You know how strawberry seeds give the fruits a dotted appearance? With certain skin problems, your legs might start to resemble the speckled berries. “Strawberry leg is a descriptive term for pink to red appearance to the skin spotted with either dark or white dots,” says dermatologist Ava Shamban, MD, of Ava MD. The spots aren’t dangerous, but they can make some women self-conscious, especially during summer. Depending on the cause, the following steps can help you learn how to get rid of strawberry legs.
How to get rid of strawberry legs from folliculitis
Folliculitis is the medical term for infected, inflamed hair follicles that leave patches of pimple-like bumps on your skin. Like with acne, benzoyl peroxide can ease the bumps—try using benzoyl peroxide in the shower before you shave, suggests Dr. Shamban.
Some folliculitis comes directly from shaving—you might know it better as razor bumps, says Sweta Rai, MBBS, a dermatologist based in London. Being gentle during hair removal will prevent razor burn and get rid of strawberry legs, so avoid harsh techniques like epilators she suggests. You should also be careful with the products you use when shaving, adds Dr. Shamban. “Don’t get lazy and use soap before shaving; use a moisturizing shave cream,” she says. Don’t miss these other ways to get rid of razor bumps from shaving.
People with strawberry legs can also use a 1 percent hydrocortisone cream after shaving, says Dr. Shamban. Also, wash with a shower cream instead of drying soaps and gels, adds Dr. Rai. And be sure to change your razor regularly, because dull razors are more likely to nick your skin and cause irritation.
How to get rid of strawberry legs from ingrown hairs
Ingrown hairs are another shaving-related problem that can lead to strawberry legs. They create red dots or bumps and can look pimple-like if they get infected. Exfoliating your legs can help slough away dirt and oils that give rise to ingrown hairs; Dr. Shamban recommends a homemade scrub of ground almonds, yogurt, brown sugar, and oatmeal. You’ll also want to avoid these ways you’ve been shaving your legs all wrong.
If strawberry legs are a recurring problem for you, the best solution might be a more permanent form of hair removal, says Dr. Rai. “The only way [of avoiding it] is reducing the thickness of the hair by reducing the hair growth, both of which are done by laser,” she says.
While most bumps on the legs are just a cosmetic problem, call your dermatologist if you see an abnormal red or brown patch on the leg, says Dr. Rai. “Lower legs are the most common place for melanoma [a type of skin cancer] to appear in women,” she warns. Next, read up on 51 other things dermatologists need you to know about skin cancer.