What Are Strawberry Legs? A Dermatologist Explains
After shaving your legs, have you ever glanced down and noticed tiny black specks that seem to appear out of nowhere? Your legs may feel silky smooth but it almost looks like you missed a spot (or several) when you look at them. If this is sounding all too relatable then you might have a case of strawberry legs. Don’t worry, though. The name comes from the small black seeds that cover a strawberry, but it is more of an annoyance than something to be concerned about. Regardless, if you’re wondering first and foremost, what the heck those spots on your soft, shaven legs are, and second, if you can get rid of them — we’ve got you covered. We consulted with board-certified dermatologist, Deanne Mraz Robinson, M.D., to give us the lowdown on strawberry legs, including what they are, what causes them and, yes, what products to use to minimize their appearance.
What Are Strawberry Legs?
To put it plainly, the dark spots on your legs are just your pores. More specifically, “strawberry legs refer to visible dark spots at the site of each pore or hair follicle, resembling spots on a strawberry,” says Dr. Mraz Robinson. “Often seen on the legs, ‘strawberry skin’ tends to flare up after shaving, and while not harmful, can cause cosmetic insecurity.”
What Causes Strawberry Legs?
Unfortunately, there is no clear answer on the cause of strawberry legs. Because the term is used to generally describe how the legs appear, there can be multiple reasons you experience your strawberry specks, a.k.a, your pores. “The term actually encompasses a variety of common skin issues, including enlarged, open pores, keratosis pilaris, folliculitis (which is just inflamed hair follicles) and razor burn,” explains Dr. Mraz Robinson.
Can You Get Rid of Strawberry Legs?
According to Dr. Robinson, there are a couple different ways to minimize the appearance of strawberry legs. One is exfoliation and keeping legs moisturized with an oil-free moisturizer. But there’s a catch — you have to ditch the loofah when exfoliating. “Please toss your loofah!” pleads Dr. Mraz Robinson. “The layers of netting that make up a loofah are notorious for trapping dead skin cells and bacteria, which can counteract your efforts by putting bacteria back on your skin to further irritate pores.”
She recommends her patients try a chemical exfoliant that contains alpha-hydroxy acids, like the CLn Body Wash. We also like the CeraVe SA Body Wash for Rough and Bumpy Skin which is formulated with salicylic and lactic acid, which gently exfoliate the skin. These acids are commonly used in different skin-care products to help chemically exfoliate and slough away dead skin cells, oil and other buildup from skin’s surface.
You can also try different forms of hair removal. When asked if shaving increases the chances of getting strawberry legs, Dr. Mraz Robinson says yes without hesitation. So next time, try booking a wax service to remove your unwanted hair because waxing helps to remove hair directly from the follicle and avoid any clogged pores, folliculitis and razor burn. “Laser hair removal is the gold standard” for patients with stubborn cases, she adds. If you do decide to shave, be sure to shave in the direction of the hair follicle and be sure to change out you razor blade frequently. We all know there is nothing worse than a dull razor blade. Whatever hair-removal method you end up choosing, just don’t forget to follow up with an oil-free moisturizer. We love the CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion for its lightweight yet super hydrating formula that doesn’t leave behind a greasy feel.