Strawberry legs are punctures or pits in the skin of the legs that can occur for a variety of reasons. The small black bumps that resemble strawberry seeds represent pores in the skin and hair follicles clogged with dirt, bacteria, or oil. Fortunately, they are generally harmless and you can get rid of strawberry legs by slightly adjusting your shower and shaving regimen.
Strawberry leg symptoms
The main symptom of strawberry legs are small black or red dots on the legs. The bumps are sometimes raised as well. Strawberry legs are generally not sore or itchy. If you experience uncomfortable skin irritation, it could be due to another skin condition. If this is the case, schedule a visit to a dermatologist to determine the cause of your symptoms.
What Causes Strawberry Legs?
Strawberry legs are not a specific disease, but a symptom. They can be due to various skin problems. Clogged skin pores or hair follicles increase the risk of developing strawberry legs. When clogged pores or hair follicles, also known as comedones , close, they are called blackheads and give the appearance of strawberry skin. When you open comedones, like shaving your legs, your pores or follicles are exposed to the air. Once the air mixes with the oil inside, it oxidizes and turns black.
When shaving, comedones can break open and expose dirt, oil, and dead skin cells to the air. Shaving with an old or dull razor can sometimes cause strawberry legs. This often results in a razor burn that can resemble strawberry legs. Dry shaving or a blunt razor can also cause folliculitis, an infection of the hair follicles.
Folliculitis occurs when the hair follicles in the skin become infected. They usually look like little red bumps, but they can get darker and look like strawberry legs. Folliculitis is caused by damage to the hair follicle that allows dirt and bacteria to enter. This damage can be caused by shaving, waxing, wearing tight clothing, or rubbing the skin.
It is not uncommon to see folliculitis after spending time in the hot tub and after exercising, especially in closed areas, such as where your skin is covered with a bathing suit. Our skin is more susceptible to damage when wet, so when your bathing suit rubs against your skin with water, folliculitis can occur on any area of the skin covered by the suit.
When the pores of the skin on the feet are clogged, the skin naturally produces more oil. When you shave and open your pores, the oil is exposed to the air and turns black. As a result, small black dots remain on the legs. Those with thicker hair or larger pores are at higher risk of developing strawberry legs due to clogged pores.
Excessively dry skin
Too dry skin alone may not cause strawberry legs, but it does put you at greater risk. Dry skin tends to be more sensitive and is more likely to be burned or irritated by the razor. This could lead to folliculitis and dark pores. Also, comedones appear more easily on dry skin.
Capillary keratosis is a benign skin disorder in which the skin is covered with small red bumps. Capillary keratosis, sometimes called "chicken skin," usually appears on the shoulders and thighs. The tiny red bumps resemble goose bumps and are caused by plugs of dead skin cells. When the thighs are covered with these little red bumps, they can resemble strawberry peels.
Capillary keratosis is a genetic disorder that generally does not require treatment. If the bumps itch or become irritated, a dermatologist can help.
Generally, you don't need to see a doctor to experience strawberry legs. This symptom is relatively common and can generally be treated with home remedies. If you are concerned about the way your skin looks and feel like something more serious is going on, make an appointment with a dermatologist. Your healthcare provider will be able to examine your skin, take a detailed history, and possibly obtain a skin sample to provide a diagnosis and treatment plan.
To get rid of strawberry legs, it helps to focus on the root cause.
Change your razor frequently
Shaving with an old or dull razor can easily lead to strawberry legs due to blade burn or folliculitis. If you've had strawberry legs, a great first step in fixing this problem is to change your razor more often, as it's a simple thing that can make a big difference. Using new razors can also help prevent the recurrence of strawberry legs in the future.
Use a moisturizer to shave
It is best to shave after hair and skin are soft in the shower. Using a moisturizing shaving cream can help prevent skin irritation. Start by washing your skin with a mild soap or shower gel. After removing dirt and bacteria, apply a layer of shaving cream; look for labels for sensitive skin. Avoid foods with colors or flavors.
Exfoliate your skin regularly
Exfoliate your skin regularly to remove dead cells that can clog pores and hair follicles. Use a mild scrub, such as a loofah or loofah, and then dampen your skin.
Hydrate your skin constantly
Moisturize your skin regularly to prevent dry and irritated skin. After showering, apply a mild moisturizer, especially if you have just shaved. This will help retain moisture. Avoid self-tanning moisturizing lotions; they tend to make the appearance of the holes more pronounced.
Try an epilator
If you experience skin irritation from shaving or waxing, an epilator may help. Since shaving and waxing can lead to folliculitis, an epilator is a good option for people prone to strawberry legs. It is an electric device with mini tweezers that rotates and pulls the hair from the roots. While it sounds painful, it is generally well tolerated and should be done every two to three weeks.
Shave with the grain
A coarse shave is a shave in the direction of hair growth. Make short, light movements on your legs. Shaving with pimples is less irritating to the skin and can prevent common causes of strawberry legs, such as irritation caused by shaving and folliculitis. Shaving less often can also help.
Use a chemical scrub
Chemical scrubs remove dead skin cells without losing your legs. Even a gentle physical exfoliation can damage the skin, so chemicals can be beneficial without any inconvenience. Exfoliants like glycolic acid and salicylic acid dissolve dead skin cells on the skin's surface and remove them when rinsed with water. These products can make your skin more sensitive to the sun, so be sure to wear sunscreen if you go outside after a chemical peel.
Consider laser therapy
Laser therapy is a long-term professional hair removal method that is becoming increasingly popular. It uses lasers to deliver small amounts of radiation to the hair follicles. Laser therapy may be suitable for people with fair skin and dark hair, as the laser targets dark colors.
Strawberry legs are small black dots that appear on your feet. For many people with strawberry legs, it's easy to deal with home treatments and change shaving or skincare regimes. People with darker or thicker hair, larger pores, or darker skin pigmentation may require more aggressive treatments. Professional treatment is often the most effective and time-saving. Do not hesitate to consult a dermatologist if this concerns you.