Strawberry legs is not a condition in and of itself. Instead, “strawberry legs” is a term broadly used to describe the appearance of legs that have red dots at the hair follicles. If you have strawberry legs, your legs may have dark dots that are similar to the seeds in strawberries, which can be caused by a few different things.
Strawberry Legs Causes
This common skin condition is often found on the legs, among other body parts. Folliculitis may cause the appearance of strawberry legs when hair follicles are inflamed, infected, or irritated.
At first, the hair follicles may appear darker. If folliculitis worsens, your skin may become infected, turning red and even swelling. There are several types of folliculitis:
- Staphylococcus aureus folliculitis. This particular bacteria may get trapped in your hair follicles, causing red, pus-filled bumps. It usually resolves on its own within a few days.
- Pseudomonas aeruginosa folliculitis. This is another word that may be hard to pronounce, but it’s bacteria that is prevalent in shared hot tubs and whirlpools where water is heated. It is often red and itchy but resolves on its own within a few days.
- Malassezia folliculitis. Malassezia is a type of yeast that may get into your hair follicles, causing irritation. It may worsen and look like acne if left untreated.
- Pseudofolliculitis barbae. These are also called razor bumps and occur from irritation during shaving. It is more prevalent in people with dark, thick, curly hair.
- Sycosis barbae. This is also related to shaving, but is much worse than razor burn because the hair follicles become infected.
- Gram-negative folliculitis. If you take antibiotics to treat acne, you may develop these antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
2. Ingrown hairs
If you shave or wax your legs, the hair may grow back incorrectly. If hairs are trapped under the skin, they cause inflammation and tiny bumps. This condition may be painful and itchy.
Ingrown hairs usually resolve on their own without specific treatment. Signs that you have ingrown hairs on your legs after shaving include:
- Papules (small, dark bumps)
- Pustules (bumps that are filled with pus and look like blisters)
- Darker patches of skin
- Itching or pain
- Hairs trapped beneath the skin
- Acne. Acne extends into the sebaceous glands of your hair follicles. If your follicles produce too much sebum to moisten your skin and hair, it may clog your pores. Most people between the ages of 11 and 30 experience acne at some point in their lives.
What NOT to do with Strawberry Legs
When you have bumps, the natural tendency is to pick, scratch, rub, and scrub them off, but that’ll only hurt your current situation. Regardless of what you’re dealing with, stay away from over-exfoliating with harsh scrubs and drying treatments, which almost always make a skin condition much worse, warns board-certified dermatologist Sophia Reid, MD.
It might also be a good idea to avoid dry brushing areas with thinner skin, like on your inner thighs, and avoid aggressive dry brushing, in general.
How to Get Rid of Strawberry Legs
Stop all hair removal attempts. Don’t try to pluck, pull, shave, wax, or cut hair in the area where ingrown hairs are. Don’t try to squeeze it out either. You’ll only make your skin angrier and possibly introduce an infection.
Next, apply a warm compress and gently exfoliate. Using a soft washcloth soaked in warm – not hot – water, gently press into the irritated area for 10-15 minutes to soften skin.
Then use slow, circular motions to very gently exfoliate for only