Goosebumps are also referred to as gooseflesh, chill bumps, funky spots and goose pimples. Clinically termed as cutis anserine, the condition is associated with bumps on an individual’s skin that are usually temporary in nature and associated with raised hair. The base of the hair tends to contract involuntarily, which result in raised hair and gives a typical appearance to the skin.
Goosebumps associated with reflex which is often referred to as pilomotor reflex. The reflex is triggered in response to a strong emotion experience or on sudden exposure to cold. The condition affects all mammals with the best examples being porcupines, which raise their quills when threatened.It is an involuntary response.
What Causes Goosebumps On Skin?
Goosebumps are often associated with strong emotions like fear, admiration, sexual arousal or awe. These strong emotions result in the stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system which causes muscles located at the base of the hair follicle to protrude out of the skin. This condition is referred to as the Piloerection reflex, since it is associated with rising of hair. Piloerection is considered to be a natural defense mechanism of the body in lieu of threat or danger.
In addition to strong emotions, cold weather conditions are also associated with Goosebumps on the skin.The condition is attributed to reduced blood circulation to the skin which in turn may result in the contraction of the muscles of the skin and result in Goosebumps.
Permanent Goosebumps On Skin
In some individuals the appearance of bumps on the skin is not associated with strong emotions and cold weather but is permanent in nature. The condition is referred to as Keratosis Pilaris.
Under normal circumstances, the dead tissue located on the skin is shed off naturally and new skin cells regenerate naturally. However in Kerotosis Pilaris, the dead cells tend to stick on to the skin which results in the formation of red or pink tiny bumps, which are representative of goose bumps. Though the condition can affect any part of the skin, it is more profoundly observed on the back of the upper arm and the upper part of the back.
It should be noted that this skin condition normally doesn’t itch but is associated with a sensation of horny plugs on the skin.
Treatment For Goosebumps
Since Goosebumps is a reflux response to fear or anxiety or cold, no specific treatment is required. The condition is self limiting and resolves after the emotions return back to normal. For the management of permanent Goosebumps caused due to Keratosis Pilaris, the treatment comprises of,
- Scrubbing and exfoliation of the skin. Scrubbing and exfoliation can aid in removal of accumulated dead skin and dirt and thereby reduce the appearance of the unsightly bumps. However avoid scrubbing too hard.
- Local application of raw honey. Paste of turmeric and raw honey is also considered beneficial in relieving permanent Goosebumps.
- Cotton clothing with loose clothing is considered beneficial in treating Keratosis Pilaris