Strawberry Legs Treatment And Prevention Options
The non-specific term ‘strawberry legs’ refers to a variety of conditions which cause darkened bumps on the legs. These tiny bumps correspond to pores and may also be raised, making them appear similar to the seeds of a strawberry.
This harmless condition is typically treatable at home, but severe or stubborn cases may require a visit to your dermatologist. Learn more about the causes, prevention, and treatment options for strawberry legs.
What Causes Strawberry Legs?
The term strawberry legs can refer to any combination of discoloration, tiny raised bumps, or pitted depressions in the legs. The condition is cosmetic and otherwise harmless. If your bumps are accompanied by itching or pain, you may have an underlying allergy or skin condition. Typically, strawberry legs are caused by the following…
Strawberry legs are most commonly blackheads that result from open hair follicles getting clogged by oil, dead skin cells, dirt and bacteria. Shaving opens our pores which invites in debris. When pores are exposed to the air, oxidation then turns this debris black.
A Poor Shave
Strawberry legs may also result from a poor shave which leaves dark hair follicles visible just below the surface of light skin. This condition is most likely to occur in those with light skin and dark, thick hair.
Dry skin puts you at high risk for strawberry legs by making shaving more aggravating. When skin is dry, pores are more likely to open and become clogged. Dry shaving also causes razor burn and irritation which leads to tiny bumps appearing.
Folliculitis is a condition in which pores become infected by bacteria or fungus, causing the appearance of strawberry legs. Causes of folliculitis may include shaving, wearing tight clothing, or spending too much time in wet or sweaty apparel.
Keratosis Pilaris, also known as chicken skin, is a condition which causes tiny red bumps to appear on the skin’s surface. This condition normally affects the arms, but can sometimes be seen on the thighs, appearing similar to strawberry legs.
Strawberry legs can occur in both men and women, although it’s more likely to happen to those who shave their legs. Those with thick body hair or darker skin pigmentation may be more susceptible to strawberry legs, and could find it harder to treat.
Can Strawberry Legs Be Prevented?
For most people, strawberry legs are prevented or managed with easy changes to their at-home skincare or shaving routine.
- Exfoliate your legs a few days before shaving
- Before shaving, soak your legs in warm water to open your pores
- Use a sharp, relatively new razor each time you shave
- Never shave without a moisturizing shaving cream
- Shave in the same direction as hair growth
- After shaving, pat dry, don’t rub
- After shaving, apply moisturizer or oil
Following the above tips minimizes razor burn, ensures a close shave, and keeps pores clean and healthy.
Treatment Options for Strawberry Legs
If you regularly experience issues related to strawberry legs, there are several simple changes to your shaving and skin care regimen that can help minimize their appearance. If these changes do not remedy the issue, or for individuals with more severe (highly visible) forms of strawberry legs, laser hair removal may be a great option.
Regularly Cleanse and Exfoliate
For minor instances of strawberry legs, cleansing regularly and exfoliating a few days before shaving works wonders. Use a physical exfoliant, such as a dry brush, wash cloth or body scrub. Chemical exfoliation such as body wash with salicylic acid also works well.
Moisturizing helps reduce the pitted appearance of strawberry legs. In addition to your daily moisturizer, never shave without a moisturizing shave cream, and thoroughly moisturize or oil legs after shaving.
Using a new razor prevents razor burn and offers a closer shave, minimizing the appearance of strawberry legs. Using a new razor also helps avoid going over the same area too often. Also, contrary to what you may have been taught, it’s best to shave in the same direction as hair growth.
Chemical peels remove dead skin cells and other surface level debris for cleaner pores. Chemical peels also reduce the appearance of pores and can keep them from getting clogged in the future. When choosing an at-home chemical peel, look for those containing hydroxy acids such as glycolic acid or salicylic acid.
Laser Hair Removal
For severe cases of strawberry legs, laser hair removal is often the best, and only permanent, solution. While shaving removes hairs at the surface, laser treatment removes hair at the root. Laser hair removal requires several treatments, but hair grows back thinner and more sparsely each time. This treatment option works best for those with light skin, and dark, thick hair. However, newer lasers are safe and effective for darker skin.
If your strawberry legs are the result of folliculitis or another infection of the pores, see your dermatologist for treatment options. It may be that antibiotics or antifungal treatments are your best course of action.