Ever experienced goosebumps? Just imagine coming out of the swimming pool and then the wind blowing. You are watching a movie that is very good and then comes a scene that surprises you and you feel that tingling sensation. The hair present on your skin starts to rise up and this is such a weird as well as exciting sensation.
This is just a common physiological phenomenon that people experience and is very normal. But have you ever wondered why we have goosebumps and what causes it? Today you are going to find everything and what you can do to stop it from occurring again and again.
Where does it get the name Goosebumps?
Well, the thing is when your skin raises up it appears like bumps. These bumps appear to be like a goose and that is where it got the name “Goosebumps”
What are Goosebumps?
Goosebumps are basically the result of involuntary action caused by our body and are known as piloerection. It is mainly triggered by arrector pili muscles and this causes our hair to stand up creating small bumps on our skin.
How do Humans get Goosebumps?
We have different layers present in our skin but the layer where this magic happens is the dermal tissue. As we said Goosebumps are hair standing up then we are going to associate them with the hair follicles. These follicles are just little bags that carry your hair to grow out.
There is a structure there which is actually a muscle and is known as the Arrector Pili muscles. So, Arrector means “lifting highly” referring to the hair, and this muscle is attached to the portion of our dermis and then down to the hair follicle.
Now when this muscle contracts the hair will naturally contract and pull by itself. When it pulls the base of follicles it goes straight up and makes the hair stand up. This then forms a little protrusion because we are pushing up into that dermal tissue and we are getting that swoop creating the ‘Goosebump”
One of the important things to note is that this Arrector Pili Muscle is the Smooth muscle. These muscles are involuntary meaning they are not in our control. So, that is why most of the time goosebumps appear themselves while feeling cold or while listening to the song. These emotions are controlled by the structure present in the center known as Hypothalamus.
What are the causes of Goosebumps?
There are a number of factors that can lead to the appearance of Goosebumps and these includes:-
Goosebumps are really helpful in regulating the temperature of our body. If you take the example of mammals then you will see that they too have thick hair which helps them to stay warm.
So, we notice goosebumps when we are feeling cold and also may appear when think of being cold. For example:- we are watching a movie scene where there is a lot of snow and we start to feel cold. Even while having a fever we suffer from chills and this gives us goosebumps.
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There are drugs that are capable of giving us goosebumps as there was an experiment done in the year 2016. In this study, a test was done on two sisters and they were given milnacipran hydrochloride giving them goosebumps.
Even taking drugs that are capable of stimulating certain chemicals which can normally cause goosebumps could also be a triggering factor. Like if a person is having a rush of adrenaline after taking methamphetamine might suffer from goosebumps.
Just like that if you are taking opioids it has the tendency to trigger your goosebumps.
Have you ever noticed that we suffer from Goosebumps? when you have a strong emotional reaction like watching an emotional scene in a movie. Some emotions are so intense that it makes our body release some kind of chemicals and trigger goosebumps.
Adrenaline which is a chemical present in our body helps in releasing a fight-to-fight response triggering the goosebump. This is the reason why some people see goosebumps while feeling anxious or angry.
Just like that when we are feeling happy listening to music which is gentle and gives us pleasure. Our brain starts to release a chemical called dopamine and this plays a major role in motivating us.
As we earlier we have discussed that goosebumps are involuntary in normal situations. It is the arrector pili muscle counted in smooth muscle resulting in goosebumps.
We normally cannot control smooth muscles like skeletal muscles but there is evidence that tells that some people can control it. There was an analysis done in the year 2018 and few people were tested who can control it.
Keratosis Pilaris is a skin condition that makes the skin look like chicken skin and gives the resemblance to goosebumps. It occurs when the hair follicles present on our skin are clogged by dead skin cells. They make the skin itchy and dry as well.
While it is important to remember that Goosebumps is not the reason causing keratosis pilaris.
What symptoms you can see while having Goosebumps?
The main symptom that can be seen in Goosebumps is simply the bumpy skin. It is mainly noticeable on the arms but can also appear on the legs or trunk. While you can also see the other signs including:-
- Hairs standing up
- Suffering from chills
- Hair looks more prominent on the skin
- Feeling emotional
Some people might suffer from the other signs depending on the cause of the goosebump.
What is the Treatment?
Goosebump is not a medical condition it's just physiological action done by our body and does not require any treatment. But if any person suffers from the frequent appearance of goosebumps and that makes them feel conscious then they can do this.
You can try applying moisturizer or wear warm clothes before going outside in the cold.
Try to remain calm during a stressful situation, especially for people who are emotional.
Avoid taking any kind of illegal drugThere are also treatments available to manage keratosis pilaris but there are few things you can do to control the symptoms including Use exfoliators that are filled with salicylic acid or lactic acid to remove the dead skin.
Laser treatment if other things are not working.
Goosebumps are involuntary actions which is a kind of stimulation but it is very rare that people are able to control them. They can be triggered due to many factors as mentioned like being in cold temperatures, stressful situations, or taking some kind of drug. They will calm down on their own but to avoid it you can follow certain things or precautions. If you are having some kind of problem and the Goosebumps are not going then you must visit Doctor.
Q. Which hormone is responsible for causing Goosebumps?
Ans. Adrenaline which is the stress hormone released by our subconscious mind is responsible for causing Goosebumps.
Q. Is Keratosis Pilaris and Goosebumps the same?
Ans. No, they are not the same but they appear to be, Keratosis Pilaris is a medical condition.