It’s not uncommon for your skin on your face to experience changes during your lifetime. Breakouts are common as a teenager. Dry skin can appear in middle age. Fine lines and wrinkles show up with every passing year.
Another change that can develop on your face is small, white bumps. Some people describe this look as “chicken skin,” or skin that looks like it’s been recently plucked.
Bumpy skin under your eyes is not typically a cause for concern. These bumps are most often the result of buildup in your pores.
But if the bumps worsen or become more irritating, consider calling your dermatologist. They can quickly help you understand what’s causing the bumpy skin, find a possible treatment, and even offer ideas for prevention.
Let’s explore the most common causes of “chicken skin” under your eyes as well as look into causes, treatment, and prevention.
“Chicken skin” under your eyes is rarely a cause for concern. Understanding the most likely cause can help you find treatment and prevent the small, irritating bumps in the future.
Here are several of the most common causes and what you can do to help reduce or treat them.
Some people may develop tiny white bumps if they apply a product to their face and have a reaction. These bumps may be filled with pus and cause inflamed skin.
Most allergic reactions will clear up on their own without treatment, but you’ll want to avoid the food or product that caused the reaction.
If the allergic reaction is causing irritation or discomfort, you can try an over-the-counter (OTC) antihistamine. This can help the symptoms and speed up recovery.
Milia are small, white bumps that appear on your skin. They frequently show up under your eye and on your cheeks.
Milia are caused by a buildup of keratin in your skin’s pores. Keratin is a hair protein that your body uses to produce hair. When keratin clogs facial pores, tiny bumps can form with the appearance of “chicken skin.”
Milia are more common in babies and children, but adults can develop the skin condition too. When adults have it, milia often appears on the face.
It’s unclear what causes keratin buildup, but milia frequently clear up on their own without treatment. Still, there are things you can do to make the bumps less irritating or prominent, such as using moisturizer.
Keratosis pilaris is caused by a building up of dead skin cells inside your hair follicles. The bumps will most often appear white, but it’s not uncommon for them to be red or brown.
The bumps can occur anywhere a hair follicle is present, including your face and under your eyes. But they most often occur on your:
Like milia, keratosis pilaris will typically disappear on its own. This skin condition is more common in children and young adults. By the time they reach 30 years old, most people will have outgrown the “chicken skin.”
You may not be able to prevent the buildup of keratin or dead skin cells in your pores, as it’s often unclear why these conditions happen.
But you can do a few things at home to help clear your pores and reduce irritation.
Dry skin can be itchy and irritated on its own, but it may make conditions like keratosis pilaris or milia worse.
Regularly moisturize your skin with lotions and ointments.
Brief, warm baths can help loosen pores.
Don’t stay in the bath too long. You’ll wash away your skin’s natural oils, which can worsen irritation and inflammation.
Dry air can zap your skin’s natural moisture.
A humidifier can help keep your skin hydrated. This may help you avoid the development of rough bumps under your eyes.
Some creams are designed to remove dead skin cells and help your pores turn over more frequently. This can eliminate blocked follicles, which can help eliminate the “chicken skin,” too.
Other symptoms that might occur when you have “chicken skin” under your eyes include:
- pinkness, redness, or discoloration around the bumps
- itchy, irritated skin
- dry skin
- white, red, or brown heads on the bumps
The exact symptoms will depend on what is causing the tiny bumps.
Treatments can help you minimize any irritation or itching that the tiny, raised bumps under your eyes are causing.
But if the condition worsens or you’re not getting relief, call a dermatologist for further diagnosis and treatment. In most cases, your doctor can diagnose the cause with a skin examination.
If the diagnosis is unclear, your doctor may take a skin sample, or biopsy, and send it to a lab for further examination. The lab test can help your doctor rule out conditions like infection or skin cancer.
If home remedies are not helping, your dermatologist or healthcare professional may recommend a few other treatments.
These treatments tend to be more intensive. Like home remedies, they may only help reduce the appearance of the rough bumps, as there is no cure for conditions like keratosis pilaris nor milia.
It may also take a few weeks or months to see if the treatment will work. If it doesn’t, your doctor may consider something else.
- Microdermabrasion. This intense exfoliating treatment can speed up cell turn over and slough off dead skin that may be clogging pores.
- Chemical peels. This cosmetic treatment also acts as an exfoliator. It helps speed up the production of new, fresh skin.
- Retinol creams. Retinol is a form of vitamin A. Using it on your skin can help speed up cell turnover, which can reduce the opportunity for keratin or dead skin cells to build up.
- Deroofing. This procedure uses a sterilized needle to remove milia.
- Cryotherapy. Milia can be frozen off your face with liquid nitrogen. But this procedure may be too risky for bumps that are very close to your eyes.
Keep in mind that your skin around your eyes is very sensitive. Some of these procedures may be too powerful for that delicate area. Your doctor will let you know what’s safe to do and what isn’t.
The same steps that can help eliminate raised, rough bumps can also help you prevent future conditions:
- Clean and exfoliate your skin regularly. Washing and exfoliating helps to keep cell turnover at a healthy pace to prevent buildup that can lead to the “chicken skin” appearance.
- Use a night cream with vitamin A (retinol) and vitamin E to help with cell turnover and hydration in the delicate skin around your eyes.
- Do not pick or poke at the bumps. This can make them worse or cause an infection.
The appearance of rough, raised bumps under your eyes is rarely cause for concern. For most people, the appearance will be the largest concern.
You can help reduce bumps by moisturizing your skin and washing it regularly. If home remedies don’t work, consider calling a dermatologist to help discover the underlying cause and find a possible treatment.
Once you’re satisfied with the appearance of your skin again, consider a maintenance plan to help prevent possible skin bumps in the future. Regular hydration and good skin care can help a great deal.