Strawberry Legs: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention

Published November 10th, 2021 by Chris Riley
Fact Checked by
Erik Rivera

What are Strawberry Legs? | Causes | Symptoms | Treatment | Prevention

Strawberry legs are a common strawberry-looking, dark or pinkish discoloration on the skin that can develop in different areas of the body but is commonly found on the legs. It is a harmless condition that can be caused by many different factors and strawberry legs treatments vary according to the cause. Continue reading to find out what strawberry legs are, what causes the distinct appearance, symptoms, treatment options, and prevention methods for this condition.

What are strawberry legs?

Strawberry legs are a condition that causes red or dark pores which appear as spots on the skin. They are bright red but sometimes dark spots that usually appear on the legs of adults. The dots can occur after shaving which is why they are so common on women's legs. They are called strawberry legs because they make your skin look like the skin of a strawberry.

What causes strawberry legs?

Strawberry legs are caused by dirt, oil, and bacteria getting stuck in the pores of your legs. When this happens in the skin, it appears as spots on the surface, called comedones, that resemble strawberry seeds. Most strawberry leg cases are harmless and resolve on their own, but sometimes they can lead to other issues which may need to be treated by a doctor.

There is no one cause for strawberry legs, though there are several things that can cause them. Below are some of the most common reasons people get strawberry legs.

Shaving and waxing

Shaving or waxing can cause strawberry legs because it irritates the skin and can cause razor burn. They can also lead to ingrown hairs which can look like strawberry legs, too. It is always best to use a sharp razor and oil-based shaving cream especially if you have sensitive skin to avoid further irritation.

Clogged pores

Clogged pores can also cause strawberry legs because they trap dirt, oil, and bacteria inside your hair follicles which then form dark marks called comedones. When you shave or wax, these substances are exposed to oxygen and then turn black, just like blackhead pimples. It is best to cleanse the skin regularly to avoid this scenario.

Folliculitis

Folliculitis is when you have an inflamed or irritated hair follicle and strawberry legs are one of its most prominent symptoms. It can happen when you shave, wax, or tweeze the hair in the affected area and will appear as reddish bumps. It is best to let these inflamed hair follicles clear up before you shave or wax again.

Keratosis pilaris (KP)

Keratosis pilaris, or KP for short, is a common skin condition that can cause the appearance of strawberry legs because it makes the skin dry and thick and can look like chicken skin. It is best to moisturize the skin twice a day, once in the morning and once at night, and especially during drier months as KP can be seasonal.

strawberry legs

Dry skin

Dry skin can also cause strawberry legs because it causes your skin to be even more sensitive while shaving and waxing. It is best to moisturize the skin daily.

Strawberry legs are typically harmless and will eventually resolve on their own but it is best to take proper care of your strawberry legs as soon as possible to avoid further irritation. Since it is an umbrella term, there is no one cause for strawberry legs though so you may need to use a combination of treatments to get strawberry legs to go away.

What are the symptoms of strawberry legs?

The most common symptoms of strawberry legs are red or black spots on the legs that look like strawberry seeds. If you have other symptoms, such as pain, itchiness, tingling, or numbness in your legs with strawberry legs, this could indicate an underlying medical condition and you should consult your dermatologist or doctor.

How do you treat strawberry legs?

There are many different methods for treating strawberry legs and the way you treat it will also depend on the underlying cause. The most common home treatments are using a moisturizing cream, lotion, or ointment for moisturizing daily. There are many over-the-counter moisturizers that will help your skin become healthy. Exfoliating is also a great way to prevent strawberry legs. When you remove the top layer of your skin it will help eliminate that sandpaper-like feeling and help your legs become smoother while also preventing those dead skin cells from becoming trapped in your pores. Shaving with a sharp razor in the proper way also helps strawberry legs. You should shave in the same direction as your hair growth and you should use a moisturizing shaving cream that is oil-based or non-foaming as these will help your razor glide without causing too much friction on the skin and help avoid razor bumps. Glycolic acid and salicylic acid are also two ingredients that you can find in over-the-counter products that can help treat strawberry legs. They work as an exfoliant and help to clear up any clogged pores.

Doctors can also recommend procedures to treat strawberry legs. One of the newer treatments is microdermabrasion, which will help exfoliate your skin and help you keep your pores clean. The most common solution though is removing the hair permanently and this is achieved through two different methods. Electrolysis is a treatment option that is performed by using an electric current to remove the leg hair. The other common way to permanently remove hair involves laser therapy, also called laser hair removal, which zaps each individual hair one at a time. The downside to laser therapy is that you will have to come in for multiple treatments. If strawberry legs are caused by a medical condition, then that will need to be treated first before you can treat strawberry legs.

How do you prevent strawberry legs?

The best way to treat strawberry legs is through prevention. The most effective method for preventing strawberry legs is moisturizing daily and exfoliating on a regular basis especially after shaving. Also, be cognizant to maintain a sharp razor and not use a dull razor to prevent strawberry legs from appearing. If strawberry legs are caused by an underlying medical condition, then you can prevent strawberry legs by treating the cause of your condition. You can also prevent strawberry legs by keeping your skin clean and dry at all times.

Summary

Strawberry legs are characterized by strawberry-like dots that appear on your skin and can be caused by dryness, among other factors. The small red or black dots that appear on your skin and look like the skin of a strawberry are typically harmless but it is best to take proper care of your strawberry legs as soon as possible should you find them embarrassing. There are many different methods for treating strawberry legs, such as moisturizing daily through the use of lotions or ointments. Doctors may also recommend procedures to treat strawberry legs like electrolysis or laser treatment. The best way to treat strawberry legs is through prevention, as it involves moisturizing daily and exfoliating on a regular basis. Should you have any questions or should you experience discomfort, pain, or itching with your strawberry legs, it is best to consult your doctor or medical provider.

References and Sources: 

AAD

Mayo Clinic 

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