How to Treat and Prevent Strawberry Legs, According to a Dermatologist

May 31, 2022
Genesis Rivas
By: Genesis Rivas | by L'Oréal
people touching their legs

After shaving your legs, have you ever glanced down and noticed tiny black specks that seem to have appeared out of nowhere? Your legs may feel silky smooth, but it kind of looks like you missed a spot (or several) when you look at them. If this is sounding all too relatable, you might have a case of strawberry legs.

This skin issue, which is reminiscent of the small black seeds that cover a strawberry, is also known as keratosis pilaris, says Dr. Elizabeth Houshmand, a Texas-based board-certified dermatologist. Ahead, she reveals how to address and prevent strawberry legs.

What Causes Strawberry Legs?

Strawberry skin often appears in places you shave. “The black seed-like dots on your skin are actually open pores harboring oil, dirt or bacteria after shaving,” says Dr. Houshmand. The skin creates a build-up of a protein called keratin (the building block for hair, skin and nails), which creates a plug that blocks the hair follicle, leading to small bumps.

“The plug can also trigger inflammation in the skin, which is what causes redness around each hair follicle,” she says.

How to Treat and Prevent Strawberry Legs

“The most common mistake I see is patients trying to scrub the bumps off with a physical exfoliator,” says Dr. Houshmand. She notes that this will actually cause more redness and irritation, potentially making the condition more noticeable. Instead, try chemical exfoliation, which will help speed up the shedding of dead skin cells and make the skin less prone to clogged pores.

“My favorite products contain AHAs and salicylic acid, a beta-hydroxy-acid that exfoliates dead skin cells,” says Dr. Houshmand. “It travels down into follicles to deep clean pores.”

Try using the CeraVe SA Body Wash for Rough & Bumpy Skin, which contains salicylic acid, or the Peach & Lily KP Bump Boss Microderm Body Scrub, which is specially formulated to address keratosis pilaris thanks to a combination of AHAs, PHAs and micro-crystals.

If you prefer to use an exfoliating lotion, we love the CeraVe SA Cream for Rough and Bumpy Skin with salicylic acid or the Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Pink Dream Body Cream with AHA.

“Continuous use of exfoliating creams and lotions will certainly help smooth skin and minimize redness and can cure strawberry legs over time,” says. Dr. Houshmand.

Product Images of Cerave SA Cream and Glow Recipe Pink Dream Body Cream
Photographer: Chaunte Vaughn

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