what is strawberry skin

What Is Strawberry Skin? Causes, Treatment, and How You Can Get Rid Of It

Strawberry skin, or strawberry legs as it's often referred to, can be unsightly and frustrating. Here's how you can get rid of it.
Updated: February 10, 2023
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Strawberry skin, or strawberry legs, can affect us all at the most inconvenient times. Even if we think we have a comprehensive skincare routine where we’re hitting all the bases, sometimes our standards can slip and we need to deal with the fallout.

Strawberry skin, thankfully, is easily treated. In this article, we’ll be covering what exactly strawberry skin is, what causes it, and how you can get rid of it forever with some simple techniques and the use of the correct products.

So sit back, relax, and rest assured knowing your strawberry skin will soon be a thing of the past.

What is strawberry skin?

Strawberry skin is a term used to describe skin that has lots of small black spots or bumps around hair follicles. Think of small strawberry seeds, only black. This condition is also commonly called strawberry legs, as one of the most prominent places it occurs is on the legs, especially the upper thighs.

These tiny little spots shouldn’t be confused with the dark spots associated with hyperpigmentation, as strawberry skin isn’t caused by the over-production of melanin. Rather, strawberry skin appears due to simple factors like blocked pores or trapped hair, but more on that later.

Is strawberry skin dangerous?

Good news! Strawberry skin/strawberry legs is nothing to worry about. It is a hugely common issue that tens of millions of people experience regularly, and it is not linked to any health issues, whether severe or mild. The only problematic element of strawberry skin is the potential embarrassment and level of self-consciousness you may experience because of it. But don’t worry, nobody is judging your strawberry legs. The chances are, everyone you know has had to deal with this at some point, so you can chill out a bit.

The causes of strawberry skin

What exactly causes strawberry skin, I hear you ask. Well, the truth is strawberry skin can be triggered by very normal everyday factors. Here are some of them:

Shaving

The reason why every woman reading this has experienced strawberry legs at some point is probably down to the effects of shaving. Even though shaving is a daily occurrence for most, it can actually be quite a stressful ordeal for your skin. We forget this just because of how normal we consider it to be.

Shaving can actually open and damage comedones. Comedones are small bumps that can be found on the surface of the skin, like pores.[1] They are especially visible on dry skin. When the razor brushes over this area, it can cut into these bumps and create a gap. This exposes dead skin cells, oil, and dirt to the air, which then become oxidized, causing them to turn black. Shaving can also create ingrown hairs which lead to bouts of hyperpigmentation.

Apologies for the science class there, but this is important and interesting to know.

Clogged pores

Similarly to the situation above, the more clogged pores you have, the greater chance you have of developing strawberry skin. Pores come in all shapes and sizes. The bigger the pore, the more dirt and muck it can potentially collect.

Once again, when this blockage is exposed and mixes with the air, the oxidization will turn all that gunk black. If you have thicker hair, you will likely form bigger black spots, which may be unsightly.

Folliculitis

Folliculitis is a harmless but extremely frustrating condition where the hair follicles in your skin become damaged or infected. Again, this damage can be initiated by razor burn through shaving, but can also be triggered by other factors. Here are a few:

  • Scratching the skin
  • Waxing
  • Friction from tight clothes
  • Sweat being rubbed into the skin

A very common cause of folliculitis is when your clothes rub against the skin during physical activity. For example, if you are sweating in the gym, your clothing could be dragging and causing stress to the hair on your skin. Additionally, tight swimsuits can have a similar impact, especially when sitting in a warm environment like hot tubs or saunas.

Visually, folliculitis appears as small red bumps, but they can develop into black spots that resemble strawberry skin over time.

What’s the difference between strawberry skin and chicken skin?

Our skin can form bumps and spots for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, the symptoms of one condition could be so similar to those of another that we can get confused. Chicken skin and strawberry skin are not the same. There are some key differences.

Firstly, chicken skin describes an issue where white bumps appear on the skin. The differences between chicken skin and strawberry skin are as follows:

  • Chicken skin usually appears under the eye
  • Chicken skin can be caused by allergic reactions
  • Chicken skin bumps are white, not black
  • Chicken skin bumps are usually larger

Both chicken skin and strawberry skin are harmless conditions that can be easily treated.

What’s the difference between strawberry skin and ruddy skin?

While ruddy skin can display visible bumps and spots, it is very different from strawberry skin.

Ruddy skin is essentially skin that has developed unusual and sudden patches of red. This redness is usually caused by damage to the skin, including sunburn, irritation from skincare products, dry skin, and acne.

Ruddy skin has no relation to hair follicle damage and doesn’t manifest in small black spots. Once again, however, both ruddy skin and strawberry skin are harmless, common, and can be treated easily.

The best ways to treat strawberry skin/strawberry legs

Strawberry skin is easily treated. The following are our best suggestions for techniques you can use right now to get rid of your troublesome strawberry legs quickly.

Keep in mind that everyone’s skin is different, and what works for one person may not work so well for another. This can be a trial-and-error type of process, but we’re pretty confident you’ll get beneficial results if you try most of these options.

Use an exfoliator

Implementing a powerful exfoliator into your body skincare routine is a great way of treating and preventing strawberry legs.

Exfoliators, or body scrubs, are products that contain thousands of hard rock-like granules in the texture. When rubbed on the skin, these harsh elements scrape away dirt, dead cells, and other muck from the surface of the skin. Exfoliators are also a great way of cleaning out pores, helping to prevent future breakouts of strawberry skin from emerging.

You can use an exfoliator a few times a week to keep your skin in top shape. However, if you have naturally dry skin, you may want to reduce your usage. Exfoliators are highly effective, but they can irritate dry and sensitive skin if used too frequently. Before using any product, you should evaluate your own skin type and make the right decision.

Moisturize consistently

Dry skin is more likely to produce more pronounced pores and comedones. Therefore, it’s super important to manage any and all patches of dry skin effectively.

This can be done by using a good moisturizer regularly. Moisturizers work to hydrate the skin and smooth over areas of dryness. They do this by locking moisture into the skin. We suggest using a moisturizer straight after showering, as there will be plenty of water and fluid for it to work with. Moisturizer can be used every day and will be a great help in keeping strawberry skin at bay.

Take better care when shaving

Shaving is an art. By taking the time to refine and improve your shaving technique, you can do a lot to prevent the emergence of strawberry skin.

First of all, you should always ensure your razor is fresh and sharp. Using a blunt blade only increases the chances of razor burn and skin irritation. Also, make sure to shave in the direction of the hair growth. Shaving against the grain is a recipe for disaster, as it can cut the hair at odd angles which can cause them to become ingrown.

An extra shaving tip to help with strawberry legs is to use moisturizing shaving gel.  This will moisturize and hydrate the skin as you shave it, especially if you have sensitive skin, killing two birds with one stone. Pretty sweet.

Use an epilator

An alternative to regular-style shaving is to use an epilator. An epilator is a machine that twists and pulls hair out of the skin from the root. While results vary from person to person, more and more women are praising the benefits of epilators, especially women who have had previous issues with shaving.

While epilators may be a little uncomfortable to use at first, most of the time the skin reacts rather well to them. Use an epilator once every couple of weeks, and you could be free from strawberry skin forever.

Professional procedures

If none of the above home remedies have yielded positive results and you’re still desperate to get rid of strawberry skin, you could take things to the next level.

There are professional skincare procedures that can be carried out to help remove strawberry skin. These will be carried out by a professional dermatologist and are by appointment only.

Laser treatment

If you want to tackle strawberry legs and also prevent them in the future, a good option could be laser hair removal therapy. Many people are choosing to undergo this procedure as technology has improved a lot in recent times.

It works by directing small amounts of radiation to targetted hair, which helps to fully remove them and stunt future growth. People with light or pale skin usually find this method to be very helpful, as their complexion makes the strawberry skin easier to isolate and treat.

Speak to your doctor or a professional dermatologist before committing to laser treatment.

Conclusion

Treating and getting rid of strawberry skin is fairly straightforward and easy. By implementing exfoliators, moisturizers, and a proper shaving technique, you can lessen and prevent the formation of strawberry skin.

Professional procedures exist as an option for those who wish to try them, but for most people, the simple home remedies we’ve listed today will be beneficial enough.

Strawberry skin is completely normal and common and is nothing to be feared. However, we know how frustrating it can be, especially if you’re about to hit the town or the beach.

Good luck!

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