November 03, 2022 4 min read

What are “strawberry legs”?

They are the name given to small dark spots on the skin, which resemble the seeds of a strawberry and that occur after depilation. But it's just for looks.

These are hair follicles or dilated pores, which contain a mixture of sebum, bacteria and dead skin. When there is itching, crusts, irritation or inflammation, we may be facing another underlying situation, which resembles strawberry legs. In these cases you should consult a doctor to rule out infection and adapt the treatment.

Anyone who suffers from the problem of strawberry skin on the legs may be a little embarrassed to wear shorts and short dresses. But do you know exactly how and why this problem arises? “This term 'strawberry legs' exemplifies dark spots or black dots on your legs that resemble the skin and seeds of a strawberry. The medical term is keratosis pilaris and these seed-like black dots are actually open pores containing oil, dirt or bacteria after shaving.

Though harmless, strawberry legs are unfortunately all too common and unsightly. The good news is that the problem is easy to prevent and also treatable. The skin creates a buildup of a protein called keratin – the same building block for hair, skin and nails – and the keratin creates a plug that blocks the hair follicle, leading to tiny bumps. The tampon can also trigger inflammation in the skin, which is what causes the redness around each hair follicle. Additionally, hair follicles can become irritated from sweat and friction, so wearing loose fitting clothing and keeping your skin cool and dry can help. In some cases, individual blemishes can become inflamed, so do not touch these blemishes as this can cause irritation and even permanent scarring.

What are the main factors that cause it?

The main causes arerazor hair removal, particularly with used or blunt blades, "clogged" pores or open comedones, folliculitis (an inflammatory or infectious process of the pilosebaceous follicle) and keratosis pilaris.

When the 'clogged' follicle or pore is exposed after shaving, and the air reaches the sebum inside, it oxidizes and darkens. On the other hand, the skin around the follicle may also darken in response to the irritation from shaving. In some people, ingrown hairs can contribute to the appearance of 'strawberry legs', especially in those who have thick hair. Also remembering thatexcessively dry skin can exacerbate symptoms and make the marks more evident.

Keratosis pilaris most often manifests itself on the back of the arms, but many people can also have small, hard bumps on their thighs, legs, and even their back. Folliculitis is another condition that can look similar and is triggered by inflamed and irritated hair follicles on the thighs and legs, she said. Both conditions are very common and not dangerous, but they can sometimes cause itching or pain. However, people are usually only bothered by the aesthetic appearance.

Is it possible to treat and prevent this skin problem?

It depends. In some patients the 'strawberry legs' are easily treated and prevented with home measures. However, in people with thick body hair, darker skin phototypes, or additional pilosebaceous follicle pathology, the problem may recur more frequently and be "more challenging to treat." In this case, it is essential to schedule a visit to a dermatologist.

How to properly care for the skin?

Combining strategies to prevent strawberry legs and implementing the right products into your skin care routine can help treat strawberry legs

1. Dry Brushing

First of all: brushing. Yes, you read that right! The first step to avoid “strawberry seeds” starts a day or two before waxing. Dry-brushing, or dry brushing, is the process of “brushing” the skin, in circular motions: exfoliating and detoxifying the body. This helps to unclog pores and say goodbye to impurities and dead cells.

2. Exfoliate

Maintaining an exfoliation routine, twice a week, is essential. Exfoliating helps to remove dead cells from the skin surface and thus reduce “strawberry legs” and prevent ingrown hairs. The key ingredients to take into account for a deeper and stronger action are glycolic and salicylic acids, as they “increase cell turnover, help prevent pores from clogging, improve any acne component that may be causing or worsening acne breakouts.” symptoms, and help with dry skin.” P.S.: Do not exfoliate in case of irritation, please!

3. Hydrate

After exfoliating, moisturize! Applying a moisturizer twice a day and always after shaving is mandatory. A tip for a 24/7 hydrated skin involves choosing hypoallergenic products, containing, for example, lactic acid or urea, which not only retain hydration but also maintain the skin barrier.

4. Laser or wax

The saying goes: prevention is better than cure. The truth is that if the problem is in the post-blade, the solution is to avoid or change the method. According to dermatologists, it is recommended “the use of electric hair removal machines which, although they can be uncomfortable and painful, are less traumatic for the skin and seem to reduce the risk of developing 'strawberry legs', and in cases where the situation is not controllable with home measures,laser hair removal is the best option, and only permanent solution.

5. Routine for the blade

If you skipped the last step, follow the tips to reduce the damage caused by shaving.

Always shave in the shower, because the warm water helps to dilate the pores, making it easier to remove the hair.

Use depilatory cream, gentle and moisturizing. Not doing so, in addition to causing “strawberry legs”, can also lead to folliculitis and ingrown hairs.

Epilate in the direction of hair growth and do not pass the same area too many times, so as not to irritate the skin.

Using new, sharp and flexible disposable blades is imperative!

If possible, invest in a quality blade that cuts the hair more closely without breaking or ingrown.

If you're looking at your strawberry-looking legs and wondering if they'll last forever, the answer is no, they're not permanent. Continued use of these creams and lotions will certainly help smooth the skin and minimize redness, and it can heal strawberry legs over time. However, they may reappear once treatment is stopped. That's because it's a genetic condition. The good news is that this aspect can usually diminish with age.

Evelyn Setubal
Evelyn Setubal

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