bumps that appear on the forearm can be the result of a skin conditions or reactions such as eczema, psoriasis and dermatitis. In addition, a rash can develop if a person comes into contact with an allergenic material such as poison oak, nickel, hair dye, rubber or sumac. Red bumps can also be triggered by irritants such as harsh soaps, laundry detergents, chemicals and even excessive exposure to the sun.


To treat red forearm bumps, wash your skin gently with warm water and as little soap as possible. Then apply a calamine lotion or 1 percent hydrocortisone cream. This can soothe the rash and add moisture to the skin. For skin conditions like psoriasis, dermatitis and eczema, a doctor can prescribe a prescription strength topical cream or oral antibiotic. Bath products that contain oatmeal can also help relieve rash symptoms.


To prevent the development of rashes, limit contact with allergens or irritating products. A doctor or dermatologist can run appropriate tests to help identify which allergens or irritating product is causing the problem. If the rash is itchy, refrain from scratching it or you could cause the formation of a scar or infection. Because stress can make rashes worse, relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and meditation can be beneficial.


The KidsHealth website warns that some rashes can be a sign of a serious allergic reaction. Seek emergency medical attention if the red bumps are accompanied by facial swelling, tightness in the throat, shortness of breath or the development of hive-like bumps. In addition, tell a doctor if the rash turns purple. A shot of epinephrine may be required immediately to stop the allergic reaction.