Chicken skin under an eye

What Causes Chicken Skin Under Eyes? Here’s How To Get Rid Of It

Chicken skin is a common issue that results in small white bumps forming on the face. Here's how you can treat it at home.
Updated: February 10, 2023
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Throughout our lives, our skin will be subject to changes, irritation, and various conditions. These can be brought on by various causes, either through allergies, medical issues, hormonal fluctuations, or just plain old genetics.

Chicken skin is something millions of people will experience at some point, but what is it, how does it occur, and most crucially, how do we get rid of it?

What causes chicken skin?

Perhaps a bit of a humourous name, chicken skin refers to the formation of small white bumps under the eye area. While being unsightly and a bit odd, they are rarely a cause of medical concern, though we do have to say if your symptoms worsen or you begin to experience pain or discomfort, you should speak to a qualified dermatologist for a professional opinion.

Chicken skin is not to be confused with strawberry skin.  While both conditions involve small bumps appearing on the skin, they are completely different issues and caused by different factors.

Chicken skin can appear for several reasons, here are some of the most common.

Blocked pores

Pretty simple, your pores may be blocked. Pores can be blocked by many things, either dead skin cells that have built up over time, residue from facial products, or just a general accumulation of dirt and environmental gunk. This is nothing to worry about and can be sorted easily by keeping the skin clean and exfoliating regularly.

Allergic reaction

If you have allergies, chicken skin bumps can be a reaction to them. Thankfully, over time they will likely go away on their own, but you should always take note of any allergies you suffer from and make sure you maintain your skin accordingly.

Keratin build-up

Keratin is a natural protein that the body uses to grow hair. Sometimes, the produced keratin can get trapped and build up on the surface of the skin, leading to it blocking pores and causing breakouts. Chicken skin is also a possible side effect of this process. It’s not totally obvious why keratin can build up so much, but again, this will usually clear up on its own.

Other symptoms that can come with chicken skin

While chicken skin is normal and common, there are several other symptoms that can, but do not always, come with it. If you’re seeing any of these, don’t worry, they are also normal.

Further symptoms can include brown, red, or white heads on the lumps. Itchiness. Dry skin. Redness or pinkness around the lumps. General discoloration.

Again, there is rarely a medical reason behind these issues, but if you do notice any severe pain or oozing puss emerging from the bumps, speak to your doctor.

How to treat chicken skin at home

Treating chicken skin is often a preventative process. The cleaner you can keep your skin, the lower the chance of developing chicken skin. This is why it’s super important to pay special attention to the pores and keep them free of dirt.

We’d recommend using a good exfoliator on a regular basis to scrape away potential hazards like dead cells and other dirt from the surface of the skin, restricting their ability to clog pores and cause breakouts. Then, freshening the skin with a well-regarded facial moisturizer or rich eye cream can help restore a natural and healthy balance to the skin. Consistency is key when it comes to skincare, so be sure to include these actions in a regular routine to get the best long-term results.

In conclusion

Chicken skin looks weird and has an even weirder and slightly uncomfortable name, but it’s really nothing to worry about. The key to avoiding it is by keeping your skin as healthy and clean as possible on a daily basis. If you already have a bout of chicken skin under your eye, be sure to exfoliate and moisturize, and most of all allow a suitable amount of time to pass for the body to heal itself. In 99% of cases, chicken skin will go away on its own, so chill out!

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This article has been reviewed by the in-field experts on our Medical Content Advisory Board to ensure everything is up-to-date and accurate.