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What Causes Strawberry Legs And Can You Get Rid Of Them?

Smooth skin shouldn’t be reserved for just the face.
August 08, 2019

If you’ve taken the time to shave your legs only to notice dark dots left behind, you might be experiencing what’s known as “strawberry legs.” This common skin care concern is an annoyance for many of us. But with the proper skin care routine, you can trade in strawberry legs for smooth, even skin. Wondering how to get rid of strawberry skin, or whether it’s possible to get rid of it at all? Below, we’re diving into all the details you need to know, including what causes strawberry legs as well as skin care tips for making it less noticeable.


What Causes Strawberry Legs?

The term “strawberry skin” refers to the dotted appearance that can occur on your skin post-shaving. Strawberry legs, in particular, are a common concern. The reason for this slightly silly-sounding name is that those dots can make your legs look almost like the skin of a strawberry and its seeds. But what causes your skin to resemble a strawberry in the first place? There are a few common factors, which we’re digging into below.


1. Dark Hair And Pale Skin  

Typically, when people talk about strawberry legs, they aren’t talking about any special type of skin condition. What they’re seeing and referring to is actually just hair that’s visible beneath their skin. This is why you may notice that people who experience strawberry skin often have dark hair and a pale complexion.

2. Clogged Pores 

Think clogged pores can only occur on your face? Think again. Your skin has pores all over, including the skin on your legs. Just as excess oil and dead skin cells can clog up your razor blade, per the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), they can also clog the pores on your legs, resulting in more noticeable strawberry skin.


3. Folliculitis

According to the Mayo Clinic, folliculitis is a common skin condition in which hair follicles become inflamed. This skin condition has many forms, some worse than others, but can result in the appearance of strawberry skin. Superficial folliculitis caused by razor bumps or burns is the result of ingrown hairs.

3. Keratosis Pilaris 

The Mayo Clinic states that keratosis pilaris is a skin condition that creates the appearance of dry, rough patches and tiny bumps, usually on the upper arms, thighs, cheeks, or buttocks. Caused by the buildup of keratin, it forms a scaly plug that blocks the opening of the hair follicle, which can leave you with the appearance of strawberry skin.


How To Get Rid Of Strawberry Legs

Now that you’re aware of some of the most common factors that can result in strawberry skin, keep reading to learn how to help diminish its appearance.

1. Exfoliate

As you likely know by now, exfoliating is important in order to keep pores from getting clogged. The Mayo Clinic recommends gently exfoliating with a washcloth or loofah. Vigorous scrubbing or removal of hair follicle via harsh scrubs can irritate the skin and aggravate strawberry legs. If you prefer to use a body scrub, look for one with a formula that will be gentle on your skin, such as a sugar scrub. You can even try chemical exfoliation by opting for a body wash formulated with alpha hydroxy acids


2. Shave Correctly 

There is in fact a right and wrong way to shave. The AAD recommends shaving in the direction that your hair grows (with the grain) to help prevent razor bumps and burns. You’ll also want to wet and soften your skin and hair prior to shaving, as well as use a moisturizing shaving cream or gel.

3. Moisturize

Post-shaving (and in general) it’s important to keep your legs moisturized just as you would your face. Hydrating the skin not only keeps it healthy, but it helps to smooth its appearance, too. 

Editor’s tip: If you’re planning on using self-tanner, the previous tips hold especially true. Without exfoliating, properly shaving, and moisturizing, your self-tanner could clog your pores, resulting in even more pronounced strawberry legs. 


4. Change Your Hair Removal Method

If your strawberry skin is due to visible hair, you may benefit from switching from a hair removal method that simply cuts the hair (shaving) to one that pulls the hair out at the root or dissolves it, like waxing or using a hair removal cream.

Next: 6 Must-Have Skin Care Products For Sensitive Skin


Edited by: Alyssa Kaplan, Photo: iStock 

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