Strawberry legs are not usually a cause for concern, but if you find yourself with legs that look like they're covered in red bumps and rashes, you might be tempted to panic. Don't worry--the appearance of strawberry legs is often preventable and manageable with everyday self-care measures. Read this article to know more about what causes strawberry legs, and how to treat and prevent them.
Causes of strawberry legs
Strawberry legs may result from a variety of conditions, some of which are:
Strawberry legs are sometimes caused by shaving improperly with old, dull razors or without shaving cream. Razor burn can also cause ingrown hairs and strawberry legs, as well as folliculitis.
In some people, ingrown hairs with thick body hair can cause strawberry legs. This occurs most often in those with thick body hair.
- Clogged pores
Your legs are covered with thousands of tiny holes, and like all other holes, they can get clogged with dirt, dead skin, and debris. These clogged pores are called open comedones. When the oil inside them oxidizes and turns black, you end up with blackheads on your legs.
Folliculitis is the inflammation of a hair follicle, which can be caused by shaving or waxing. But it can also result from exposure to bacteria and yeast.
Getting into a hot tub without adjusting the pH and chemicals can lead to a nasty infection called folliculitis. The infection usually starts with small red bumps or blisters, which may later develop into scabs that won't heal easily.
Sometimes, folliculitis is caused by hairs that grow into the skin or ingrown hairs. This may also give your legs a strawberry appearance.
- Keratosis pilaris
Keratosis pilaris is a skin condition that makes your upper arms and thighs look like they have tiny goose bumps or pimples. They're clogged-up hair follicles filled with dead skin cells and keratin proteins. The bumps can be itchy, but moisturizers help.
Keratosis pilaris is a common skin condition that is seasonal. It's more common during the dry winter months than during the summer, perhaps because swimming pools and low humidity can dry out your skin.
- Overly dry skin
Dry skin can make your legs look like strawberries—the kind that grows in the garden and not on your body. But dryness is not the cause of darkening in the pores or the development of other skin conditions.
If you have dry skin and shave, you are more likely to develop irritation, which may lead to razor burn, folliculitis, and the signature "strawberry legs" appearance.
Dryness also makes keratosis pilaris, folliculitis, open comedones, and razor burn more obvious to the naked eye.
Symptoms of strawberry legs
A strawberry leg can look like several conditions, but it usually includes the following symptoms:
- Legs with dotted or pitted skin.
- Legs with darkened pores.
- After shaving, brown or black dots appear on the legs.
Strawberry legs are characterized by itching, scabbing, irritation, and inflammation. For a proper treatment of your skin, consult your skin doctor to rule out infection.
How are strawberry legs treated?
Strawberry legs can be treated either at home or by a trained professional, depending on the cause and severity.
Shaving properly and carefully with a moisturizing shave lotion or cream is the best home treatment for strawberry legs.
- Using an epilator
Epilators and hand-held electrical devices remove hair from the roots.
- Moisturizing your skin thoroughly and daily
Using moisturizer will improve the appearance of your skin, as well as ease or prevent the symptoms associated with strawberry legs.
- Exfoliating your skin regularly
You can reduce the unsightly appearance of strawberry legs by removing the dead skin cells from your legs. This will also help prevent ingrown hairs.
Getting rid of dead skin on your legs is like spring cleaning for your legs. New hair can grow faster and healthier when there isn't any dead skin blocking it.
- Use over-the-counter (OTC) medication
To treat your acne, try using an OTC product containing salicylic acid or glycolic acid. These treatments should also help reduce any acne conditions that may cause or worsen your symptoms.
If home remedies don’t work, strawberry legs may be treated by a trained professional in a clinical setting. Possible treatments include:
- Electrolysis. It is a treatment that uses low levels of electricity to pinpoint hair follicles that are irritated or otherwise problematic. This prevents ingrown hairs from recurring.
- Laser therapy. Laser hair removal doesn't work immediately, but it's precise, targeted, and can treat multiple follicles at once. And it won't damage your skin. Visit Uncover Clinic by Meddo to book your laser hair removal treatment with expert dermatologists today.
If your doctor detects folliculitis, they may prescribe oral and topical antibiotics. However, if the infection continues to recur, they may recommend an oral antifungal treatment or topical anti-inflammatory medication.
Outlook on strawberry legs
Some people consider strawberry legs an inconvenience. With a bit of prevention, you can eliminate them yourself with home remedies.
For those with thicker body hair and darker skin pigmentation, getting rid of strawberry legs might be more difficult. If this is the case for you, consider getting professional help from a skin doctor.
While an epilator might be uncomfortable or even painful, it may prevent you from having to deal with unsightly strawberry legs.
If you've been skipping out on shaving cream, it could cause your irritation. Before you shave, moisturize the area thoroughly.
Use a sharp disposable razor with flexibility, and you'll be on your way to smooth skin.
Strawberry legs are a bane of existence, but they are rarely a sign of a serious medical condition. If you see strawberry legs on your body, it might be time to see your healthcare provider.
If you have a stubborn case of strawberry legs, it may be a sign of an underlying infection. Most underlying infections can be easily treated with antibiotics or antifungal drugs.