- Strawberry legs cause a bumpy, pitted appearance that resembles the skin of a strawberry.
- It’s usually caused by ingrown hairs, folliculitis, keratosis pilaris, and clogged pores.
- You can get rid of strawberry legs by moisturizing, exfoliating, and changing your shaving habits.
- Visit Insider’s Health Reference library for more advice.
“Strawberry legs” refers to the general phenomenon when legs appear to have dark spots or divots on the surface that resemble a strawberry.
While the causes of strawberry legs aren’t dangerous, you still may experience discomfort or be concerned about their appearance. But luckily, most causes of strawberry legs can be treated by properly caring for the skin on your legs.
Here are five of the most common causes of strawberry legs and how to prevent them.
1. Keratosis pilaris
This is a common condition that causes excessive amounts of keratin — a type of protein in your skin — to build up in your hair follicles, says Hadley King, MD, board-certified dermatologist in private practice.
It isn’t clear what causes keratosis pilaris, but the harmless condition may cause additional symptoms like:
- Dry skin
- Rough skin
2. Clogged pores
Just like your face can get open comedones — also known as blackheads — so can your legs. Blackheads look like black, seed-like bumps that may appear anywhere on your body.
Blackheads can be caused by anything from changes in hormones, increased oil production, and bacteria that get into your skin.
3. Razor burn and ingrown hairs
If you shave your legs without using shaving cream or gel, you might experience red bumps or rashes as a result of razor burn, says King.
Furthermore, you can get ingrown hairs from waxing or shaving because removing hair causes the end of the follicle to become sharp. This makes it more likely to reenter the skin if the hair curls back in on itself.
Ingrown hairs can result in bumps, itching, and potentially pain. You might even be able to see a dark spot where the hair is embedded and trapped under the skin.
This results in redness, bumps, or pimples around the hair follicle, says Garshick. It ranges in severity – you can have anything from small bumps to larger blisters filled with pus.
5. Having dark hair
Even without any of the above conditions, you might still experience the look of strawberry legs.
“Simply having dark or coarse hair can predispose you to strawberry legs, as when the hair is shaved, it can still leave behind a dark dot that appears visible since the hair is a darker color,” says Garshick.
How to care for your skin to prevent strawberry legs
If you don’t like the look of your strawberry legs or if you’re experiencing discomfort, there are a few simple fixes you can try.
1. Change your shaving habits
You should shave with sharp clean razors, and change your blades every five to seven shaves, says King. When shaving, you should also:
- Shave with the direction of hair growth rather than against it
- Use lubricating shave gel, cream, or oil
- Moisturize after shaving
These steps can all help reduce irritation and help prevent a bacterial infection or ingrown hairs, King says.
Exfoliating the skin on your legs can help rid dead skin cells and improve the overall texture of your skin. Garshick says you can look for products that contain any of the following exfoliants that will help unclog your pores:
- Lactic acid
- Glycolic acid
- Salicylic acid
Exfoliating with rough scrubs is also an option. However, Garshick says you should be gentle with them to minimize the potential for irritation. You can also look for exfoliating products meant for sensitive skin. For example, both King and Garshick recommend the Dove Gentle Exfoliating Body Wash with Sea Minerals.
For all causes of strawberry legs, keeping your skin hydrated can help –– especially if you’re experiencing keratosis pilaris, Garshick says. Look for oil-free creams and lotions that hydrate and lock in moisture.
You should moisturize your legs two to three times per day including after bathing or showering.
4. Consider laser hair removal
If the cause of your strawberry legs is ingrown hairs or dark, coarse hair, laser hair removal can be a more permanent solution since it eliminates the hair follicle at the root, says Garshick. You can get this done at a dermatologist or medical spa with licensed practitioners.
By determining the cause of your strawberry legs and making changes to your skincare routine, you can experience relief from irritation and a more even complexion.
If you try these at-home methods and you aren’t seeing improvements, schedule a visit with your dermatologist to see if something else could be causing your symptoms.